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  • Kayla W.

Dim Sum and My Chopstick Crisis

When you wake up hungry but it's too late for breakfast, but not late enough for lunch most people would think of brunch. Waffles, eggs, bacon, fruit, and toast would come to mind for most people; but my family thinks of dim sum. Dim sum is a glorious meal with the same timing as brunch, but instead of regular breakfast foods, servers roll carts carrying: Shumai, Sticky Rice wrapped in Lotus leaf, Har Gow and so much more.

I love Dim Sum, but that doesn't mean I'm good at eating it. I should probably explain that last sentence, I have never been able to properly use chopsticks. Believe me when I say that I've tried, and that many people have tried to teach me. I don't know what it is, but somehow my hands continue to fail at grasping the wooden sticks. So I always end up with a fork in my hand, my tireless efforts to try, and try, and try to use chopsticks make it harder to eat; at the Wong table it's everyone for themselves, if you don't get to the food fast enough, you don't get any at all.

I always felt like I was giving up on my culture by picking up a fork, when all of my family members ate swiftly with their chopsticks. The soft murmuring of the Dim Sum carts rolling along, and the delicious flavors of Shumai dancing on my tastebuds made me forget about the doubt that I had in myself and my culture, all because I couldn't eat with a pair of chopsticks. It sounds ridiculous writing this now, but these were feelings that consumed me for years. Being an American-born Chinese is hard, it's difficult to know how and where you fit in.

One of the beauties of Dim Sum is the way this one meal can bring people together. I don't think anyone in the history of the world has gone to Dim Sum by their self, that's because it's a meal to be shared with family and/or friends. At this meal it's like nothing else matters except the food and the people you are surrounded by, or maybe that's just any meal, any culture, and any people. I'm a firm believer that food can bring people together, I guess Dim Sum is just my favorite way to do so.

I can't say that I completely understand everything about being A.B.C, but I'd like to think that I know something about it. If you are American-born Chinese and you can't use chopsticks, you are still A.B.C, you just aren't great with chopsticks. If the important people in your life haven't been so present recently then you can go get some food together and reconnect. If you want something sweet at the end of Dim Sum, there is always mango pudding in the end.

-Kayla W.

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