This Native New Yorker reconnects with her Chinese heritage and reflects on her most recent trip to China from disgusting Chinese tourist to high-end dim sum.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited my motherland. My Chinese heritage has not been lost, but I learn something new every time I reconnect with my extended family.
This is my first trip back in almost a decade. Shortly after I landed, I was reminded of the Chinese tourists who have shamed me in the press. The media has written about their disgusting behavior and lack of respect for cultural landmarks. The people are still a bit uncouth compared to western standards, but I really try not to judge. After all, I am in their territory.
I’m also reminded that “excuse me” is not in their vocabulary. Neither is “personal space” so don’t let anyone get too close. And pick pocketing is as prominent of an occurrence for tourists as it is for locals.
The one thing I don’t need to be reminded of is the food. The food in southern China, as well as Hong Kong, is the food I grew up on. With families spread across these two countries, I get to enjoy both of it. Hong Kong’s Sky Dining 101 is somewhat of a treat. It’s a string of luxury restaurants located on the 101st floor of the tallest building in Hong Hong. Dim sum makes up a lot of my Chinese heritage and Sky Boss, one of the high-end restaurants, takes that experience to a whole new level.
Despite the growth of these two countries, Hong Kong and China’s income inequality is still very much present. It’s apparent who are the sophisticated city folks, who are the country bumpkins are and who are the country bumpkins trying to be sophisticated city folks.
As Americanized as I am, my Chinese heritage isn’t rooted in the economic status of my family. It’s in our accomplishments. I am the daughter of immigrant working class parents, granddaughter of educators and peasants, and the great-grand daughter of a distinguished military man. With each trip back, I learn a little bit more about me that I didn’t know before. Like they say, no one knows you like family.