NüVoices Podcast #86: Angela Hui about her memoir, Takeaway: Stories from a Childhood Behind the Counter

Growing up in the Welsh countryside and working at her family’s Chinese takeaway was anything but peaceful, writes Angela Hui in her memoir, Takeaway.

With her parents at the helm, Angela was responsible for translating menus, dealing with outrageous customers, and preparing orders for the usual weekend rush. Racially motivated attacks were also not unusual, with some incidents ending in a physical confrontation, like her father wielding a meat cleaver.

Angela also writes about her family history, trips to see relatives in Hong Kong, personal identity, and xenophobia in Takeaway. Listen for all this and more in our episode with Angela Hui, hosted by board member Lijia Zhang!

About Takeaway: “An eye-opening memoir revealing the stories behind living in and running a Chinese takeaway.

Growing up in a Chinese takeaway in rural Wales, Angela Hui was made aware at a very young age of just how different she and her family were seen by her local community. From attacks on the shopfront (in other words, their home), to verbal abuse from customers, and confrontations that ended with her dad wielding the meat cleaver; life growing up in a takeaway was far from peaceful.

But alongside the strife, there was also beauty and joy in the rhythm of life in the takeaway and in being surrounded by the food of her home culture. Family dinners before service, research trips to Hong Kong, preparing for the weekend rush with her brothers – the takeaway is a hive of activity before a customer even places their order of ‘egg-friend rice and chop suey’.

Bringing readers along on the journey from Angela’s earliest memories in the takeaway to her family closing the shop after 30 years in business, this is a brilliantly warm and immersive memoir from someone on the other side of the counter.”

About Angela Hui: Angela is an award-winning freelance writer, journalist and editor primarily covering lifestyle, food and travel. Her work has been published in BBC, Eater, gal-dem, HuffPost, Independent, Lonely Planet, MetroRefinery29, and Vice, among others. She is currently the editor at REKKI, an ordering app for chefs and suppliers. She was previously the food and drink writer at Time Out.

.About Lijia Zhang: Lijia Zhang is a rocket-factory worker turned freelance journalist, social commentator and the author of Socialism is Great! A Worker’s Memoir of the New China and Lotus.


Angela: London Feeds Itself, an essay collection edited by Jonathan Nunn and Cook As You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks and Messy Kitchens by Ruby Tandoh

Lijia: The film Return to Dust