Category Archives: culture

Spending Mid-Autumn Festival Without My Family

By Sarah Ta

My family is not the celebratory type, so most holidays end up passing without so much as an acknowledgement. However, Mid-Autumn Festival is one that we always celebrate. Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that occurs on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. During ancient China, it was a day to celebrate the autumn harvest and to worship the moon, but over the years, it has shifted to become more of a day to spend time with family. Traditions today include eating mooncake with family, relaxing together under the stars, and admiring the full moon. Many people believe that the moon is brightest on this particular night, which is why admiring the moon remains a significant tradition.

For the past eighteen years of my life, I’ve always celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival with my family. Our way of celebrating is just sitting together after dinner and eating mooncake. As simple as it is, it gives us a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s presence. However, this will be the first year that I will be spending it away from them. Since Mid-Autumn Festival lands on Wednesday October 4th this year, I won’t be able to go home. Spending time with my family was something I took for granted, but I now finally realize that I should’ve appreciated it more.

To help lessen some of the homesickness, my friends and I are planning to head over to Chinatown’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival on October 7th to celebrate. Even though the festival is a few days after Mid-Autumn Festival, I’m sure that it will still be a lot of fun. I’m really touched that my friends suggested this, since none of them come from an Asian background. I can’t wait to show them how fun Chinese festivals can be.

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Life as a Foodie

By Jasmine Zahedi

A self-proclaimed foodie, I always look forward to tackling restaurants on my “must-eat” list. And living in Los Angeles, where the food culture is so widespread, makes this the easiest and the most fun activity to do on weekends. I make a concerted effort to go somewhere new with my friends at least once a week. This way not only do I get an excuse to do something that I love—eat—but I also get to share this passion with people that are close to me.

Currently, my list has 40 eateries, organized by location, that I have yet to visit and 64 places that I have already had the fortune of trying out. These numbers might seem crazily high, but I started this list my freshman year and it only continues to grow. I add restaurants to my list mainly after hearing about them from other foodie friends or after seeing them on Instagram. My personal favorite food Instagrams are eater_LA and dineLA. I love seeing their pictures on my feed because it inspires me to continue on my foodie adventure.

Recently, I visited Zinc Café and Market during a roomie brunch, and I highly recommend it as a place for a relaxing meal and maybe even as a place to study and get some work done. I am also a huge fan of the chashu hash skillet from JiST Café in Little Tokyo, anything from Daily Dose Café, and the ricotta toast from Sqirl. As you can see, I am extremely partial to brunch.

Being a foodie is not limited to living in Los Angeles. When I was an intern in Taipei last summer for eight weeks, I discovered a food culture that was almost greater than that in Los Angeles. Taiwanese people take pride in the various 小吃 (xiǎochī), which means snacks, that they have to offer, and nowhere is this more evident than in the crowded and bustling night markets found throughout the large cities. While in Taiwan, my friends and I visited night markets at least once a week and fawned over the shaved ice, the scallion pancake wraps, and all the fresh fruit. In addition, I religiously followed A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei, which not only categorized restaurants by price range but also by location in relation to subway stops.

Whenever I start talking about Taiwan with someone who has been before, the first thing that comes up is always (and inevitably) food. Have you tried the boba from that little street cart in Gongguan? Or the scallion pancake wrap with eggs and sausage from the vendor in Dongmen? The answer is always YES because Taiwan has such a big food culture that everyone knows about and participates in.

I’ve honestly noticed that a significant amount of conversations I have with friends revolve around food; that just shows how important food is to all of us. Food brings people together and connects people of various cultures and walks of life so, if you’re looking to connect with someone, try a food-related opener. The results might surprise you!

Featured image by Eaters Collective on Unsplash