Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise and Triumph

I know that this is an old article, but it’s fricking amazing so I’m sharing it

I don’t really have much else to say because I just feel it really does a good job of encapsulating the Asian-American experience. Food means a lot to me and my family, and we truly do feel that you can feel a lot of culture through it. This article did a great job not only elaborating that point, but also connecting the dual-culture thing to the food aspect in a way that I hadn’t really seen before. Sure, everyone’s heard of the lunchbox moment, but godDAMN I had never made these connections before.

Some observations:
It starts off with 1000 year old egg lol. As part of a 19-course $285 meal??? You’re kidding me – I can buy a box of 4 for $5

Indeed, if the cuisine can be said to have revolutionized American food, it’s by introducing unfamiliar mouth feels – crackle where one doesn’t expect it, slime in a country that’s always shied away from that sensation – into our culinary vocabulary

I find this quote incredibly interesting because that’s the one thing that James says that he’s been learning the most about appreciating Asian food – the “weird” textures. I thought this was a really weird thing to nitpick on, so I extremely appreciate the author highlighting this was what white people found strange

It’s the eternal plea of the minority, to ask to be judged not by one’s appearance or the rituals of one’s forbears but for the quality of one’s mind and powers of invention

I also find this quote interesting just because I’ve had a lot of conversations recently about just pleading to be understood – regardless of race or whatever, just the minority of the one being unrecognized by the many.

Some other good quotes

we believe in the promise of America, that if you work hard, you can become anyone. If you try hard enough, you might even be mistaken for white.

“I wouldn’t call myself ‘fusion,'” said Maiko Kyogoku, the owner of the idiosyncratic Bessou in New York. “To describe food that way? It’s an extension of myself.”

Instead of a historical matrix of Asian culinary traditions, “young cooks just see a big pantry,” Fukushima said. “Take a little bit of this, a little bit of that – there’s no soul to it.”

“I had someone come in and say, ‘Where’s the big Buddha head?'” she said. When publications request recipes and she submits one without Asian ingredients, the response is often, “We were really hoping for something Asian” – or Asian-ish: Anything with soy, apparently, will do. “I send in Japanese, which isn’t even my background, but that works,” she said.

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