Asian puerto rican: Chinese Puerto Rican TikToker goes viral for explaining multicultural identity

Chinese Puerto Rican TikToker goes viral for explaining multicultural identity

As the only student of Asian descent at her high school in Puerto Rico, Keishla He was used to sticking out. 

So when He — who is of Chinese descent and was born and raised in Puerto Rico — started posting on TikTok in Spanish, comments rolled in expressing surprise at her fluency in her native language. The 20-year-old began sharing more of her identity online and quickly drew an audience. Since her first videos in 2020, He has amassed more than 1.8 million followers.

“I know I’m not the only Asian that was born here in Puerto Rico and was raised here,” He told NBC Asian America. “So I wanted to be that person that they can look up to and say, ‘OK, I’m not the only one,’ so they don’t feel alone.”

She began posting at the start of the pandemic to speak out about the spike in racist language against Asian communities. But what garnered more attention, she said, was her fluency in Spanish. As those questions came in, He began posting more content in her native language and addressing commenters’ confusion.

Many of her videos involve He sharing anecdotes about her life, entertaining followers with her rapid storytelling and sense of humor. Oftentimes, she switches fluidly from Spanish to English to Cantonese, as she recounts conversations with strangers and family members.

For He, educating others usually doesn’t start with explicit conversations about her identity, but with embracing her heritage and responding to the continual flow of comments expressing shock or skepticism.

He’s TikToks are often flooded with support from other Boricuas who share her cultural pride and encourage her to embrace her background. But she’s also gotten some pushback.

“I started receiving a lot of hate saying that I should stop saying that I was Puerto Rican just because I was born here or raised here,” He said. “I was really confused. And that’s when I decided, since nobody’s talking about this, I decided to be the first one to talk about it, to be proud of my roots.

Keishla He.Courtesy Keishla He

Though the Chinese Boricua community makes up a small percentage of the island’s overall population, these Puerto Ricans have generations of history tying them to the territory. After the Chinese Exclusion Act passed in 1882, many Chinese in the continental United States fled to Puerto Rico and found work there.

These migrants contributed heavily to reconstructing the island’s infrastructure and rail transport systems after the Spanish-American War, which resulted in Spain ceding Puerto Rico to the U.S. in 1898. Many Chinese laborers had settled permanently there, but the U.S. soon extended the Exclusion Act to include this new territory — stunting further immigration until all of the country’s various exclusion laws against Chinese immigrants were repealed in 1943.

The U.S. Census reports people of Asian descent make up just 0.2 percent of Puerto Rico’s population. Like many Asian Americans across the country, He said the isolation she felt as a child — from being bullied for the shape of her eyes, her food or the language she spoke at home — at times pushed her to reject her Chinese identity.

But after years of trying to “be more Puerto Rican,” He said she wanted to embrace both cultures without shame.

So when she noticed a dearth of Asian Boricuas making content about their identities, she decided to fill that gap and help expose people to the diversity of Puerto Rican communities. Her parents had immigrated from China and started a restaurant on the island, He said, but they never spoke up about the prejudice they faced.

“I have the ability to speak up, so why shut my mouth when something is wrong?” she said. “Why not express my point of view to get other people to think?”

Spanish is He’s primary language, but she speaks Cantonese with family and learned English in school. Lately, the multilingual content creator has also been practicing Mandarin and picking up the basics of Korean, inspired by her love for Korean dramas.

K-dramas were a source of comfort for He as a child, she said, because of the minimal Asian representation she saw in mainstream Western entertainment. He, who is now in her second year of university, said her experiences growing up have taught her the importance of staying true to herself.

“Don’t be harsh on yourself and don’t be harsh on others,” He said. “I know that not having knowledge doesn’t excuse you from doing bad things, but give them a chance to learn.”

Angela Yang

Angela Yang is an intern for NBC News Digital.

How Chinese Immigrants Found Their Way to Puerto Rico – The Diplomat

Asia Life | Security | East Asia

The history of Chinese immigrants in Puerto Rico is intertwined with American restrictions on Chinese immigration through 1965.

Credit: CC0 image via Pixabay

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part series by Robert Farley. The first part is here.

Chinese migration to the United States in the latter half of the 19th century was substantial, and made a lasting cultural and economic impact on the country. It also generated immense discrimination and eventually legal prohibition on further immigration. The adoption of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the United States in 1882 sharply limited entry to the United States, with the accidental effect of driving Chinese immigration to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican society adapted. Access to Wikipedia was sparse in the 19th century, and as such writers in Puerto Rico attempted to detail for readers the conditions of the Qing Empire in China, with various reports regarding its size and population. Confucian religious rituals were of great interest and occasional alarm to Puerto Rican readers. As elsewhere, Chinese migrants were associated with ancient wisdom and command of mystical arts, but also with heretical practices. Perhaps unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs took advantage of the situation to advertise based on special Chinese mystical knowledge of the latest in footwear and the best places to find fabrics and tools.

After 1898, however, Puerto Rico came under U. S. jurisdiction as a result of the Spanish-American War. The United States began applying the Chinese Exclusion Act to the island, limiting further Chinese immigration. The United States instead helped facilitate the migration of Chinese who already lived in the U.S. to Puerto Rico, hoping that they would provide the labor and know-how to reconstruct infrastructure on the island.

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A final wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the wake of the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the abrogation of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1965. In the former case, many Cuban-Chinese families of property fled the island, landing in Puerto Rico. The latter finally opened the United States (and by extension Puerto Rico) up to modern Chinese emigration from Taiwan and (eventually) the People’s Republic. This generation remains evident in the cuisine and cultural landscape of the island.

Today, Puerto Rico does not have substantial concentrations of Chinese families, and not even San Juan has a Chinatown. But while it is fair to say that the political imprint of Chinese immigration has been small, the social impact has been more significant. Chinese families have contributed through art, music, and cuisine, adding to the distinctively cosmopolitan nature of the island’s culture. And the contribution of Chinese laborers to the major reconstruction projects in the 19th century remains a well-known element of Puerto Rican historical memory, even if it has acquired a certain mythic quality. In 2017 Monica Ching, with the support of Sabrina Ramos Ruben (who also contributed incalculable assistance with this column), convened an exhibition of artworks associated with the Chinese experience in Puerto Rico. A history by Jose Lee Borges, Los Chino en Puerto Rico, appeared in 2015. Novels by Manolo Núñez Negrón, Rafael Acevedo, and Eduardo Lalo have helped illuminate elements of the Chinese cultural experience.

The grand currents of the 19th century, from the colonial conquests of Europe to the independence movements that gripped the Americas, to the end of the slavery and the decay of the Chinese imperial system, left unique imprints on every part of the world. Even in Puerto Rico, a small island remote from the tragedies that convulsed China for over a century, we find the marks of the deep geopolitical transformations that restored East Asia’s place in the international order.


  • Asia Life
  • Security
  • East Asia
  • United States
  • Chinese immigrants in Puerto Rico
  • Chinese immigration to the United States
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. history

benefits and harms for the body of men, women, children

Any specialized tea shop will tell you that most sales in recent years have come from pu-erh. This type of drink has become incredibly popular and even fashionable. Pu-erh is a synonym for an elite variety, the versatility of which taste will be appreciated only by a true connoisseur. We talked with a nutritionist about the dangers and benefits of pu-erh tea, its effect on the body of men, women and children.

The history of pu-erh in nutrition

It is called the most ancient tea. The birthplace of pu-erh is the regions of East Asia: Burma, Laos, Thailand, China. It is harvested from Yunnanese tea trees. The most ancient type is sheng pu-erh. It is closest to green tea. Sheng pu-erh varieties are purple and white, the most expensive varieties.

Shu Pu-erh began to be produced only half a century ago and it has become the most commercially widespread type of this tea. It is made from sheng tea by fermentation: sprayed with water and covered with a cloth or film. The end result is that earthy taste. Many people think that pu-erh is buried in the soil, which is why it acquires a special blend. However, this is a myth. Water destroys the structure of the leaf and natural chemical processes give firm taste. nine0003

We know that pu-erh originated in Ancient Asia. In mountainous areas, people consumed a lot of fatty foods: lard, butter, meat. Such food is difficult for the body to digest. And pu-erh just promotes the breakdown of fats. In addition, he helped maintain the balance of vitamins in the body of people who were deprived of gastronomic diversity.

In Russia, shu pu-erh is most loved. Black tea is closer to us than green tea. Although in his homeland in Asian countries, it is sheng that is in great demand. Our man got acquainted with pu-erh more than a century ago, during the Russian-Japanese and Russian-Chinese conflicts. True, in those years, Asian tea «pur-cha» was considered a real medicine and was used accordingly. nine0003

With the establishment of Soviet power, the number of varieties of tea on the shelves of a large country has noticeably decreased. Pu-erh returned only in the new Russia. The fashion for Asian gastronomic culture is growing year by year. With it, consumer interest in tea is also developing.

— Puer is an ambiguous and unique drink. On the one hand, the tea of ​​Chinese sages and Tibetan healers. On the other hand, he is credited with an intoxicating effect, the ability to cause a burst of energy and even euphoria. In fact, it does not contain any narcotic components. The unusual effect is due to the stronger effects of caffeine and theine, since pu-erh has a high concentration of these substances, explains dietitian, nutritionist Alexandra Noev .

Composition and calorie content of PUER

Calorius per 100 grams 152 kcal
Belts 20 g
5.1 g

Benefits of pu-erh

In the homeland of the drink in China, pu-erh is considered a healthy drink for men in terms of preventing impotence. Although recently this property is attributed to almost every product. But in the case of this tea, you can still draw a scientific basis. nine0003

— Pu-erh contains substances that thin the blood. This helps to improve erection. Due to anti-inflammatory properties, the risk of prostatitis and adenoma is reduced. Pu-erh reduces the level of stress, which indirectly affects erectile function, explains Alexandra Noev.

Ladies also note the benefits of the drink. Asian women use pu-erh to keep their skin beautiful. The drink contains antioxidants that actively fight the signs of aging. Tea improves the condition of hair and tooth enamel. nine0003

— Pu-erh has a positive effect on libido. Able to normalize the menstrual cycle, reduce cramps and pain during menstruation, the doctor adds.

The properties of pu-erh were studied not only by traditional medicine, but also by evidence-based medicine. It was possible to find out that pu-erh reduces the level of cholesterol and triglycerides. So, theoretically, tea helps to cope with patients with cardiovascular diseases and obesity. But this does not mean at all that pu-erh is a medicine. It has been established that it removes some of the harmful compounds from the body, but is not able to fully replace therapy. nine0003

— According to Dr. John H. Weisburger of the American Health Foundation (New York, USA), this tea is high in antioxidants. They just reduce the oxidized form of low-density cholesterol, which in turn is considered one of the main causes of heart disease. Thus, tea polyphenols prevent cell damage by free radicals,” says Alexandra Noev.

In his research, an American doctor claims that «pu-erh reduces blood sugar levels, improves digestion, due to the high content of manganese in this drink, which increases the intensity of fat utilization, reduces the level of lipids in the body.» Substances in pu-erh block the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels. Simply put, they improve fat, carbohydrate and activate oxygen metabolism. nine0003

The Dutch Blood Institute found that 1-2 cups of pu-erh per day reduced the risk of atherosclerosis by 64%. At the University of Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen University), Professor He Guopan found that such tea helps to normalize blood pressure and is also indicated for the elderly.

It can be summarized that the benefits of pu-erh can be expressed in:

  • increased efficiency and concentration;
  • strengthening the walls of blood vessels and preventing the formation of blood clots;
  • help the work of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • breakdown of fats;
  • reduced risk of strokes and heart attacks;
  • neutralization and elimination of toxins;
  • strengthening bones and teeth.

Harm of pu-erh

Renaissance physician Paracelsus is credited with the phrase: «Everything is poison, and everything is medicine.» Speaking about the benefits of pu-erh, one cannot omit the presence of strict contraindications to it. Among them are urolithiasis, serious problems with blood pressure, chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, elevated body temperature — fever. nine0003

— Even healthy people should not drink pu-erh on an empty stomach. It stimulates increased production of gastric juice. This can lead to cramps, pain, and heartburn. You should not drink pu-erh before going to bed, so as not to get insomnia, — Alexandra Noev warns.


As for the use of pu-erh by children, the main problem lies in the abundance of caffeine in this tea. Doctors do not recommend caffeine to children up to 15-16 years. Therefore, it is better for a child to brew classic black or green tea, rather than pu-erh. And it is unlikely that the child will appreciate the exquisite taste of the drink. nine0003

Culinary uses of pu-erh

The most common uses of pu-erh are classical tea brewing, gaiwan (stewing bowl) or simmering tea. It is recommended to drain the first water that comes into contact with the pu-erh. This is the so-called flush.

You can find many step-by-step recipes for brewing, indicating the exact time, thickness and materials of pu-erh dishes, gramming of raw materials for different volumes of the vessel. However, tea masters are skeptical about formalizing the process. It is recommended to experiment and look for your own recipe that you will like. The key is clean water. nine0003

Some try to replace the effect of alcohol intoxication with pu-erh. To do this, a large amount of tea leaves are boiled for several hours. Such «chifir» is very harmful to the heart and stomach. In addition, unique flavor notes disappear from the drink. We will not recommend this recipe to anyone.

Admirers of Kalmyk salted tea can add fat or oil to pu-erh, as well as salt to taste. You can generally take a spoonful of finished lard and stir in tea.

For an interesting tea drink, try adding clove star, a couple of cardamom seeds and cinnamon to your tea. Pour boiling water over and let it brew for three to five minutes. nine0003

Some people like the combination of citrus and pu-erh. Zest of lemon, orange and even grapefruit interestingly complement the earthy blend of tea. Love sweeter? Put a spoonful of flower honey.

For a fresher summer drink, add mint, raspberry and basil leaves to pu-erh. Raspberry leaves can be replaced with currant ones. Or even use fresh berries.

How to choose and store pu-erh

Pu-erh tea is classified according to raw material quality categories. They are assigned numbers from 1 to 10. The lower the number, the more expensive. The most expensive varieties are denoted by Chinese words, for example, Gong Ting or Gong Xing — imperial. Considered a high quality variety. nine0003

Although there are two main types of pu-erh — shu and sheng, it is very easy for a beginner to get confused among their markings. Therefore, it is easiest to determine the quality of pu-erh by brewing and tasting the drink. At the same time, it does not mean at all that you will like expensive pu-erh. The aroma of expensive small leaves is sharper than that of large leaves. Ideally, masters collect a balanced blend from several varieties of tea raw materials.

The best grades withstand up to ten waterings. The more tender, smaller and thinner the leaf, the more expensive the pu-erh. The presence of kidneys in tea leaves is a sign of quality. But the age of pu-erh (10, 20 or more years) is not an indicator of quality at all. Much more influenced by the quality of the work of the technologist. Unfortunately, it will be possible to evaluate it only by testing the drink. nine0003

Therefore, in order to get acquainted with pu-erh, beginners who want to immerse themselves in the tea world are advised to purchase trial sets. These are specialized tea shops.

Pu-erh is recommended to be stored at a temperature of +20…+25 degrees Celsius, air humidity of 60-70%. After opening the package, it is better to drink tea 6-12 months in advance. It is better to store tea leaves in an airtight bag or glass container in a dark place.

EXOSHOP — Puer tea from China — EXOSHOP.RU


Pu-erh tea
— the only type of tea in the world, which over time becomes only
better. The rest lose their taste after a year. Therefore, when in families
Chinese tea producers had a baby, they laid one cake
pu-erh for storage. When it was time for marriage, old tea
sold. That was enough for the wedding ceremony. Today enterprising
the Chinese are investing in pu-erh — the price of tea is growing much faster than interest
by deposit. Order your Puer today! nine0127 EXOSHOP
will help you with this.

The name of tea comes from the name of the province, in the territory
which Pu-erh began to grow. Pu-erh combines two types of tea: Shen pu-erh and shu
puer. They are completely different in taste, are in a different price segment,
affect the body in different ways, but both are made from the same
raw material — tea tree leaves.

Shu pu-erh is very close to Chinese red tea, while shen pu-erh is
to green.

As we have already mentioned, for the production of Pu-erh tea,
tea tree leaves, but not tea bushes — this raw material is used for
other types of Chinese tea.

In Asia, it is believed that the age of the tree affects the taste
qualities of pu-erh — the older the tree, the more interesting and richer the drink.

After collecting the leaves, tea producers send them for further processing.
processing. And here the paths of shen and shu pu-erhs diverge. Shen puer is sent
for fermentation — the natural aging of the leaves as a result of long
storage. In a few years, it will become one of the most expensive teas in the world.
and a real gift for gourmets. Its aroma combines pronounced
honey and floral notes. nine0003

The raw materials of the future shu pu-erh are also subject to aging, but
for just a few months. artificial fermentation method
shu pu-erh makes it accessible to a huge number of people. In the smell of it
pu-erh is dominated by notes of nuts and dried fruits.

According to Chinese tea classification, processing method
of the finished tea tree leaf, pu-erh is loose and pressed. However,
despite the tangible convenience of using loose pu-erh, its connoisseurs
still prefer pancakes and balls. They believe that the drink is significantly
lost in taste and aroma with the advent of new technologies. nine0003

So, there are several forms of pressed pu-erh.
Let’s talk about some of the most popular of them:

— pancake (other names: cake, Bing Cha). Issued
size from 100 grams to five kilograms.

— nest (or bowl, To cha). The weight of each is from 3 grams to 3 kilograms. Concave weights, which in the old days were used for scales, and gave
The name for this type of pu-erh pressing is To Cha.

— brick. There are packages from 100 grams to a kilogram. This form was convenient for transportation on horseback. nine0003

To brew pu-erh, 150 milliliters of water take about
4 grams of tea. Connoisseurs of the tea ceremony recommend pre-rinsing and
Roast the tea leaves before brewing them. It is believed that in this way it is possible to get rid of
dust and disinfect tea from bacteria that may have appeared as a result of
long-term storage. Both of these actions are easily replaced by a quick rinse.
boiling water.

If you purchased pressed pu-erh — pancake, ball, brick
or another form, then before brewing it must be crumbled. nine0003

Brew tea with water close to boiling. AND,
depending on the strength of the drink you want to get, keep
from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Good pu-erh can be brewed several times,
and it won’t lose its flavor.

Use a special siphon for brewing.

Drink ready-made tea in small sips, evaluating
aftertaste. The color of the «correct» pu-erh is similar to the color of coffee, and the taste depends on
whether rose, chrysanthemum or other plant flowers are added to it. nine0003

By the way, pu-erh is the only Chinese tea that
consumed with milk. Note that this will not look like a departure from
traditions of tea drinking and «translation» of a valuable drink.

For cooking, in addition to pu-erh and milk, you need cardamom,
cinnamon, butter and honey. Rinse the tea leaves with boiling water, put in a teapot,
fill with milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a temperature of 95-100 degrees.
After boiling, add 20 grams of butter, let the drink boil
a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat, add honey and spices. nine0003

What is Chinese tea without health benefits? Puer in this
plan was no exception. «Cure for seven diseases» — so called pu-erh

When taken daily, the drink improves activity
intestines, resulting in a healthy appearance of the skin. Shown pu-erh and
dieting — it tends to discourage appetite. Because of this, no
It is recommended to drink pu-erh on an empty stomach and after meals.

Pu-erh has an amazing tonic effect, so do not
It is advised to take it before bed. And vice versa, pu-erh must be brewed for
cheerful state and increased attention before a long journey behind the wheel,
before exams, night shifts.

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