The Iron Wok


My family immigrated to America when I was 3 years old. My aunt, who was already in America beforehand was responsible for allowing my family to immigrate. Thus, the immigration of my family could be an example of chain migration. My parents were born in a village in the mountains known as Ping Shan – Ma Luan. My parents grew up in this village where they relied on hunting animals and growing potatoes to survive. My mother once told me that she accidentally stepped on a snake barefoot while hunting and her accomplice handed her a tree branch and told her to beat it up. Without knowing the dangers and possibly how close she was to death, she beat the snake up and made soup out of it. My father on the other hand, explained how much of a delicacy it was to break into a nest of bumble bees, grab the eggs with their bare hands, dip it in the honey inside the nest, and just eat it. As treatment for the stings, just rip a bee in half, and rub its insides on the sting. My parents later decided to move to Kowloon Bay and then to Tseung Kwan O (Formerly Junk Bay), both of which are bays in Hong Kong where my older sisters and I were born. Now that we are in America, we consider ourselves Americans, and completely changed our lifestyle. However, one thing that hasn’t changed for well over 30 years, is that we continue to use the same Iron Wok that we brought over from Hong Kong. This Iron Wok allows us to cook dishes the exact same way we used to before immigration and remains one of the most symbolic and important items that we brought with us.

Place(s): China
Year: 1998

– EC

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child