Crazy Asian Bears: A Project on Representation

Hello Brunch with Bearees! Apologies for the long hiatus but we have spent yet another summer traveling and therefore have a very special series for you! Fresh off our trip to Hong Kong and some nearby cities, we bring you Crazy Asian Bears, a tribute to our favorite foods in Asia and the upcoming Hollywood film, Crazy Rich Asians, which comes to the big screen on August 15.

When we’re not blogging about food, we’re quite involved in Asian American representation and advocacy. Being from a Chinese American family in Los Angeles, I have waited my whole life for a major motion picture with a cast that represents people who look like me, and it could not come soon enough. Starring Asian and Asian American actors such as Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, and Awkwafina, this romantic comedy is groundbreaking in terms of representation for the Asian and Asian American communities.

For the unfamiliar, Crazy Rich Asians is a bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan, a New Yorker by way of Singapore. The book and its two sequels detail the escapades of the impossibly wealthy expat families living in Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, as well as other parts of the globe, including Southeast Asia, the UK, and the United States. For many Americans, Asia and Asian families are not familiar entities, and Kevin Kwan’s novels have changed that for many readers. Drawn in by the glamour and drama of some of the more ridiculous characters, the unsuspecting reader might learn to understand some of the nuances of a real Chinese family, rather than just the comedic stereotypes popularized by Hollywood’s narrow lenses.

While my family is not part of Asia’s nouveau riche, we have as many crazy characters as Kwan could imagine, and we also love food as much as his characters do. My family spends a significant portion of our time talking about meals we’ve eaten, the meal we are eating, or a meal we hope to eat someday. I don’t know if all Chinese families are like ours, but I do know that food bonds us to each other and to our culture. Therefore, while eating our way through Asia, Bear and I could not help but think about how we might represent Asia and Asian food in the blog!

Although we have introduced our readers previously to dim sum and Chinese New Year, we have not spent a lot of time showcasing the Asian foods we love so much. Therefore, just as we toured Italy last summer, we bring you on our travels across some major Asian cities including Hong Kong and Taipei. While food was not always the focus (gasp!) of our trips, we hope that our Crazy Asian Bears series will give you a taste of the other side of the world!