The mahjong scene is inspired, no doubt, with the game as a BOB (Bit Of Business) which provides the context for the sparring dialogue. The line you cite, Cameron, is one of the notable ones in that scene and your observations dovetail into the dialogue I’d like to spotlight. Actually two lines from different characters. The first is from Rachel:
“I’m so Chinese I’m an econ professor with lactose intolerance.”
The second is from Peik Lin to Rachel about Eleanor:
“She just think you’re some like unrefined banana. Yellow on the outside, and white on the inside.”
Both speak to a central theme in the story: identity. Rachel perceives herself to be thoroughly Chinese. That likely reflects her experience as a Chinese-American woman who is ‘branded’ as Chinese in our society. But once in the Far East, the perception is that she is white, even if “yellow” on the outside.
The question of Rachel’s identity goes beyond ethnicity, of course, as it also includes questions of gender, being in a relationship and what that means, etc., but the ethnic component is a big one in the story.
Thanks, Cameron, hope you enjoyed reading the script.