The Edible Hyphen


“I should mention before you envision me slaving away in a kitchen to create the perfect dumpling that the ones I like come out of the freezer.”

– Lily Wong

What does it mean to be multi-cultural? As a Chinese- American Lily Wong grapples with her clashing culinary identity in her article “Eating the Hyphen.” Wong depicts a meal of traditional Chinese dumplings prepared and devoured in an unorthodox manner that few outside of her family would recognize. Wong is able to blend her two gastronomic cultures into one by simply utilizing a diverse utensil combination of a fork, a knife, and chopsticks—then adding ketchup.

Lily Wong depicts her favorite dish of dumplings: “Thick and chewy and starchy and the bottom should be a bit burnt and dark golden brown from the pan-frying” (40). Her descriptions of the perfect brown skin are quickly accompanied by a vague description of the traditional mystery meat and veggies that erupt from inside of the dumpling with the first juicy slice, smash, or bite. Continue reading