A couple weeks ago, I took my baby to Shanghai to meet my family for the first time. For those of you who don't know, I grew up in China and left home for college when I was 16. Since then, I travel back every year to see my parents and the extended family. Going home has always been an interesting experience for me. Just as I have grown and matured, China has also been going through dramatic changes every year. Despite my fluent Chinese and 16 years of memories growing up there, I often feel lost at home.
Where are the majority of your outfits made in? Although "Made in America" has been gaining momentum, a big part of your wardrobe probably came from Asia. In 2017, 54% of America's textile and clothing were imported from the top 3 countries - China (36%), Vietnam (11%), and India (7%). With the rise of fast fashion, consumers now buys 60% more clothing every year and keeps them half as long compared to 15 years ago. Because of such fast turnaround and higher demand, even more clothes are being imported from Asian now than 2017.
In 2016, world chili production exceeded 34 million tons. Of that amount, China produced about half of the worlds' chilies. Half you say? That's not a typo I swear. Although spicy food is often an exotic flavor in American cuisine, it has been an integral part of Asian culture. Asian cooking is largely dependent on the heat of chilies today. It is just another household staple, like rice and soy sauce.
Chicken is Americans' favorite food. In fact, for the last 30 years, American chicken consumption exceeded beef, pork, and turkey on a pound for pound basis. But it wasn't always that way. For most of American history, poultry and eggs were luxury foods. Before the 1940s, poultry was more expensive than pork or veal. Chicken was so prized, that it was eaten only on rare occasions, giving rise to the phrase “winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon to Australia, we decided to spend an entire week in a small beach city called Cairns. We booked a 4-day live aboard there and dived 12 different diving sites cross the Great Barrier. We spent the rest of the week roaming around the town, eating fresh caught prawns and hiking up the rain forest. Even though we have heard great things about Melbourne and Sydney, we were quite content to immerse ourselves in Cairns.
In God We Trust. All Others Pay Cash" reads a sign at at the cash register at Thanh Restaurant in Westminster, one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants. Thanh serves broken rice. The juicy pork chop, tasty fish sauce, served over perfectly steamed broken rice makes a fantastic lunch plate on any given day. But while a plate of delicious broken rice may not cost much, you can't pay with a credit card.
Have you seen the Lactose Intolerance map? See that dark blue category with 80-100% lactose intolerance in the region? Yes - welcome to Asia.
We previously discussed why there aren't many top-ranked Asian athletes. But there is one area of sports where Asians dominate - E-Sports. Esports comprises a large swathe of video game genres, but the most common esports video game genres are multiplayer online battle arena games (like League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Smite); first-person shooter games (like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty); fighting games (like Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers, and Mortal Kombat); digital collectible card games (like Hearthstone), battle royale games (like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale); and real-time strategy games (like StarCraft and WarCraft).
Because you didn't get your Dose of Asianess last week, this week is a two-fer. The only thing Asians like better than games of skill (like Esports), are games of chance. Asians have an especially strong love of gambling.
May 17th marks an important milestone for the Asian community. Taiwan became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in Asia. When Tsai Ing-wen was running for president in 2016, marriage equality was the center of her campaign. Taiwan was already known as the progressive forerunner on many issues - gender equality, animal rights, just to name a few; but she had a more ambitious goal. She believed in same-sex marriage and wanted to demonstrate how progressive values can take root in an East Asian society. After all, Taipei is home to East Asia's largest gay pride parade – an event that regularly draws tens of thousands of participants.