• Alexis Kwan

Asian Cooking: Why I Cook to Connect with Myself

Yesterday, my order of reusable chopsticks arrived in the mail. I had found myself longing for the experience of sitting at my favorite Phoenix ramen shop, Nishikawa, after eating my sub-par instant noodles.

Over the past few years, I've gone from being the only mixed-Asian person in my group of friends, to finding a small community of people with similar experiences. My first college friend is half-Chinese, just like I am, and connecting over memories of Dim Sum and Lai See opened my eyes to a whole half of my culture I had pushed away long ago.

My grandparents immigrated to the United States right before my father was born. They owned some of the first Chinese restaurants in Phoenix, including the Great Wall. One Sunday every month, my family would gorge ourselves with noodles and dumplings at Dim Sum and connect. Although I never learned from them while I could, a desire to learn how to cook Chinese and other Asian foods has sparked within me.

It started with potstickers: trying and failing to perfectly fold dumplings to be pan-fried and steamed. Then it was searching for the best instant noodles at the Asian market and adding a variety of toppings. Recently, my mother and I attempted, and I would say succeeded, at making Chinese scallion pancakes.

There are so many Asian chefs and food bloggers who are inspiring a new era of how Asian food and cooking are perceived. After seeing my own family try to assimilate and erase their Chinese roots to become more American, seeing the success of Asian and mixed race influencers is exciting.

Here are my favorites:

Mike Chen @haveadumpling @mikexingchen

Ewa Ko @nom_life

David Chang @davidchang @momofukunoodlebar

Seonkyoung Longest @seonkyounglongest

Steph and Chris @chinesecookingdemystified

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