Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month on HRN

By: Thao-Vy Duong

Coined in 1968 by Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee, the term “Asian American” is a marker of collectivism. Its inception is inseparable from the founding of the Asian American Political Alliance, which aimed to unite Asian American voices. Prior to the invention of this phrase, Asian Americans were simply identified by their ethnic subgroup or broadly by obtuse and racist terms. The organization of various subgroups under the banner of “Asian American” worked to centralize and amplify Asian American activist power. Now in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing targeted bigotry, this sense of collectivism is crucial.

As we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, HRN turns to podcasts that explore how AAPI influences have shaped — and continue to shape — the topography of American gastronomy. 

In this 20-episode playlist enjoy interviews from HRN’s archive with chefs, restaurant owners, entrepreneurs, academics, authors and Youtube stars. These conversations span topics from food and family traditions to businesses, art and community building, drawing on Chinese, Filipino, Lao, Indonesian, Hawaiian, Korean, Thai, Burmese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian heritage. 

Tech Bites Episode 232: With Warm Welcome: Amplifying the Asian American Culinary Community: With Warm Welcome started in 2019 as a podcast with the intention to bring together the Asian American restaurant community. Today it is a digital media platform with a magazine, pop-ups, merchandise, and events on Clubhouse. On this episode, host Jennifer Leuzzi talks with Arnold Byun, founder of With Warm Welcome, about how the mission and community of WWW have evolved to meet the challenges of the moment.                                                     

Eat Your Words Episode 396: Coconut & Sambal with Lara Lee: Host Cathy Erway dials up Lara Lee, whose acclaimed new book celebrates Indonesian cuisine. Hear how Lara's fond memories of cooking with her grandmother inspired her to explore her food and culture more, and how Indonesian cooking can be replicated anywhere in the world. Finally, we'll discuss 2020 in food media and lessons learned from an incredibly difficult year for all.

The Line Episode 75: Chef Dennis Ngo: Host Eli Sussman welcomes Chef Dennis Ngo the chef / owner of Di An Di, a Vietnamese restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Dennis left his job as a consultant to pursue being a chef and has since helped open numerous Vietnamese restaurants in New York City, including An Choi, Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen, Hanoi House and founded Lonestar Empire, a Texas style smoked brisket operation, which has been at Smorgasburg since 2012. Di An Di, which opened to acclaim in 2018 has become an instant neighborhood favorite.

Speaking Broadly Episode 78: Vulnerability, Shame, VR and Other Motivators in the Kitchen: When chef Jenny Dorsey creates culinary experiences, she wants the conversation to be about a whole lot more than the food. With projects such as the experimental pop up dinner series, "Wednesdays," and her "It's Disgusting" lunch boxes campaign, Dorsey wants people to be courageously present: to shed their inhibitions, open up to new and uncomfortable ideas, and ultimately leave the meal more empathetic. Her latest undertaking, "Asian in America," is a blend of VR, poetry, and food, where each ingredient is mined for its many layers of meaning. Tune in to this episode of Speaking Broadly to learn more about how Dorsey's struggle with binge-eating and being an introvert led her to culinary school, why she thinks that culinary education needs to be reimagined, and how an acupuncture session led to a now-realized vision of marrying VR and food.

The Feedfeed Episode 47: What’s for Dinner? Alice Choi from Hip Hop Foodie Mom Joins Julie to Talk All Things Korean Food!: Alice talks about life growing up in Dallas as a Korean American, her parents' restaurants and Korean market, and how they inspired her lifelong love of food. Alice also shares how she has grown her platform on Instagram, Tiktok, and the web during her career as a food blogger. Listen for some of Alice's fan-favorite recipes and tips for cooking Korean food.                                                                                                                                   

All in the Industry Episode 281: Hong Thaimee, Thaimee Love: Shari Bayer's guest is Hong Thaimee, Chef/Owner of Thaimee LOVE, her latest venture centered around a “Thai-inspired way of living,” including a six-month pop-up restaurant featuring homestyle Thai cuisine in New York’s West Village, virtual cooking classes, meal delivery kits, and a Thai product line. Originally from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Hong is a chef, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has served as a global ambassador for Thai cuisine and culture for nearly a decade. She has appeared on TV in the US and across Southeast Asia, including on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” in a major TV campaign for Air Asia, and as a judge on a prominent Thai cooking series. This episode also features Shari's PR tip to put love into everything; Industry News discussion about pastry chefs finding new freedom, stuck at home; and Michelle Obama's new kids cooking show, Waffles + Mochi, on Netflix; plus, Shari's outdoor Solo Dining experience at Havana 1957 in South Beach, FL.                                                                                                                                                               

Food Without Borders Episode 31: The Lao Food Movement with Chef Seng Luangrath: Laos-born Seng Luangrath is the chef and owner of Thip Khao, Washington D.C.’s first Lao restaurant.  Chef Seng fled Laos as a refugee with her family and learned to cook from her Lao neighbors as a child at a refugee camp in Thailand. After decades of suppressing her true calling of cooking professionally, she’s now an award-winning chef based in Washington D.C and the founder of the Lao Food Movement.

Eat Your Heartland Out Episode 9: Asian Influences on Midwestern Foodways: Host Capri S. Cafaro is joined by an inspiring lineup of guests who will share their insights on how Asian immigrants have impacted the Midwestern food landscape. Dr. Ashley Rose Young of the Smithsonian Institution will provide context to the migratory patterns of Asian immigrants into the Midwest, while Yia Vang and Zin Zin Htun will share their own personal experiences as food entrepreneurs who brought their native Hmong and Burmese flavors to Minneapolis and Indianapolis respectively.   

In The Sauce Episode 86: Building with Your Sister In A Global Pandemic: Vanessa and Kim Pham are the founders of Omsom, the DTC ready-to-use meal starters packed with the aromatics, seasonings, and oils at the foundation of many Asian dishes. On this episode of ITS, Kim and Vanessa share their story, their views on food appropriation, and how Omsom is helping make Asian condiments feel representative of the changing DNA of the US. 

Japan Eats! Episode 198: Running a Japanese Restaurant Empire: Our guest is Sakura Yagi who is the chief operating officer at the T.I.C. Group. The T.I.C. Group is very important for the Japanese food culture in NYC. It is founded by Sakura’s father Bon Yagi who is regarded as the founder of the Japan Town in the East Village. In 1984, Mr. Yagi opened his first restaurant Hasaki in the East Village. Since then Mr. Yagi opened more approachable and high-quality unique Japanese restaurants and now the T.I.C. Group operates 13 restaurants in Manhattan, mostly in the East Village. (If you are interested in Mr. Yagi’s intriguing life and inspiration, listen to Episode 14.) Sakura joined the T.I.C. Group 8 years ago and has been working hard to keep the company authentic as well as fresh and modern. In this episode, we will discuss why Sakura decided to work for his father, challenges she faces in managing the diverse collection of Japanese restaurants, what is happening in the Japanese food culture in NYC, how she is coping with the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and much, much more!                                                       

Meant to Be Eaten Episode 51: Mark Padoongpatt On The Rise Of Asian-Dominated Suburban Neighborhoods: Mark Padoongpatt has written on Thai-American foodways, Asian-American Suburbia, and is currently researching the history of Asian restaurant health inspections in the United States. Coral and Mark discuss the history of Asian migration to the suburbs, the impact of Asian-dominated strip malls, and who these public spaces really serve. He is a professor of Asian American Studies at University of Nevada Las Vegas. Look out for Mark’s forthcoming podcast on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Las Vegas, called “Neon Pacific!”

Eat Your Words Episode 375: Aloha Kitchen: To kick off the spring/summer season of Heritage Radio Network, Cathy calls up Alana Kysar, author of Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai'i. Alana is a food blogger who was born and raised in Hawai'i, and grew homesick for the food of her home state the minute she left for college. Alana shares her initial fears of writing a cookbook that attempts to explain the cuisine of her home comprehensively, and how she wanted to convey a sense of "aloha," a guiding principle of friendliness and acceptance of ideas, through it. In this episode, she shares insights on why Spam is beloved, why pineapples do not immediately make a dish Hawaiian, what makes poke so good, and much more.                                                                                                                  

Feast Meets West Episode 69: Asian Women Founded Coffee & Tea Movements: We chat with two badass Asian female founders: Sahra Nguyen of Nguyen Coffee Supply and Ranmu Xue of Us Two Tea. Not only have they built their own brands, and run their own businesses, they’ve also personally sourced their products from farms in Asia, and are growing their respective movements to change the perception of Vietnamese coffee and Chinese tea drinking culture here in the States.                                                                                                                                  

Meant to be Eaten Episode 52: Sarita See on the Lasting Effects of Colonialism, and How to Critique Diasporic Art: Sarita See is author of The Decolonized Eye and The Filipino Primitive, Media and Cultural Studies professor at UC Riverside, and founder of the online exhibition space, Center for Art and Thought. We discuss the complicated history of colonization in the Philippines (and lasting effects on the diaspora), Edward Said's orientalism, Karl Marx's primitive accumulation, the importance of curation in a digital (trash) age, and how to criticize Asian diasporic art as a member of the Asian diaspora.                                                                                                                                       

All in the Industry Episode 271: Maneet Chauhan, Morph Hospitality Group: Shari Bayer's guest is Maneet Chauhan, a James Beard Award-winning chef, television personality, author, and the founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, TN. Maneet's celebrated restaurant concepts include Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tànsuǒ, The Mockingbird and Chaatable, and have been featured in publications, including Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Prior to becoming an executive chef and judge on Food Network's Chopped, Maneet worked in some of the finest hotels in her native India before the start of her professional career in the States. In her new cookbook, Chaat, Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India, co-written with Jody Eddy, Maneet explores some of India's most iconic, delicious, and fun-to-eat foods coming from and inspired by her discoveries during an epic cross-country railway journey that brought her to local markets, street vendors, and the homes of family and friends.

Feast Meets West Episode 79: Deep Dive Into Vietnam Ft. Bolero: We chat with Matt Le-Khac and Jimmy Tran of Bolero. Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bolero features a hyper-seasonal menu that emphasizes the rare fresh herbs that form the foundation of Vietnamese cuisine — sourced from Matt’s family farm and showcased in the restaurant’s Vietnamese Tea Garden. The Bolero team will use the Northeast Corridor to bring awareness to lost traditions.                                                                                                                                                                       

The Food Seen Episode 407: Maangchi!: The magnanimous Maangchi, aka “Hammer,” née Emily Kim, is a Korean food YouTube superstar. Her personal style, and style of cooking show, has been welcomed into the homes of over 3 million subscribers and countless more Maangchi fans. Now, her second book, Maangchi's Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine, expands on recipes like banchan, the side dishes that are cornerstone to Korean cuisine, and dosirak, the traditional lunch boxes Maangchi and her family grew up eating. Whether you have an H-Mart nearby or not and wonder what to do with all the marvelously dried pantry ingredients in this book, Maangchi is here to guide you through rice cake soup for New Year’s Day (seollal), or steamed rice cakes for the Harvest Moon Festival (chuseok). Whatever the celebration, make yours Maangchi-ed!

Feast Meets West: Episode 64: The Evolution of Chinatown: Elaine Chen of The New York Times and Wilson Tang of Nom Wah Tea Parlor join us to talk about the evolution of Chinatown -- one of the few historic immigrant working class neighborhoods left in Manhattan. We dive into Elaine’s experience writing her Times article “As Manhattan’s Chinatown Changes, Food Vendors Keep a Bit of the Old with the New,” Wilson’s experience running the iconic Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, and we discuss the broader cultural trends of a changing neighborhood. We attempt to get to the essence of what makes Chinatown, Chinatown.

Eat Your Words Episode 377: Indian-Ish with Priya Kirshna: Cathy invites Priya Krishna to the studio for a chat about her latest book, Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from A Modern American Family, which she co-wrote with her mother, Ritu Krishna. Priya cuts to the chase about why her mom's cooking is considered American, and why this cookbook should be seen as an American rather than Indian cookbook. She also shares some background stories on the making of many of her mom's classic dishes, like roti pizza, impossibly fluffy pancakes using Bisquick and no eggs, and endive cups with minced tofu inspired by an appetizer at P.F. Chang's.

Food Without Borders Episode 54: Chef Henry Trieu of Falansai Vietnamese Kitchen: We’re joined by Saigon-born Henry Trieu, chef and founder of Falansai. Henry came to the US as a refugee and worked in restaurants spanning French, Chinese, & Vietnamese cuisine before opening Falansai in Bushwick, where he makes globally-influenced Vietnamese street food under a name that carries its own special meaning.



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