Joanne Lee-Young, on February 13th, 2018
A dozen or so people are gathered in the dining room of a cosy Vancouver home to look back on a special trip they made to Kaiping in southern China.
Plates are laden with food and treats of all sorts brought to share. There’s baked salmon, stir-fried broccoli, takeout boxes of barbecued pork and duck, a selection of gourmet cheeses with thin apple slices, and Ziploc bags of black sesame and peanut brittle.
Later, bottles of Scotch come out, and there is both laughter and reverence as the group chat about what they experienced and who they met.
It’s a weekend gathering just ahead of Lunar New Year, one grounded in many of the holiday’s traditional and universal themes: travel and reunion, abundant food, drink and revelry. Underpinning it all is a deep respect for one’s family and forebears.
As Vancouver aims for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for its Chinatown, reflecting on this trip to Kaiping reveals the fascinating, long-standing connections that exist between the two cities.