Lanzhou Hand Drawn Noodle House by Xiaojuan Ke of Chinatown Youth Radio Philadelphia

April 21, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

The finished product from Lanzhou Noodle House!

The Chinatown Youth Radio Project (ChYRP) was a short three-week intensive designed by Hansi Lo Wang, a graduate of Swarthmore College and an alum of the outstanding War News Radio. Like a pop-up shop of a radio group. But out of these three weeks in the summer of 2008, a great number of pieces were produced.

This one, Lanzhou Hand Drawn Noodle House by Xiaojuan Ke, puts a spotlight on a local business.


A little more about ChYRP and resourcefulness. Says Hansi about how they got it done:

"I was inspired by my awesome experiences working on War News Radio and wanted to share that experience with other young people and to tackle another under-reported story in American mainstream media — the Asian-American experience. So with the support of local community groups, media professionals, and other volunteers, I put together a 'radio boot camp' for young radio newbies — all of whom were instrumental in shaping the three weeks into a fun and lively experience."

ALSO!! Xiaojuan answered some questions about her radio piece via email. In it you'll find out exactly how long of an interview it takes to get the soundbite you need for your story.

How did you get involved in Chinatown Youth Radio Philadelphia?

Date back to the time that I participated in Chinatown Youth Radio Philadelphia was the time that I’ve been in the US for about two years. I met Hansi, the founder of ChYRP in a teen club and I heard about the youth radio project from him. At that time, I knew nothing about radio. I participated just because I thought it would be a great opportunity to improve my communication skills in English. But after getting involved in the radio team, I realized making radio stories was extremely interesting and beneficial.  It helps to improve my communication, writing and presentation skills, as well as making new friends.

Your piece has so much sound (noise in the shop, the door opening… and the door is really the best. I felt like I was learning a secret when you do that.) Did you think about what sounds you wanted?

At the beginning, I recorded different sounds from the store just for fun. But later, I noticed that if I put those sounds into my radio story, it would help audiences visualize the story and help the audience's imagination.

How did you decide to do a piece on Lanzhou Handdrawn Noodles? Were you a fan?

I’m actually not a fan of Lanzhou Hand Drawn Noodle House. The reason why I chose it was because I think food occupies an important position in the minds of the people all over the world. And I think food culture represents one of the most important traditions within Chinese culture. And Lanzhou Hand Drawn Noodle House is the first and the only hand drawn noodle house in Philadelphia Chinatown. And the skills to make hand drawn noodle are also unique and interesting. So I thought if I could make a piece on it would help people better understand the Chinese culture.

The owner of the shop gets really personal with you. How long did you talk to him for? And can you spell his name out for me?

I talked to him for about one and half hours. The owner’s name is Zengfeng Zhang.

How was it writing and recording in English? Was it easy or did you get frustrated? If you got frustrated, do you feel like you could have told your story better in Chinese?

I done with all interviews in Chinese, then translated them into English. It wasn’t easy since English isn’t my first language. But I didn’t feel frustrated since there were so many people helped me go through all barriers. I didn’t feel like I could have told the story better in Chinese because the purpose of making this piece was to promote Chinese food and to introduce immigrants’ life in the US, so I think it is better to do in English. Also, the initial reason that I participated in the Radio project was to improve my communication skills in English.

What are you up to now? School, work, etc? Where are you? Do you want to keep making radio if you're not doing that currently?

Nowadays, I am a student who is majoring in Mathematics and Actuarial Science at Temple University in Philadelphia. I want to keep making radio during my free time since it has so much fun and it’s so meaningful.

Music in this episode of the podcast is by Rusko, another Young of the World who is making it big. Check out some free downloads at his MySpace page.