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


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