Foe Yong Hai is an art and cultural research project initiated by visual designer Fay Teo and artist Ami Tsang. It starts with the shared interest of Chinese cuisine and overseas Asian’s identity. Through this project, we would like to use food as an agent, to speculate the third culture* in the Netherlands.

How is this mixed food-culture formulated, produced and accepted? How do different cultural narratives and practises work to constitute food culture for individuals and groups in a multi-ethnic setting? And will the process challenge our idea about the formation of identity?

Our project is a collective story of a small portion of Chinese currently living in the Netherlands. They came to this flat land for different purposes at different times. Staying years range from 7 to 60 years, some work in the catering industry and stay behind in the kitchen for almost their entire life, while some came as high skilled labourers and are functioning socially and actively in this society. Yet, they are all part of this community shaping the Dutch-Chinese identity. Furthermore, the Dutch-Chinese community is the fifth biggest ethnicity group in the Netherlands. They should not be seen as merely immigrants, but part of the future citizens of the Netherlands.

Especially the second generation of Chinese immigrants. They were born and received local education, but meanwhile understanding the Chinese traditional value and customs from their parents. From the interviewed families, we witnessed some second generations showing a big discrepancy with their parents in social customs, religious beliefs, political views, interests/hobbies, eating preferences and languages, which trigger conflicts and communication obstacles.

We are experimenting with a way to stimulate the Dutch to have a better understanding of this specific ethnic group. Especially their struggles for creating their path together with their next generations of the future. Here we send our gratitude to all families/individuals who participated. Foe yong hai and your jiāxiāngcài (homemade cuisine) have been the starting point of our conversation. Followed by that, we are looking forward to seeing how our shared experience comes along, little by little, transcends the existing perceptions of foe yong hai and the Dutch-Chinese communities.

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