Subtitled Stories From A Childhood Behind The Counter, in Takeaway Angela Hui details family life serving Chinese food in Beddau, a Rhondda village. In thousands of locales across Britain, there’s a Chinese restaurant not unlike theirs, the Lucky Star: an unequivocal part of the community experience. And yet the people loyally serving sweet and sour chicken and vegetable spring rolls every night are never wholly included in that community – separated not just by the countertop between them, but via endemic racist attitudes.
Takeaway is not merely an angry detailing of all the times Hui was discriminated against or otherwise wronged or – though this is certainly prevalent – nor does she suggest her early life and home were anything but happy. She speaks fondly of the rolling green hills of the Valleys and admires the intense, communal mindset which glued all 4,000 residents of Beddau together, emphasising that she wouldn’t have traded her life in Wales for the world.
Rather, this book is a truthful, heartfelt plea for tolerance and humanity: a “fortune cookie of joy and an education to what goes on behind closed doors in the nation’s favourite takeaway”.
Takeaway, Angela Hui (Trapeze)
Price: £16.99. Info: here
words MEGAN THOMAS
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