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Curated Writers’ Series

Curated Writers’ Series

During the month of June, Chinatown London caught up with four inspiring East Asian writers, poets and playwrights to find out how they have been staying positive during lockdown. They shared some thoughts, words and extracts of their work that best represents what Chinatown and East Asian cuisine means to them.  

Jung Chang

Celebrated author Jung Chang chose to share an inspiring quote from her acclaimed book Wild Swans. There is much kindness to be found in sharing food amongst each other and in ensuring everyone you care for is well-fed. This quote from Wild Swans really gets to the heart of this message: 

“Saving precious food for others has always been a major way of expressing love and concern in China” 

Anna Sulan Masing

During this time, writer, poet and academic Anna Sulan Masing, wanted to show her support for Chinatown as “it is important to celebrate our city’s diverse food and cultural landscape”. Over the past few weeks, she has found the utmost joy sitting in her favourite corner of her flat slurping a simple bowl of instant noodles. Here is a poem she wrote about the moment:

It steams, up my nose⁣
Salt, egg, fake chicken,⁣⁣
A touch of spice.⁣⁣
I lower my head even closer;⁣⁣
My hair hangs over the bowl.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I blow on the noodles⁣
As I lift them to my mouth⁣
Rushed, I always rush,⁣⁣
I burn my tongue.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
There is too much water⁣
The noodles almost drown.⁣⁣
The ratio of flavour sachet is all off.⁣⁣
It’s a new brand to me,⁣⁣
At mercy to what the corner shop has.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
But it’s mine.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
In lockdown,⁣⁣
Shared space,⁣⁣
Shared meals,⁣⁣
This bowl is all mine.⁣⁣

Jingan Young

Nostalgic for the taste of Hong Kong cuisine and Chinatown London, writer and film-maker Jingan Young busied herself in the kitchen practising, and mastering, her skills of making and folding Jiaozi at-home. What quote most inspired her to get creative in the kitchen? 

“The things that people cannot do without everyday are firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea”, coined in the Southern Song dynasty.

HELENA LEE

 

East Side Voices is a platform that collates and celebrates voices from East and South East Asia. As part of this series, the founder of the platform Helena Lee had a chat with poet Will Harris about the wonders of exploring Chinatown from a young age and their favourite memories of the area. Have a listen to the video to hear what was discussed….

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