Tatung Cooker

Relationship: Im/migrant

The Tatung electric cooker has been a staple in my family's immigration history since 1980s, when my oldest uncle moved to Canada for a masters degree. In the 90s another one of my uncle permanently moved to the outskirts of Atlanta, and brought along with him a Tatung cooker. These cookers are a staple of most Taiwanese families that I know, and it is a running joke and tradition that one must leave space in their luggage for a Tatung cooker if they are to ever move outside of Taiwan. The cooker itself is nothing spectacular, usually coming in saturated green or red and only has one mechanical button. There are many other similar types of cookers out there; however, to a Taiwanese there seemingly is only one. In fact, a Tatung electric cooker has become a synonym for all brands of cookers that provides a similar function. When a Taiwanese abroad visits another Taiwanese family, it is often unsurprising but heartwarming to see a cooker in the kitchen. My roommate, a Brazilian of Taiwanese descent, owns a Tatung cooker despite the fact that he never lived or went to school in Taiwan. His family brought him a cooker when he moved to New York for college, just like my family brought my this green cooker when I moved to the City. Tatung cooker not only represents a bond between migrants of Taiwanese descent but also a bond of solidarity between people from a nation where we say “Hello” by asking “Have you eaten yet?”.

Place(s): Taiwan, New York
Year: 2016

– Daniel Chu

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant