Tag Archives: folklore

Potstickers myth

My informant is a high school student who has been taking Chinese in school since kindergarten (age 5), to make a total of 10 years of study. She traveled to Taiwan last summer doing a homestay. She was born in Wisconsin, but raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is very knowledgeable of Asian culture; she has had a passion for learning languages and learning about different cultures since a young age. She also studies Japanese Language and culture. My informant heard this legend explaining how potstickers were invented from her Chinese instructor, who is from China. She told me this story because of her interest in Chinese culture.

Informant: This emperor from China asked his chef to make him some food. So the chef decided to make dumplings. Then, he forgot about them in the pot…When he came back to the kitchen, they were stuck to the pot. He was going to make more food because he messed up, but the emperor really wanted to eat. Because he did not have time, the chef brought the overcooked dumplings to the emperor and told him that he was trying something new called “potstickers” because they stuck to the pot. The emperor thought they were tasty and voila, potstickers!

Me: Where did you learn this from?

Informant: From 8th grade Chinese class

Me: From who?

Informant: Tan Lao Shi (Informant’s Chinese instructor)

Me: Where is she from and who did she hear it from?

Informant: Mainland China and her parents told her the story.

Me:Why did your teacher tell you this story?

Informant: Because we were doing a project Chinese folklore. We had to find a story and then make a presentation about the story. She told us this story as an example of a story we could do for our presentation.

I thought it was interesting that my informant had to do a folklore assignment for her Chinese language class. Her Chinese teacher gave this story as an example of a common piece of folklore that is passed down in China. It was interesting that my informant heard this from her Chinese teacher who is actually form China, because it seems like a story that Americans could have developed to explain how this food came to be. It reminds me of the story about how pretzels were invented which was My informant told me that she tells this story when at Asian restaurants to her friends, because it is like a “fun fact.” She is interested in any Chinese stories and says that she gets them from her high school in structors how are from mainland China.