Welcome to Blogster!
803,615 Blogster Users  |  364,642 Posts



Blog Traffic: 1769

Posts: 14

My Comments: 2

User Comments: 17

Photos: 1

Friends: 4

Following: 0

Followers: 1

Points: 335

Last Online: 901 days ago



No Recent Visitors

East Eats West: Culinary Conondrum or Creative Cocktail

Added: Sunday, March 25th 2012 at 6:02pm by jcampbell27

                When we think of a culture, we often mistakenly think of a homogeneous and even monolithic group, but this is certainly not the case as Andrew Lam's book East eats West illustrates. If anything, this book shows a classic dichotomy well at work. The filial piety of the east is pitted against the rights of the individual so revered in western culture. What lam excels at is that he shows that values so inherent in Vietnamese culture can be honored and strengthened by a meeting of east and west. For instance, a sense of community is inherently important in Vietnamese culture, and while a state of dispersion occurred after the war, moving many people beyond the pale of the original rural familial niche, a kind of global cultural network emerged that allowed individuals to incorporate elements of a new environment.  

                  Andrew Lam, a noted Journalist and Author expresses his love for Vietnam via his new American culture which he seems to show throughout the book has been "eaten up" by Vietnamese Americans. He notes the intense desire for learning, community, and family, and how it is partially enriched by much of the   technology prevalent in American culture. While Lam sees a kind of beauty in America, he noted a constant balancing act between opposites in his chapter entitled "From Rice Fields To Microchips," starting on p. 51. In this chapter Lam offered a great contrast between a woman on a bus who said, "to think that my son used to play in rice fields and now he is a big engineer."p.54 Sighing she said, "so many machines. We are so far from home,"p.55  

                with the story of his family's ancestral altar and religious devotions amongst his awards in Journalism and his family's degrees. A theme very much fleshed out in the book are issues of the generation gap. It seems that the American environment while embraced by some in body, has been placed on the backburner by those who are still tied to their memories, hopes, and nostalgia, or their souls are left behind as the author puts it. Lam's father for instance, is still very much attached to Vietnam and to his wartime experiences, and this is something which for the author was hard to understand. You can sense the care and reverence that Lam shows to his father's memories, but it is hard for him and others to be connected to Vietnam, or its norms in the same fashion. This is in stark contrast to the previous book we read, Moshin Hamid's the reluctant fundamentalistwhere the main character was bouncing between loyalties to two extremes. Lam's book shows by contrast, not just a synthesis of culture, an extreme, or assimilation, but a fully unique syncretistic experience. East eats West, and in so doing provides a unique perspective, a culinary crossroads, and a new dimension of flavor to both East and West.      

User Comments


Post A Comment

This user has disabled anonymous commenting.