What are some of the most memorable lessons you’ve learned from other food bloggers?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that authenticity doesn’t necessarily mean making food the exact same way as it has been for the past hundred years. Cultures change and adapt, and our food is allowed to also. I used to be hesitant to post my family recipes because I was afraid people would think I’m not being authentically Asian.
However, I’ve been able to connect with other food bloggers who are from other Asian backgrounds and are also creating more updated, Asian-American foods. I’ve learned from a reader’s perspective that it really helps to explain how a recipe gets developed and where the ideas come from. It shows how “fusion” foods can actually be authentic while also giving credit to the recipe creators who came before me. From an influencer perspective, I’ve learned that collaborating with each other, as opposed to competing, benefits all of us.
How do you stay inspired while blending your love of Asian and American food recipes?
The inspiration for my Asian-American foods usually comes from my grandparents and their friends! I’m part of a community of 4th and 5th generation Asian-Americans; when our great grandparents emigrated here, they naturally had to adapt their foods because they couldn’t get the same ingredients they were used to.
A lot of the recipes I post are actually updated versions of recipes passed down to me from family and family friends. Seeing how they were able to keep the spirit of their cuisine while incorporating more Western ingredients guides my own recipe creation as well.
What is your current favorite piece of site content?
This is such a hard question, but my favorite piece of content on my site is probably my Zippy’s chili copycat recipe. If you’re familiar with Hawaii, you probably know about Zippy’s chili. It’s a local favorite and allegedly Barack Obama’s favorite chili. Living on the mainland, I had to find a way to satisfy my craving, so I took my best shot at recreating it.
I posted this recipe before I had any nice cameras, so the photography is terrible, but it is still one of my most popular posts! I’ve had strangers both from Hawaii and the mainland email me telling me how much they love this recipe because it reminds them of Hawaii. I feel like if I can motivate a complete stranger to tell me that this recipe was meaningful to them, I’ve done something right. I go back and use this recipe myself all the time!