Culture, Identity, Commodity: Diasporic Chinese Literatures by Tseen Khoo, Kam Louie

By Tseen Khoo, Kam Louie

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Melting Pot. Host. Ming Tsai. Food Network. N o v e m b e r 23, 2001. " Melting Pot. Host. M i n g Tsai. Food Network. April 5, 2002. Mufioz, Jose Esteban. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and The Performance of Politics. MinneapoHs: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Narayan, U m a . Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions and Third World Feminisms. London and N e w York: Routledge, 1997. Nguyen, Lan. N . " a Magazine: Inside Asian America. February/ March (2001): 3 0 - 3 . Okihiro, Gary.

Tsai plays the wellassimUated and weU-educated native informant who celebratorily introduces the fundamentals, as weU as the "spirit," of Chinese cooking to culturaUy astute customers. H e deHberately downplays negative stereotypes of Chinese Americans, focusing instead on aU that is positive. "The Hautest of Haute Cuisine)}: Commodifying Asianness The Barbarians Are Coming is Chinese American David W o n g Louie's first novel. Louie previously w o n the N e w York Times Notable Book Award (1991), the Los Angeles First Fiction Award, and the Ploughshares First Fiction Book Award for Pangs Of Love, his short story coUection.

N o n e of his credentials and extensive training at the famed and prestigious Culinary Institute of America matter to his patrons. "Peeking Ducks" and "Food Pomographers" 21 In a review of The Barbarians Are Coming, Lisa Marie Cacho reads Lung's resistance to cooking Chinese food as an indication that he is "completely invested in taking aU the right steps for American assimilation such as foUowing his dream to become a chef (rather than his parents' desire for h i m to b e c o m e a d o c t o r ) " (380).

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