“Tiny Moons is a collection of essays about food and belonging. Nina Mingya Powles journeys between Wellington, Kota Kinabalu and Shanghai, tracing the constants in her life: eating and cooking, and the dishes that have come to define her. Through childhood snacks, family feasts, Shanghai street food and student dinners, she attempts to find a way back towards her Chinese-Malaysian heritage.”
Having only read Nina Mingya Powles’ poetry, I was pleasantly surprised by this short collection of essays. Nina talks of her experiences as a mixed-race person growing up in New Zealand and how in spite of not being able to speak the same language as her family, it was the food they ate at home that brought her closer to her Malaysian-Chinese heritage. Now an adult, she writes about a year she spent studying in Shanghai and all the food memories she collected whilst living there.
Categorised by seasons, we are given a tour of the food of Shanghai, from pineapple buns and banana fritters in Spring, to sesame pancakes and wonton noodle soup in Summer and dumplings in Winter. As someone who has never been to China, I thoroughly enjoyed being taken along her culinary journey and finished the book feeling very hungry. Loved it <3