Designer. homecook. collector.
I created The Wax Apple to showcase goods from Taiwan!
I spent most of my childhood in Taiwan and moved to LA after high school. Most of my family still lives there, so having this project also gives me an excuse to go to Taiwan often! Since I was young, I remember loving to hunt for treasures at my grandma’s house and eating lots of fruit! My grandmother was never a homebody and traveled around the island often, I tagged along. I wanted a name that would represent my love for Taiwan, wax apple is the name of my favorite native fruit, thus being the perfect name for my project.
As I grew older and moved to the U.S., I began to appreciate the everyday objects in Taiwan: maybe it was a way to bring a little piece of Taiwan back with me. A lot of the pieces I started looking into are things I found at my grandma’s house or places that I’ve visited with her. Often times my grandma would talk to me about the creators, often in their 70s and 80s, who don’t have a website to showcase their creations and speak Taiwanese Hokkien, a fading local dialect. In addition, many of the creations are handmade with techniques that have been passed down for many generations. With that, a lot of people don’t always see value in these items because they seem to be very common goods, but what is not seen in the amount of labor and love that goes into them -each piece is really a work of art.
Because of these forgotten stories, I enjoy doing events, pop-ups, and food workshops because I find that the objects are most powerful when you can physically touch and see such items.
How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?
I am so proud to be Taiwanese, and also to showcase all the amazing things that come from our island! My family has always been the most important piece in my life, so to be able to source the creations with my grandma and mom for work makes me feel so fortunate! I love that I get to travel to Taiwan often (pre-pandemic of course!) and find exciting new things! The best trips are when I find hardware stores tucked away in a small alley of a small village!
If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?
Love Taiwan! If you are lucky enough to travel around the island, you will find that each region is unique and beautiful.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
I think it is so important to stay connected to our roots! Visit Taiwan as often as possible, if you have relatives, keep in touch!
Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?
My friend lost his passport when he arrived in Taiwan. I was with him and panicked because he had a foreign passport. I called my dad, and his first advice was “don’t worry, Taiwanese people are the kindest, you will find it!” Sure enough, a customer on the bus found the passport and they passed it to the driver who was able to deliver it to the bus station closest to where we were staying! Truly amazing.
Favorite Taiwanese food?
pickle cabbage hotpot and shaved ice