“Food” and “language” are two critical elements that can help new migrants bond with a place, but can also pose as a seemingly antagonistic force when you move to a new place for the first time.
Sun Ya-wen knows exactly the importance of both from her personal experience of moving from Cambodia to Taiwan. Luckily, having always been a great cook, she found a warm, welcoming committee in New Taipei City and overcame her language barrier with the help from her new family.
在與The China Post訪談中，孫雅雯分享道，她目前來台已有20年之久，這也是為什麼如今她的中文會話聽起來與本地人沒兩樣。
Speaking to The China Post, Sun delved into her story, explaining that she has been in Taiwan for 20 years now which accounts for her impeccable Chinese-language speaking abilities.
However, this wasn’t always the case, Sun said. After being introduced to her husband through their parents, she journeyed to Taiwan and found herself at a loss.
Resourceful as she was, she immediately began watching TV soaps and dramas to try and understand Chinese.
Her kind father-in-law wanted to help her and asked that she not watch TV alone in her room; instead, they would watch TV together and he would often question her the content or dialogue to see if she understood.
If she didn’t, her father-in-law would patiently explain what the characters said.
Soon after, Sun’s father-in-law helped enroll her into a night class where the teacher’s thoughtful gesture also touched Sun greatly and helped her learn Chinese efficiently.
In addition, her passion for cooking also landed her a job as a chef at Taipei 101 where she worked for some time, making mostly western dishes.
She later joined the New Immigrant Family Service Center in Banqiao District, and connected more with her roots, creating cooking videos making cuisine from her home country.
According to Sun, the must-have condiment for most Southeast Asian dishes is fish sauce while she acknowledges that Taiwanese dishes mostly rely on soy sauce.
As the pandemic situation worsened in Taiwan during May 2021, the family service center asked her and a few other new migrants to make cooking videos to teach others who may be stuck at home with nothing to do.
Sun said the feedback she received was mostly positive with many praising her beautiful dishes; some also tried their own hand at making them and were happily surprised to find that they were able to re-create the dishes themselves.
As a Cambodian language instructor for numerous schools in Taiwan, and a Cambodian language interpreter and volunteer at the family service center, Sun keeps her cultural heritage close to her heart.
Meanwhile, she is looking forward to making more Southeast Asian dishes for the New Immigrants Family Service Center and welcomes everyone to join in on the fun.
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