ZEITLINES | 05.24.2019
Here at Republic, we’re building the agency we’ve always wanted to be a part of.
For one, every long weekend between May-September, we take Friday AND Monday off to ensure that our summer long weekends are truly restful, relaxing and refreshing. We care about our employees, and do all that we can to keep each other motivated.
On another note, we’ve staffed our office with passionate, hard-working, and inspiring individuals from multiple professional disciplines. We work in a highly collaborative and open-concept manner to ensure that our work is well thought-out, strategic and meaningful for everyone involved.
We are constantly learning from each other. Our team come from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, a hub for interesting and unique stories, traditions and foods. In this week’s Zeitlines, our Junior Designer and illustration extraordinaire Cassie Chan opens up about the incredible sense of pride she feels when teaching us about Chinese delicacies in the office.
Ode to the Lotus Seed Bun
Cassie Chan, Junior Designer
This past Tuesday morning, I had a lotus seed bun for breakfast. It didn’t come as a surprise to me when many of my coworkers asked what I was eating. Fresh off our four-day long weekend, I was groggy, hungry and generally unprepared to explain myself at 9 AM – so what better way than to give my overview of the lotus seed bun and Chinese dim sum for my Zeitlines piece? Further, with May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it’s even more fitting.
When you hear the term Chinese ‘dim sum’, well-known delicacies such as char siu bao (steamed BBQ pork buns), siu mai (Cantonese pork dumplings in distinct yellow wrappers), har gau (Cantonese shrimp dumplings), or nai wong bao (custard buns) may come to mind. Lotus seed buns, or lian yong bao, are a dish that only true dim sum enthusiasts may be familiar with. They come in many shapes and sizes, with colors often ranging from pink, to yellow, to white. Mine was about the size of a baseball and dyed pink with white patches showing through, shaped to mimic how a ‘longevity peach’ looks. According to Chinese folklore, longevity peaches ripen over thousands of years, and grant immortality to humans when eaten.
The ‘lotus seed’ comes from the bun’s lotus paste filling: crushed up lotus seeds, stewed and mashed to create an almost custard-like paste. The same filling is also used in Chinese mooncakes, usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival in October. While the lotus seed bun is not as sweet as a nai wong bao, they are occasionally served as desserts.
Cuisine, to me, is a means of cultural exchange. I grew up with the idea that eating is a sign of appreciation. In Chinese culture, to ask someone if they’ve eaten yet is a sign of politeness and respect; food is strongly attached to people's emotions and regarded with the utmost importance to many Asian cultures. By eating my native ethnic cuisine and sharing it with others, I am displaying my cultural pride. This is a sentiment that many Asian Americans understand, and is something not only celebrated during Asian Pacific Heritage Month, but year-round.
To learn more about Cassie, click here.
If you have a story of your own to share, reach out to Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org!