Journalist’s ‘eye-opening’ book about growing up in a Chinese takeaway in Wales
A Welsh journalist has written what has been described as ‘an eye-opening memoir revealing the stories behind living in and running a Chinese takeaway’.
Growing up in the south Wales Valleys, Angela Hui was made aware at a very young age of just how different she and her family were seen by her local community.
From attacks on the shopfront to verbal abuse from customers, and confrontations that ended with her dad wielding a meat cleaver, life growing up in a takeaway was far from peaceful.
But alongside the strife, there was also beauty in the rhythm and joy that came from living in the takeaway and being surrounded by the food of her home culture.
Family dinners before service, research trips to Hong Kong, preparing for the weekend rush with her brothers – there is a treasure trove of activities that happen before a customer places an order.
A blending of her Welsh and Chinese heritage, the takeaway was a place that embodied the dual identities that Angela herself was experiencing.
She’s documented all these experiences in ‘Takeaway: Stories From a Childhood Behind the Counter’ to be published by Trapeze Books this July.
Currently the food and drink writer at Time Out London, the Welsh author is an award-winning writer, journalist and editor.
She also runs @chinesetakeawaysuk Instagram account documenting Chinese takeaways up and down the country and sharing the stories of the unseen workers in the hospitality industry.
Combining Cantonese recipes with illustrations from tattoo artist Georgina Leung, according to the publisher ‘Takeaway’ aims to ‘shine a light on a facet of the British Chinese experience that is thus far extremely under-explored.
‘it will bring together Hui’s Welsh and Chinese heritage in a powerful memoir that will capture readers’ attention and spark conversations, and an appetite.’
Trapeze Books commissioning editor Ru Merritt first came across Angela on Twitter, when the Welsh writer called out a high-profile chef’s false claims of ‘authenticity’ when opening their new Chinese restaurant.
“I knew she was someone I needed to get to know and, of course, publish,” she said. “Delightfully, I’ve been proved right as her memoir is one that, as both an editor and reader with Chinese heritage, I didn’t realise I had been waiting so long to read.
“While there were many times in the editing process I found myself laughing at the bizarre and eye-opening anecdotes Angela shares about running and living in a takeaway, there were also just as many moments where I realised I’d been holding my breath for the past few pages as I was in shock at how her family were being treated and the behaviour they had to endure, simply to make a living.”
As for Angela herself she said she was ‘stoked’ to be given the opportunity to write her Chinese takeaway story and to share some of her most personal family recipes.
“I want to celebrate, as well as tell the history and hardships of British Chinese food,” she added.
“I hope Takeaway will show readers another side to the Chinese takeaways they know and love, the determination and struggles faced by takeaway owners as well as how unique the identity and flavours of the Chinese takeaway cuisine are.”
‘Takeaway: Stories From a Childhood Behind the Counter’ will be published by Trapeze Books on July 21.
You can pre-order the book HERE
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