Cherishing China with Lena Yang

Holding  wasabi peas and Nori Maki Lena Yang, Junior, eats Asian snacks as a way to connect with her Chinese culture while she is away from home.

By Natalie Guisinger

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Growing up in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Lena Yang lived with her family of five.

“I feel like I grew up in a pretty traditional Chinese household. Obviously when I went to school, it was all very modern and American lifestyle. I feel like I have a fifty fifty balance of [the two cultures] in my life. My first language was Chinese and [my family and I] ate Chinese food. We didn’t really eat American food.”

Along with cooking Chinese food in their household, the Yangs also own a Chinese restaurant in Flint.

“Were not like a small takeout place, which I feel is like a lot of Chinese places nowadays, it’s a pretty big place and we have large spaces for dining in [and] reserved rooms for parties. We have a pretty large menu; a regular menu which everyone gets and a more traditional menu you can ask for that has more food you would find [within] local areas in [China].”

Although Lena’s tie to the Chinese language loosened as she grew up, she is grateful that she can enjoy her family’s Chinese food when she visits home.

“As I grew up, I spoke English all the time, so I lost the language tie to [China]. It’s kind of sad because Chinese was my first language, but I feel like the food tie is still there. When I come home, it’s so nice to come home to a home cooked meal with Chinese food.”

Even though Lena doesn't normally cook traditional Chinese food in her college apartment, Asian snacks are a convenient way she can enjoy Chinese food while she’s away from her hometown.

“I went to a Japanese store so right now I have wasabi peas and this thing called Nori Maki. It’s basically a rice cracker that’s wrapped with dried seaweed and they’re really good.”



Natalie GuisingerComment