Transcending Culture Through Food

By Cynthia Chen

On November 3, 2019, the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) held a small fair where members of the community could congregate to buy and sell items from each other in order to celebrate CCACC’s anniversary. Although the Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporting Club (CAPA JRC) chose to sell lamps, the club was unique in its product. The fair was primarily an outing for food marketing, so many people had come to this event expecting to try many different kinds of dishes.

The fair’s offerings primarily consisted of Asian food, incorporating many cultural delicacies from both restaurants and ordinary people. The variety of food not only included common Asian cuisine found at restaurants (such as stir-fry noodles), but also other culturally authentic food such as chicken feet, sticky rice, egg tarts, and red bean soup. This way, each person could experience firsthand the enormous variety that the Asian cuisine is comprised of.

Some popular selections included sushi and bubble tea, appealing especially to  those unfamiliar  with some of the more traditional food available. The food was slightly overpriced compared to similar past events, but it was by no means expensive. I was especially craving sushi after walking through the booths, so I decided to indulge myself with a plate. My sushi platter cost $5, and while it was enjoyable, it was relatively average sushi. 

I’m not complaining, though. Since this event had a good amount of people who were possibly not too familiar with Asian cuisine, this was a great opportunity for more people to get familiar with Asian culture. The event introduced many to the truly authentic meals that are of Asian heritage. As a Chinese American, I really enjoyed going to this event because it felt as if each family shared part of their culture by providing a signature dish from their Chinese hometown. Many of these were dishes that some would not have the chance to try otherwise, myself included, so I felt like I got a glimpse of what dinner with each of these families would be like.

Seeing all the different Chinese food puts in perspective how large China is, and how diverse the people within China can be.

This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.

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