Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America
The Museum of Chinese in America presents conversations around a dinner table with 34 Chinese and Asian-American chefs. Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy weaves together complex stories through a dynamic video installation featuring pioneering chefs. (October 06, 2016 - March 26, 2017)
Join us for conversations around a dinner table with 34 Chinese and Asian-American chefs. Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy weaves together complex stories through a dynamic video installation featuring pioneering chefs such as Cecilia Chiang, Ken Hom, Anita Lo, Ming Tsai, and Martin Yan; new restaurateurs like Peter Chang, Eddie Huang, Vivian Ku, and Danny Bowien; and persevering home cooks like Ni Biying, Yvette Lee and Ho-chin Yang.
In Chinese the saying Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy refers not only to the delicate balance of flavors that defines Chinese cooking but also the ups and downs of life. Set in an immersive video installation, the tapestry of tales that emerges will be rich with immigration experiences, food memories, favorite dishes and cooking inspirations that define the culinary—and personal—identities of these chefs, drawing visitors into the middle of a conversation about how food defines Chinese in America. In the center of the gallery will be a monumental dinner table, with each chef represented by personally selected artifacts from their kitchens and place settings featuring unique ceramic vessels that will link cooking styles to regional culinary traditions.
Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy is an imaginary banquet in which featured guests represent diverse histories, cuisines, and geographic regions. By understanding these elements, we can start to identify what Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch might call a “food voice” for Chinese in America. They write: “The concept of the food voice means that what people choose to procure, prepare, and eat—and what they do not eat—can reveal much about their identity and culture. Often, the food voice expresses what the spoken voice struggles to articulate.”
What does Chinese food in America, in its dizzying variety, say about who we are—or are not— today?
Dominic Ng 吳建民, chairman and chief executive officer of East West Bank 華美銀行 and a USC trustee, shares his views.
Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a presentation by Wei Yen (厳序纬), author and veteran businessman, to examine Chinese outbound investment and how American businesses can take advantage of China’s rise to forge win-win partnerships.
Things China Working Group is an informal group to explore research interest in the material networks, systems, economies, media and practices of communication pursued within China or between China and its national and international partnerships. Open only to USC graduate students and faculty.