Growing up Chinese in a suburban community wasn’t always easy, especially in matters of food, race and identity. When 11-year-old Taiwanese boy Eddie Huang from ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat was teased for bringing “worms” (his Mom’s noodles) for lunch, the scene triggered my own experience when I brought my own “weird, smelly or gross” Chinese food to school. Similar to Eddie, my Mother started packing me “white people lunch,” which consisted of sandwiches, Dunkaroos and juice boxes so I could fit in with better with the white kids.
However in recent years, I have noticed a tremendous shift towards embracing different ethnic foods that were once though of as unpalatable in North America. Shows like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown has shifted the culture of food in North America to embrace new and exotic cuisines not mainstream in the U.S. or in Canada. Talented Toronto-based writer Lorraine Chuen asked this profound question in her article, who gets the authority on ‘ethnic’ cuisine? In her thoughtful essay backed up by research and stats from The New York Times Food, she explains how chefs and foodies of colour are often excluded from the stories told about “mysterious and exciting” cuisines, urging media to include people of colour in the narrative.
Last summer, I had the privilege and pleasure of being a Nutrition Guest Expert on Fairchild Television, Canada’s #1 national Chinese media network on the show Leisure Talk 大城小聚 with my friend and colleague Lucia Huang discussing mindful eating. You can watch the whole interview below. And because Fairchild TV is a national TV network, dietitian colleagues were able to also catch my interview when it aired across the country in Vancouver!
One of the amazing things about Canada is how you will find media networks that reflect the cultural diversity which make up this country.