Last Updated on May 16, 2022
We love celebrating food cultures from around the world here at ButcherBox. There might not be another area of the world that has influenced our current culinary experiences and moment more than Asia and the Pacific Islands.
From the development of agriculture, livestock management, and other vital innovations in human food history to the experimentation with flavors and techniques that are now recreated globally, food cultures in Southeast Asia, Japan, China, Korea, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Polynesia, Malaysia, and so many more regions are responsible for what we consider to be the some of the highest-quality, most flavorful food today.
In America, these foodways have influenced our food culture in innumerable ways. Much of the growth of Asian and Pacific Island foods has started in the West, as immigrants from early Chinese and Japanese workers to Vietnamese refugees came to America for various reasons. In places like California and Washington, these Asian and Pacific Island groups tried to recreate the tastes of their homelands. The result has been a steady expansion in restaurants, cookbooks, recipes, and more that have come to define the American culinary experience in the twenty-first century.
To celebrate Asian America and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), we wanted to share some of our past stories highlighting those continuing these traditions as well as those taking them further. You’ll also find some of our favorite AAPI-inspired recipes that we’ve published over the years in Just Cook to try at home.
Profiles of Authors and Chefs
Some amazing chefs continue to promote the food they grew up eating or were introduced to at early ages. Check out Betty Liu and her great cookbook, My Shanghai, or find out how chef Tara Monsod is infusing the Filipino cooking of her childhood into her L.A. restaurant.
But if you want to try a potentially award-winning recipe, give Chef Angel Barretto’s Ssam Board recipe a try using ButcherBox flank steak. Barretto, whose parents were both in the military and fell in love with Korean cuisine while stationed in the country, was recently nominated for the prestigious 2022 James Beard Awards as one of the country’s top emerging chefs for his work at Washington, D.C.-based Anju.
Check out the book or just try the Pork-Stuffed Fried Dough recipe that is featured in the cookbook.
Tara Monsod’s Lemongrass Grilled Chicken—inspired by a trip to Thailand.
We love this profile of L.A. chef Tara Monsod. But the real treat here is the grilled cod recipe.
Like we mentioned above, Chef Barreto is up for this year’s “Emerging Chef” and “Best Chef – Mid Atlantic” James Beard Awards.
If you can’t make it to Anju in D.C., you can make this Ssam Board recipe at home to see why his cooking is genuinely praise-worthy.
Bonus: Our Favorite Story from Up-and-Coming Writer Jess Eng
We have been lucky to have young writer Jess Eng write for us from time to time. The San Francisco-based, Chinese American writer will soon be plying her trade for “The Washington Post.” We wanted to share our favorite piece she wrote on the Chinese influence on a very San Francisco approach to Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Feasts Are Better with a Cantonese Roast Turkey.
Some Amazing Recipes to Try at Home To Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month
Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by making some of these delicious recipes in your own kitchen.
- Homemade Chinese Noodle Soup and Bone Broth
- Hainanese Chicken and Rice for Lunar New Year
- Chicken Congee Rice Porridge with Lunar New Year Chicken
- Cabbage and Pork Meatball Soup
- Lion’s Head Meatballs – Winner of a recent ButcherBox member recipe submission contest
While these recipes aren’t necessarily a traditional part of the cultures from which they trace their roots, these Asian-fusion recipes show an appreciation for the flavors and foodways from which they derive.
- Spicy Curry Sausage (Thai Influence)
- Green Curry Lobster Stew (Indian/East Asian Influence)
- Pineapple Pork Noodle Bowl
- Sesame Salmon Soba Noodle Bowl
- Spicy Curried Ground Turkey with Coconut Milk
- Chicken Larb Gai
For More on AAPI Foodways
The Smithsonian Institute is running a program, Culinasia: The Future of Asian Food in America, all month highlighting Asian and Pacific Islands food culture in America. Here are a few offerings to check out to learn more about the topics important to the future of the leading voices of AAPI foodways in the country:
Southeast Asia Got Something to Say on Wednesday, May 19th. The focus of this discussion among Southeast Asian restauranteurs and chefs is about how they are surviving during the current moment, facing both the pandemic and the rise in anti-Asian racism.
“Fast, Casual, Ethnic”: Asian Food Beyond Misnomers and Myths on Wednesday, June 9th. This talk is about the myths that persist about ethnic foods in America, especially food from Asian culinary traditions.