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Photo by Chan Young Lee

Photo by Chan Young Lee

  • Folklife Friday: Hong Kong Restaurant Culture, ‘Thousand Star Hotel,’ and More

    Folklife Friday is a weekly digest of arts and culture articles, podcasts, and videos from across the web. Read on for a selection of the week’s best cultural heritage pieces, and don’t forget to check back next Friday for a new set of weekly picks.

    The Art and Horror of the Argentine Asado
    “It’s said that change provokes anxiety in Argentines, because they’ve been forced to suffer so many changes involuntarily,” Mariana Enríquez writes. “There are few areas where this anxiety can be seen more clearly than with food.” For Enríquez, the past and present overlap in Argentinian food, as she explains in this essay. “Argentina is a country of immigrants, and its migratory laws are very generous. But it’s also a subtly discriminatory country,” Enriquez writes, referencing the struggle to incorporate Japanese, Chinese, and other cuisines into the cultural zeitgeist.

    Becoming Li-Ming’s Daughter
    In this poignant essay, writer Kaitlin Solimine recounts her experience as a white American in China and the role her Chinese host mother played in her lifelong fascination with the country. “Despite only knowing me a few months, her love encompassed me with a physical closeness often unseen in Chinese families,” Solimine writes, reflecting on the traditions she will share with her own daughter. “If I learned anything in the short months living with her, it’s that what Li-Ming gives must not be possessed, should be passed on.”

    How Two Canadians’ Izakaya Accidentally Changed Hong Kong’s Restaurant Culture
    In Hong Kong, Lindsay Jang and Matt Abergel are putting a modern spin on traditional cuisine and changing tastes in the process. “I think we’ve just given people a newer perspective on how to enjoy dining,” Jang explains. In this piece, the two trace the shifts in the city’s service industry, the trend toward increased wait times, and the communal bonds forged through food.

    The Poet Bao Phi, on Creating a ‘Guidebook’ For Young Asian-Americans
    In Thousand Star Hotel, writer Bao Phi recounts his experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant in Minneapolis, the “erasure of Asian-Americans,” and what he hopes his seven-year-old daughter will take away from the work. “She’s learning about a lot of different people…but conspicuously, Asian-Americans are left out,” Phi writes, likening the lack of representation to “the larger issue of Asian-American history just being invisible in America.”

    Schooled in Nature
    At the Centre for Indigenous Arts in Papantla, Mexico, students are taught in a manner “soaked in dialogue and steeped in ceremony,” writes Jay Griffiths in this essay. Weaving together indigenous cosmology, Western philosophy, and generations-old spiritual practice, the center’s approach is keeping alive both storytelling and spirituality. “This idea of education matters far beyond the (very great) importance of cultural respect for indigenous societies…. It reaches further, into the heart of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.”

    Special thanks to editor Elisa Hough and to Michael Atwood Mason for their contributions to this week’s digest.


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