Do you like Chinese food? I mean, do you really like Chinese food? Like, as a matter of pride? Then these badass, delicious-looking shirts from AYCE are for you. We're talking chicken feet, sausage buns, gai lan, curry fish balls -- the good stuff. Prominently and proudly featured on a white tee.
Created by friends Alex Wong, Jonathan Ng and Jamie Fung, these shirts are a celebration of food, culture and community. Alex says they were intentional about which dishes to highlight, specifically picking items that were close to their hearts, but might be considered more "offbeat" to someone unfamiliar with Chinese cuisine.
"A lot of western culture tends to cherry pick what they deem worthy when it comes to food items from other culture, whether it be Chinese or something else," Alex says. "These are food items that we feel are relevant to our culture that have either been rejected or not accepted yet. They're very much ours and relevant to us."
Whether it's eating chicken feet at Sunday dim sum with your grandparents, a trip to the Chinese bakery for sausage bun, eating at a family table with a plate of gai lan, or going to a food stall with friends and having the curry fish balls, Alex says these dishes can inspire shared memories and experiences for a lot of different people, and the shirts are sort of like head nod or a secret handshake.
"For me personally, one of my favorite things when we first printed these shirts, I walked around Chinatown with a chicken feet shirt and a lot of the OGs gave an extra long stare and one of them even asked me where I got it from," Alex says. "Just that feeling alone made it worth it."
The shirts are now available exclusively at the AYCE online store. Half of all proceeds from shirt sales will benefit the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. And since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, if you buy the entire of bundle of four shirts, you'll get "Tray of Togetherness" bonus tee for free.
Did they forget your favorite dish? One of the hardest things in the brainstorming process was narrowing down which four food items would make it on the shirts, considering wide range of Chinese dishes they could have drawn from. The hope is to highlight more dishes the next time around.
"We've discussed everything from durian, the Hong Kong breakfast, pineapple buns, thousand layer cake, har gow, sticky rice and beef tripe," Alex says. "We're hoping this can help raise funds for MOCA and we can use our remaining proceeds to continue pouring money into the shipping, printing and photography of these shirts that will allow us to print more seasons of these tees."