Chinese Heritage Tour of the American West

Exploring the uncovered heritage of early Chinese American pioneers over a seven-day tour

Browsing Posts tagged Wing Luke Chinese Heritage Tour dinner

The Chinese Heritage Tour of the American West – a project of the Wing Luke Museum and the USDA Forest Service – had historic moments, personal reflections about Chinese pioneers, thoughts about family histories and, well, hours and hours of life on the bus.

This post is primarily for the 35 or so people who participated in this year’s rolling history project which included visits in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada. It’s for the public, too.

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Tour participants might not have noticed it on Day 1 of the Chinese Heritage Tour of the American West. But food and water magically appeared at different intervals as the bus rolled down the highway.

Think sandwiches, cookies, Vitamin C candy, Chinese candy, chips, chocolate mints, fruit gummies, crackers, bottled water, peanuts and granola bars (different kinds). In fact, you might have forgotten that some of these munchies existed had you not sat down on the tour bus.

So what do these supplies look like?

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For more than an hour on Monday evening, the plates full of Chinese food – chicken with a ginger-and-green onion sauce, steamed fish with preserved olives, steamed egg - kept arriving at the Four Seas restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

Maxine Chan, a Seattle food anthropologist, devised the recipes as part of the 2010 Chinese Heritage Tour which the Wing Luke Museum and the USDA Forest Service are sponsoring.

She stood before about 90 guests and gave an overview of each dish – and how immigrants from the Toisan area in southern China brought the food they had known in the fields and rolling hills from their homeland to the American West. The kick-off meal to the 2010 Chinese Heritage Tour of the American West had drawn people to the table.

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Ask anyone who has traveled – either for a day or for months – about the best way to begin.

The most common answer might be: With delicious food, engaging conversation and a full belly.

As in: Chow down on gastronomical delights prepared with the best ingredients in a mouthwatering, brain-pleasing, smile-inducing, let-me-try-some-now, please-get-out-of-my-way way. In other words, cuisine prepared just-like-they-make-it-back-at-your-grandparents’ house.

For Wing Luke Museum guests and Chinese Heritage Tour participants, this evening will be one in which nine good, old-fashioned Chinese dishes will appear on tables at Four Seas Restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

To top it off, guests will hear about the links that tie food, history and places in a talk given by Maxine Chan, a Seattle cultural specialist and food anthropologist.

Pretty good, huh?

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