NPR’s The Salt highlights the work of Asian-American artists who use food as a vehicle for cultural connection in a new article today (January 4).

The article features artists Stephanie ShihMonyee Chau and Annie “RC” Shen, three creators who draw on their Taiwanese family roots and foods to create works that address their hyphenated identities. For instance, Shih makes dumplings to connect with an identity she once attempted to erase:


“I pushed my heritage to the back burner,” Shih says of her upbringing in Central New Jersey. She adds that her ceramic dumplings helped her preserve the memory “of sitting at a table [and making the dumplings] with everyone around.” This work proved transformative not only for her, but for fans like this one:

Recently, a woman from Portland named Yumi Wilson reached out and told Shih how much her art meant to her. Wilson lost her Chinese mother 10 years ago and never learned to fold dumplings. “I never stop missing her or thinking about what’s been lost,” she says.

That’s why Wilson finds Shih’s ceramic dumplings “supremely comforting.” To her, they represent the Asian-American community—the pride in their cultures and the struggle to belong.

See more examples of this art on NPR.org.