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News: First Asian-American to Head an Ivy League

Dartmouth College named Harvard medical anthropologist Dr. Jim Yong Kim as its 17th president today, making the Korean-born physician the first Asian-American to head an Ivy League school. Click here for full article at The Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/03/dartmouth_taps.html











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#143 Managing Restaurants (ft. Professor Chen)

Posted July 20th, 2015 by Peter · No Comments

This week, SAPL is extremely excited to feature UCI Professor Yong Chen, who is the star of an upcoming episode of “California Matters with Mark Bittman” on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 (CA Food Matters). Professor Chen is the author of “Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America,” which details the rise of Chinese food as a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship and perseverance.

via OC Register

In “Chop Suey’s Next Wave,” we learn a great deal about the storied history of urban “food towns” like those in Los Angeles, Westminster, San Francisco, Houston, and New York. While strolling through Los Angeles, Yong talks about everything from the past century of Asian food in America, including the current wave of Chinese cuisine. It’s a must watch if you want to learn about #10 Boba, stinky tofu (coming soon), and all of those colorful Taiwanese cafés out there!

It’s also very encouraging to see more Asian representation in the media– with John Cho’s #Selfie and ABC’s hit series “Fresh off the Boat” leading the way. For example, Louis Huang (played by Randall Park) runs a texas-style restaurant called Cattleman’s Ranch. In search of the “American Dream,” FOTB’s satirical and sometimes gut-wrenchingly true(ish) accounts got us thinking about why for over 150 years, Asians have been opening and managing their own restaurants. We asked Professor Chen for his views about the almost 40,000 Chinese restaurants in America– outnumbering McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King combined! Without further adieu:

1. When did the first Chinese restaurants open in the United States?
At the end of the 1840s.  In 1849 there were three of them in San Francisco.

2. Who ran these restaurants? Where were they located? How were they funded?
Chinese owners ran these establishments.  They were in San Francisco, and were clearly funded by the Chinese owners themselves.

via http://www.sanfranciscodays.com/

3. What were some trials and tribulations for Asian restaurant owners in the beginning?
Fires.  Some establishments were damaged in fires. Racism was another difficulty that the restaurants faced. Initially, they were also frequented by non-Chinese customers but soon the non-Chinese clientele disappeared as anti-Chinese sentiments intensified.

4. What are some trials and tribulations they have today?
How to climb up in the gastronomical hierarchy of America. For the most part, Chinese food has remained at the lower end of that hierarchy for more than a century.  Many restaurants have relied on the hard work of family members, relatives and friends.

5. Are restaurants a lucrative endeavor? What are immigrant populations’ motivations for opening restaurants?
Some owners made money.  But that was often the result of a lot of sacrifice and hard work.  For Chinese restaurants to become a lucrative business, they must turn Chinese food into a fine dining cuisine.  Many immigrants, Chinese and non-Chinese, have chosen to open a small restaurant as a way to make a living because the threshold to do so is generally not very high in terms of money, skills, and education.

6. Is Chinese food in America authentic?
This depends on who you ask and where you are.  People from China, especially visitors or newcomers, would say that the food they found in restaurants located in non-Chinese neighborhoods is not authentic. Longstanding non-Chinese diners in old-style Chinese restaurants located in non-Chinese communities, however, would find the food in China not matching their idea of authentic Chinese food. Increasingly in recent years, restaurants in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China have opened branches in the United States, offering fabulous Chinese food.

What are some examples of real authentic Chinese food you would like to see in a restaurant?
Local foods from different regions of China; a growing number of them are not found in Chinese communities across the country, from Flushing, New York to Monterey Park in California. I would love to see more local foods from gastronomically less famous regions become available in America’s Chinese restaurants such as reganmian or hot-dry-noodles and doupi, namely, a pan cake made with a variety of stuffings wrapped in pan-fried tofu skins.

via http://chinaexpat.com/ (reganmian)

7. What are your favorite Chinese Dishes? What are your favorite non-Chinese dishes?
There are many of them in both categories. Among the the countless Chinese dishes that I love are as follows:
1. a famous dish from Fujian Province called “buddha jumps over the wall”, which is made with fowl and over ten best kinds of seafood such as abalone in a broth contained in earthen jar.

2. American diners are familiar with Cantonese and Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine.  Although it is relatively less known in America, Huaiyang is one of the oldest and finest regional cuisines of China , known for the exquisite craftsmanship in preparation and delicate and artful combination of ingredients.  Even simple fried dishes can be an unforgettable experience.  Lovers of Chinese ought to visit the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, the birth of Huaiyang cuisine.

3. Among the many non-Chinese dishes, I love paella, jambalaya, and bibimbap kaiseki is not a singular dish but a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.  Such a dinner prepared by a fine chef can be a trip to gastronomical paradise.

8. What do you see as the next frontier for Chinese entrepreneurs?
There are frontiers:
- First: Bold fusion, artistic presentation, and impeccable service.
- Second, streamline and simplify the food on the menu, and franchise.

We would like to thank Professor Chen for taking the time to answer our 8 questions (Check out #88 Numbers (8-8-08) if you don’t know why we chose this number). It’s very important to learn about the past to understand and predict the future.

Stay Classy!
-Peter.

 

Yong Chen is a history professor in UC Irvine’s school of humanities. His research interests include food, Asian-American history, immigration History, and  China-U.S. economic and cultural interactions.

For More Information about CA Food Matters: 
- New episodes of our web series “California Matters with Mark Bittman” launch on KCET.org/CAFoodMatters every other Tuesday 
- The ten part web series will culminate in a television broadcast special airing on KCET in Southern California this fall. 
-Series Summary: “California Matters with Mark Bittman” is an online series that explores the world of food, sustainable agriculture, policy and health through the lens of the University of California.  
-Mark Bittman Bio: Cookbook author and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman has come west to explore California and the food that’s grown and made here. In this 10-part series he’ll visit oyster farms in Northern California, Chinese restaurants in Southern California, and farmers in the Central Valley, stopping at points in between to talk to urban foragers and kids eating school lunches, among others. 
-To learn more, please visit kcet.org/CAFoodMatters. Join the conversation on social media using #CAMatters











→ No CommentsTags: Activities · Culture · Customs · Environment · Food & Beverage · Fruits · History · People · Products · Relationships

#142 “Lindorsements” (Being Linteresting)

Posted October 2nd, 2014 by Peter · 1 Comment

We just got a hold of Jeremy Lin’s “Lindorsements” (Linteresting) video by the guys at Wong Fu Productions! The video features Jeremy Lin and the usual cast at various locations around SoCal like Ten Ren Tea. We first wrote about #135 Jeremy Lin in 2010, and his star has been shining brighter and brighter every year. We’re so proud of his incredible worth ethic and faith that everything will work out. Welcome to the Lakers, Jeremy! Here’s to more endorsements in the near future (and philanthropy too).

“when he goes on a juice cleanse– he gains 10 lbs… of muscle.”
“i don’t always drink boba, but when I do– I use a buy one get 1 free coupon”
“my name is jeremy lin, and I love puppies”

“I’ll be Nash..”
Nash: No, I’ll be Nash.

What are your favorite quotes? Comment below =)

—–

Directed by Wong Fu Productions: http://youtube.com/wongfuproductions

Producers
Christine Chen & Josh Fan

Written by
Jeremy Lin & Wong Fu Productions

Featuring
Jeremy Lin http://youtube.com/thejlin7 @Jlin7
King Bach http://youtube.com/BachelorsPadTv @KingBach
Philip Wang http://youtube.com/wongfuproductions @wongfupro
Megan Batoon http://youtube.com/Meganbatoon @meganbatoon
Joanna Sotomura http://twitter.com/joannasotomura @joannasotomura
Cici Lau http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1017246/
Steve Nash http://twitter.com/stevenash

→ 1 CommentTags: Activities · Asian Hotspot · AsianInvasion! · Culture · Films and Movies · Food & Beverage · Games · Jeremy Lin · People · Products · Sports

#141 – The Colbert Report / Conan O’Brien Show

Posted January 23rd, 2014 by Peter · 3 Comments

I recently came across a hilarious article by the Atlantic about how another Chinese production studio has copied verbatim a United States intro sequence. This one is about the Colbert Report, and it’s among the best we’ve ever seen.

BEIJING — He may be an award-winning satirist in the United States, but in China, even Stephen Colbert is not beyond parody: A provincial TV channel in the country has produced a show that borrows rather liberally from the popular American program.

The Banquet, broadcast on Ningxia Satellite TV, lifted the entire opening credits and other graphics from The Colbert Report. Everything from the host’s entrance—flying down the screen as English words buzz past—to the star-spangled background is mimicked, and even the show’s theme music, the guitar riff from “Baby Mumbles” by Cheap Trick, is reproduced note for note.

When Chinese TV Rips Off The Colbert Report– http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/when-chinese-tv-rips-off-em-the-colbert-report-em/283209/

Earlier this year, Conan O’Brien had a heartwarming response to a Chinese copycat of his program, even re-designing and providing them with a new introduction for their show!

 

Youku video for those in China after the jump. Previously: Conan calls out Da Peng, Da Peng responds.

 

→ 3 CommentsTags: People

#140 Linsanity (The Movie)

Posted January 2nd, 2014 by Peter · No Comments

Synopsis: In February 2012, an entire nation of basketball fans unexpectedly went ‘Linsane.’ Stuck in the mire of a disappointing season, the New York Knicks did what no other NBA team had thought about doing. They gave backup point guard Jeremy Lin an opportunity to prove himself. He took full advantage, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy in the process.  Linsanity is a moving and inspirational portrait of Jeremy Lin.  It chronicles his path to international stardom, the adversities he faced along the way, his struggles to overcome stereotypes and how he drew strength from his faith, family and culture.

Available on DVD: January 7, 2014 

 

Director: Evan Leong
Cast:  Narrator Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-0), Ming Yao, Jeremy Lin
Running Time: 88 Minutes

Rated: PG for some thematic elements and language.
Genre: Documentary
Aspect Ratio: 2.40
Audio Format: DD5.1
UPC#: 796019827485
SRP: $20.99

→ No CommentsTags: People



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