For the past year, a lot of my attention has been focused on food. Food. Meal after meal. And its given me time to reflect on my relation to my own Cantonese culture and thinking about how we like to greet each other by asking “Have you eaten yet?”
My relationship with Chinatowns has always been bout food. No matter where we’d travel, my parents would always make a point of spending a night to find a Chinese restaurant (usual in Chinatown) to have a family meal. Now on my own, I connect to Toronto’s Chinatown the most through food as well. My relationships with people have developed over dinners on Spadina, as well as learning to cook new and familiar dishes with my roommate.
The narrow aisles of the grocery store remind me of shopping with my grandma in Hong Kong, or weekly trips with my parents growing up. The ambient sounds of a language I understand, but also rarely speak. Now, it’s a place where I try to reconnect with my family while apart. I cook things I’ve had all my life but never learned or tried to make. Egg tarts. Congee. Curry. Steamed Fish. That soup I’ve always seen on the stovetop, but never quite knew the name until now. Ching Po Leung.
A second generation Chinese-Canadian, Lilian Leung is a designer, artist, and community-based researcher. Their current practice circles new and evolving methods of placemaking and placekeeping in virtual reality, trans- and postmedia practices, and interactive documentary.