The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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    Reader Feedback from The Netherlands

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | November 25, 2009

    Just finished reading your book. What a lovely, well-written, well-researched joy! Thank you!
    I received this fun email today from an American living in the Netherlands. Who knew the book had traveled so far? It’s one of the fun aspects of being an author, little pieces of you goes all over.

    I actually do remember being struck that the Dutch Chinese restaurants were really Indonesian, which made sense given their colonization history.

    I am American but have lived in the Netherlands the past 2 years with my Dutch husband. I can relate to your thoughts on assimilation, keeping cultural traditions whilst taking on the new and also the world perspective you write about in general. Your Stir Fry chapter especially hit a nice spot in me. Very nicely put and also interesting to think about how Americanized ethnic foods have become in America. For example, what I had always perceived as being ethnic food in America is truly American to those on the outside. I now see this more having lived abroad for a while now. I can also see what they perceive as Chinese food here in Holland is not Chinese at all…but more suited towards the Dutch palette with the addition of an Indonesian twist. I know I am excited about a book when I go around randomly quoting trivia facts from it…yours has been on the top of my quotes recently.

    This is her explanation of Dutch Chinese food.

    I think all of this is very much the Indonesian influence. In fact, I think, most of the names are from an Indonesian origin. I just find it fascinating how cultures just merge and flow together. Meanwhile, most people don’t know what is what anymore. In fact, ask any Dutch person what is Dutch food and they’ll really only name one official dish (Stamppot) after that they’ll probably talk all about peanut sauce and babi pangang and all of the other dishes the Dutch traders brought back to NL.

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