Some of my earliest childhood memories are of walking into a Chinese-American church with my family every Sunday, my mom always steps ahead of us toting the liang mian she woke up early to make. All the kids, myself included, would whine about how boring it all was, but my parents insisted we attend. I still remember that the church service and post-service potluck were the only times in white suburban Pennsylvania where everyone in one space looked (and cooked!) like us. And as an adult now, I can see that as outsiders who were new to the country, my first-generation immigrant parents (who weren’t even all that religious) dragged us to that church each week to find and build their community through gathering, and more importantly, through food. That’s why I’m so excited we’re turning our blog over this month to creators, home-cooks, and host extraordinaire Pearl Banjurtrungkajorn, Maryah Ananda, and Jessica Chan. They were generous enough to share their own experiences and perspectives (and some seriously tasty recipes), all in celebration of the unique bonding power of food within the AAPI community. Let’s get cooking! – Leaya from the Our Place team


 

Growing up with extended family in Bangkok, Pearl recalls that food was always made with the intention of sharing with others, including her favourite dessert, pandan coconut jelly

We werenʼt superfluous with our spending, but when it came to food, we were abundant…sharing food was how we showed our care for one another; sharing was our unspoken love language. In the recipes that my mom sends me, such as the one for our signature pandan coconut jelly that Iʼve recreated here, the servings are always defaulted to be made for ten or more people.”
—Pearl Banjurtrungkajorn

 

Maryah draws recipe inspiration from nostalgic tastes and smells, reimagining them with fun, unexpected twists, like her vegan-ish laab bao buns

It has the classic herby, fresh flavors of laab but in a fun, fluffy context (as usually itʼs eaten with lettuce wraps). It was a bit tricky at first because the filling has a crumbly texture but once we got it down it was so delicious!”
—Maryah Ananda

 

One of Jessica’s earliest food memories is of going to Korean Chinese restaurants with her parents and sharing a bowl of jjajangmyeon with her mom. These days, she puts her own spicy spin on the dish…

One of Jessica’s earliest food memories is of going to Korean Chinese restaurants with her parents and sharing a bowl of jjajangmyeon with her mom. These days, she puts her own spicy spin on the dish…
—Jessica Chan

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