Welcome to Toisan Pride

Toisanese (Hoisanese is the REAL pronunciation; and Mandarin speakers call it "Taishan" or Taishanese") were among the first Chinese-Cantonese immigrants to hail to the United States from the Guangdong/Guangzhou Province of Southern China in the Pearl River Delta, west of Hong Kong.

Many Hoisanese immigrants came to the U.S. starting in the 19th century to help build railroads, and eventually stayed to establish laundromats, restaurants, etc. and worked hard to build a better future for their families. Some famous Hoisan folks include: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Chef Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook); Hawaii Senator Hiram Fong, Hong Kong Martial Artist Donnie Yen (star of IP MAN), Actor James Hong, Former California Treasurer Matt Fong; Actress Anna May Wong. For more Toisan/Taishan background history, click on Wikipedia.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Some day, I plan on updating it but Blogger isn't the greatest with blog templates so I appreciate your patience! I welcome comments, stories, photos, Toisanese/Say-Yip history, anything about our wonderful people to toisangirl@yahoo.com.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pungent Chinese Remedies

I recently bought a bottle of Bauk Fah Yiu (White Flower Oil) from a Honolulu Chinatown herbal shop for my mosquito bites and sore muscles.  My dad used this odiferous ointment every day on his athlete's foot or sore elbow, etc. and kept it on his nightstand like every Chinese parent.

And remember Tiger Balm?  Tennis pro Michael Chang was the poster boy for this one (why couldn't he get a Nike sponsorship or something? well, that's another story). But I have to admit, this pungent stuff works - even when I have a chest cold.

True to what Mr. Toisan says on his website, (check out his cool Toisan tee-shirt designs!) (http://www.toisanlives.blogspot.com/ ) our parents and grandparents relied on strange, pungent herbal remedies that stunk to high heaven but some of which actually worked!! 

We always had Bo Dai Yuan (Bao Ji Wan) in our medicine cabinet.When I was 7 years old traveling with gung gung and poh poh to Canada (Ga-Na-Ai) - the customs officer questioned us about these tiny little dark pink-hued pills. I was the only one who spoke English so I told him it was "Chinese meds" for your tummy. Somehow we got back to L.A. 

My dad also swore by Mentholatum (in the bright green jar) as an American cure-all for chapped lips, headache, a sore throat, itchy skin, dry skin and slathered it on whenever we kids got sick.  Aaah, what aromatic memories....