WHO AM I?
I’m an ethnically ambiguous 1/2 Vietnamese 1/2 Caucasian American. Having a mother who was born and raised in Vietnam has fueled my curiosity for Everything Asian. There is such a huge cultural gap and if I look back now it’s like two worlds converging…almost. But being bi-racial definitely has its perks. Depending on the situation I have a choice to be one or the other…of course I choose the one that will benefit me the most at that given moment. I don’t feel weird taking 15 empty plastic bags from the Target check out and shoving them into my one bag I purchased because hey, that’s what Asians do. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of uses for plastic bags. I can wear one purple sock and one green sock with my orange shorts and a pair of white pumps and it’s expected. Another perk is that people automatically assume I’m smart….this can be good or bad! Then of course there are disadvantages to biracialism …Am I catholic or am I Buddhist? Is it okay that I don’t know how to play the violin? Why wasn’t I good at math? Why am I the only Asian on the streets of LA who truly is a good driver? And most importantly why do I feel like I need to own a nail salon even though I don’t do nails?
Cooking is my passion!!!! My mom and I have been cooking in the kitchen together for years. I’ve always had an interest in the cuisine and culture of Vietnam but it became a full-fledged obsession when my mom felt it was a good idea for me to learn how to create her food in the event that, if she were not around, I would know how to make her healthy & yummy cuisine. Otherwise I would never eat Vietnamese food again, except for rice paper (rice paper is to Asians what a tortilla is to hispanics) unless I went to a restaurant. Cooking your own food is all about being self sufficient and everyone knows no ones cooking is better than mom’s home cooking, no matter what nationality you are.
Our kitchen time together allowed us to create the dishes she learned growing up in Vietnam. I feel that my true understanding of Vietnamese ingredients came with I traveled to Vietnam with my mom which allowed me to experience Vietnamese cuisine firsthand. The variety of fresh ingredients at the street markets and on the water-boats was amazing. One thing to always remember when visiting a third world county…EVERYTHING IS FREE GAME. Here’s a tip….do not befriend an animal. I thought I would take a chicken home as my pet for the duration of my stay, well the next day my friendly chickens head popped up in the dinner soup. I showed my rebellious side by not eating the soup. None of our meals were Americanized, which I was extremely happy about. My stomach on the other hand took some time to get used to the new flavors. In my opinion adjusting an authentic recipe not only takes away the flavor but doesn’t allow you to truly appreciate or experience the true ingredients indicative to a particular area. I’m finding that the more knowledgeable I become with ingredients and cooking styles the higher my expectations are when I go out to eat at other restaurants and when I’m cooking for family and friends. My palate has definitely become more sophisticated.
I created EATINASIAN because I wanted to share my knowledge of Asian food. EA now has guest bloggers that write about their own experiences with the Asian culture, great restaurant reviews, how to videos and basically a melting pot for people interested in Asian cuisine and culture. It really has become a first hand look into a culture that simple put, can be a bit misunderstood.
If you have a burning question about the Asian culture, a favorite restaurant, a fabulous cooking tip…let me know and we’ll put it on the site.