Top Asian Comfort Foods

When we think comfort food, most of us revert back to the dishes our moms made us. Here, we salivate over home cooking-from-another-mother. 

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PORK ADOBO BY CHEF CHARLEEN CAABAY, KAINBIGAN 
by Kristine Ortiz.

In the Asian food scene, Filipino food is like that last person picked for the dodge ball team: under-recognized and little appreciated. Despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian ethnicity group in the United States today, the culinary landscape has yet to reflect its ever-growing population. Even in the Bay Area, an area home to some of the highest concentrations of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, there are only pockets of Filipino food wastelands.

This is where chef Charleen Caabay of Oakland’s Kainbigan comes in. She started out cooking pinoy food for friends, and after seeing the lack of Filipino culinary offerings in the region, she opened her restaurant this past August. “As diverse as Oakland is,” says Caabay, “they don’t have enough Filipino food.”

With a name that means “Let’s eat, my friends” (in Tagalog, pagkain means food, kaibigan means friend) and a straightforward, stick-to-your-ribs menu, Kainbigan is not one of those places with too-fancy offerings and sky-high prices. Rather, the restaurant specializes in home-cooked, straight-from-the-heart Filipino food, which is characterized by its salty, sour and sweet flavors and Chinese and Spanish influence, remnants of the country’s trade and colonial histories. Take the adobo, arguably the national dish of the Philippines. Meat is marinated and cooked in a blend of soy sauce and vinegar alongside black pepper, bay leaves and garlic. While the chicken adobo (the most common and recognizable version) is absolutely delicious, Caabay is most proud of her Pork Adobo. It may seem like a simple marinade, but “the way it’s cooked and how long you braise it for — when it’s cooked for just long enough, the taste is amazing,” says Caabay. Served in a wooden bowl atop a heaping cloud of white rice, meant to soak up the expertly balanced sauce, the adobo is comfort food 101, filling you up in the most delicious way possible through a flavor profile that is as complex as it is appetizing.

Another standout item at Kainbigan is Caabay’s own unique creation, Crispy Chicken Adobo over Garlic Noodles, an interesting take on pancit, another Filipino food staple. Instead of the typical rice noodle, Caabay opts for an egg noodle, the chef’s personal favorite, which is combined with the flavorful house garlic sauce and topped with bits of crispy adobo. “I think that’s one of my best dishes because I created it here, and it has a little bit of everything,” she says with a smile. It may not be your typically dry pancit, but the flavor profile of the Garlic Noodles is purely pinoy.

Caabay’s passion for traditional Filipino culture is something she wants to share through the meals she serves. “If you were at home, this would be how mom or lola [grandma] would make it,” she says. And her challenge to potential diners? “Come with an open mind and a big appetite, and I can guarantee that you’ll leave here feeling good.”

 

 

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PHO BY CHEF KIMMY TANG, 9021PHO
by Anna M. Park.

When it comes to comfort food, chef Kimmy Tang knows a thing or two — as owner and chef of 9021Pho in Beverly Hills, Calif., her whole career revolves around hers, the Vietnamese noodle soup known as pho. “Pho is like your breakfast,” she says, “very nutri- tious and energetic. It sets your energy for the rest of the day.” In addition to traditional beef pho and chicken pho, Tang offers a spicy pho that is reminiscent of the southern style of pho she loved in her native Saigon. “Northern Vietnamese cuisine is often less spicy and is not bold in any particular taste,” she explains. “Southern Vietnamese cuisine is often vibrant, flavorful and sweeter than other regions.” Either way, what makes pho is the broth, and for Tang, “the broth is a labor of love. It’s cooked slow for a long period of time, about eight hours.” She also carefully selects lean, high quality meats and offers reduced fat and low-carb versions to cater to the local clientele.

Surrounded by pho day in and day out, does Tang ever tire of pho? Apparently not. “I get my [serving of] daily vitamins with small portions of pho throughout the day,” says Tang. “The concentrated broth is full of vitamins and nutrients and gives me a nice dose of energy, the healthy way.”

 

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CAMBODIAN SOUPS
by Kanara Ty.

When people want comfort food, some may reach for a calming chicken soup or greasy fried chicken. I turn to Cambodian food. I crave things that pack a lot of flavor, and Cambodian cuisine incorporates a lot of spices (often made into a spice blend known as kroeung). And with cold weather around the corner, I know I’ll want a particular kind of Cambodian comfort food: the hearty soups.

During the winter in any Cambodian American household, hearty soups are always on rotation for any meal of the day, with plenty to go around for everyone (including our neighbors, who also make more than enough food). Noodle soups (like kuyteav) and rice porridge (babor) make for popular breakfast dishes, while sour soup dishes
like somlaw machu kroeung, which incorporates ingredients like kroeung paste, turmeric, morning glory, coriander, stewed beef ribs and tripe, make for a great main dinner course. Another popular dish is somlaw machu youen, which incorporates fish, shrimp, pineapple, tomatoes and the celery-like bac hà in a tamarind-flavored broth.

For me, the one soup that represents the epitome of Cambodian comfort food is the national dish somlaw koko (Cambodian ratatouille). It’s perfect for anyone who likes to savor the discovery of various ingredients in a complex dish. With your first sip, you’ll be overwhelmed by the layers of contrasting flavors and textures of lemongrass-based kroeung paste, prahok (fermented fish paste), palm sugar, ground toasted rice, assorted veggies (including kabocha and Thai eggplants), and meat (most Cambodians prefer pork spareribs cut into bite-sized pieces). I also eat the soup with a side dish of fish sauce (chopped with Thai chilies) and serve it over rice — the perfect way to enjoy the ultimate Cambodian comfort food.

Dying to try somlaw koko? Check out elephantwalk.com for recipes, or Sophy’s in Long Beach, Calif. (sophysthailongbeach.com).


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SOUP DUMPLINGS, DIN TAI FUNG
by Anna M. Park.

Mention soup dumplings as gourmet fare, and one immediately thinks of Din Tai Fung. The Michelin-star Taiwanese restaurant that sparked a million lines around the world (there are more than 80 locations globally) has just opened its fourth U.S. branch at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. Go for their Juicy Pork Dumplings, which burst with flavorful soup in your mouth. Just make sure to do it the proper way: make your dipping sauce 80-20 vinegar to soy sauce, cool the dumpling in the sauce, and then eat whole (do not bite and do not slurp soup out!). unless, of course, you’re having their coveted Truffle Dumplings, normally reserved for dignitaries and exclusive to The Americana branch — that you eat straight out of the bamboo steamer.

 


This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

 

Yoko Ono Writes Letter to Japanese Fishermen for Killing Dolphins

Story by Taylor Weik.

Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, peace activist and widow of Beatle John Lennon, wrote a letter to the Japanese fishermen of Taiji, who on Tuesday continued their controversial annual capture-and-kill of bottlenose dolphins.

Taiji, a rural whaling town in Japan, has been the focus of controversy recently for their infamous annual dolphin drive hunt, which takes place every year from September to April. Drive hunting involves corralling dolphins into coves, where they can be cornered and trapped, or killed. The practice has been highlighted in the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove,” which depicts graphic scenes of slowly dying dolphins and blood-stained ships and waters.

250 dolphins were driven into Taiji’s “killing cove” on Thursday, where they spent four days in a selection process. 52 dolphins were sold to marine parks and aquariums, while 40 more were slaughtered and sold to butchers. It is unclear what the fishermen plan to do with the rest of the corralled dolphins.

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Ono voiced her opposition in a letter addressed to the Taiji fishermen on her website she shared with Lennon, Imagine Peace. In the letter, she pleads for the fishermen to think of the reputation of their country, and how killing dolphins will only portray Japan as a country of violence.

“I am sure that it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country,” Ono writes. “The future of Japan and its safety depends on many situations, but what you do with Dolphins now can create a very bad relationship with the whole world.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the practice during a news conference in Tokyo, stating that dolphin fishing “is a form of traditional fishing in our country.”

Must-Read: ‘THE LOWLAND’ BY JHUMPA LAHIRI

Story by Taylor Weik. 

It’s in the very first chapter that the title is mentioned. Near a country club built for the wealthy British in the locality of Tollygunge, India, there dwell two ponds side by side, separated by a lowland. Sometimes, when monsoons strike, the ponds rise in level so that they appear as one body.

In just a few short paragraphs, Jhumpa Lahiri uses her sharp observations of the plains of India to lay out her plot and describe the relationship between two of her characters, even before she’s introduced them.

In her long-awaited second novel, Lahiri — winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories — decides to take a more political route without straying from her signature lyrical style. Like her other works, The Lowland is a family saga that starts with the perspective of one and then jumps from family member to family member as they live out their lives.

The story focuses on two brothers, Subhash and Udayan Mitra, who grow up in 1960s Calcutta during the Communist Movement that has found its way to West Bengal. Though the brothers are exceptionally close and are often seen by their own parents as one person, the impulsive Udayan gets swept up in the Naxalite cause, a militant Maoist group, while the more reserved Subhash buries himself in his studies and leaves India for the quiet countryside of Rhode Island. However, it is Subhash who must later return to India to pick up the fragments of devastation that Udayan has left in his wake, actions that have altered his family in inexplicable ways.

The eight-part, 340-page novel is not as light as Lahiri’s other works. Not only does it dive straight into the complexities of each character — of how Subhash, Udayan’s wife Gauri and their mother each react to Udayan’s death, all while documenting the life of Udayan and Gauri’s daughter from the moment of her birth — but it also attempts to squeeze in decades worth of historical information regarding the Maoist movement in India. It’s a lot to take in when reading, especially when the point of view can change in an instant from Subhash’s ignorance of the violence in India to Gauri’s ultimate knowledge as Udayan’s confidant.

Though Lahiri sets the book in a little-known time in history, she still manages to make her characters relatable. Gauri, who is arguably the most controversial character in the book, fails to be a strong, inspirational widow after her husband’s death and thus illustrates that not everyone comes out of a tragedy in good health.

“That’s the enormous power of literature, that you can write out of such a specific place, and yet it’s really about entering into other peoples’ consciousness,” Lahiri explained in an interview with The New Yorker. “We’re less divided than we think we are. In the end, the stories become universal.”

Though the first half is packed with political commentary, the second half of The Lowland is where Lahiri’s incredible attention to the details of her characters’ lives comes in, and it’s where the reader can fully immerse herself in the fluid storytelling Lahiri is known for. The novel is a departure from Lahiri’s other works, to be sure, but it’s still one that continues to explore not just Indian American life but the human experience itself. Details Hardcover, $27.95, randomhouse.com.

 

This story was originally published in out Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Golden Globes 2014: Where are all the Asian People?

Story by Taylor Weik. 

As 5 p.m. drew closer and closer this past Sunday, my Tumblr dashboard began filling up with red. High-resolution photos of glamorous celebrities posing in their designer gowns and tuxedos on the red carpet were already making their way to the Internet, and the Golden Globes hadn’t even started.

 

I eagerly browsed the #gg14 tag on Tumblr while simultaneously searching online for a link to stream the red carpet event and the awards show itself. As someone who has spent more money on movie tickets than she’d care to admit and had at one point considered declaring film and media studies as a major, awards season is for me what the Superbowl is for my tailgate party-attending football fanatic friends. For a few hours on those special Sunday nights –– though I may be watching from a dimly lit computer screen and in pajama pants –– I couldn’t be happier.

 

I indulged in red carpet hour as always and watched as the ever-so-chic Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest made their interview rounds. Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Lawrence. Julia Roberts. Bryan Cranston. They came by limo, paused for questions and were swept away for photos. So many familiar faces from my favorite TV shows and movies flashed on the screen, but there were plenty more faces I didn’t see.

 

I could count the number of Asian people I saw on one hand. Little Aubrey Anderson-Emmons from Modern Family pranced around and comedian-actor Aziz Ansari attended (he also was one of three actors who announced the Golden Globe nominees back in December), but otherwise the turnout was discouraging. Phil Yu, founder of the popular Angry Asian Man blog, tweeted “Playing “Asian Spotting” while watching the Golden Globes is like the most boring game ever.”

The lack of Asian American actors, directors and crew members in the entertainment industry is nothing new to us. Browse the list of big movies set to release in 2014 and you won’t see any Asian American actors credited until almost half of the year is over, in May, when Ken Watanabe’s name appears in the new Godzilla reboot.

 

But at least last year at the Golden Globes, we had some representation in the form of successful actors like Lucy Liu, who wowed viewers in her long side braid and iconic floral Carolina Herrera gown on the red carpet. At least last year, Life of Pi was nominated for multiple awards, including Ang Lee for Best Director of a Motion Picture.

 

No one of Asian descent was nominated in the Golden Globes this year –– again, not a big surprise –– but the fact that I didn’t see many Asian people in the red carpet coverage says a lot about who is represented in Hollywood and who is continued to be left out of it.

 

Granted, some Asian Americans were represented in the form of dazzling dresses and six-inch heels. Kerry Washington flaunted her baby bump in a creamy Balenciaga number designed by Alexander Wang, and Jimmy Choo was a popular choice for pumps (Sandra Bullock) and clutches (Taylor Swift). But future awards shows better start recognizing the Rinko Kikuchis and Ken Watanabes out there –– I’m not sure how much longer I can stand having Hollywood equate “Asian American” with only designer bags and shoes.

 

(photo source)

The Reason You Haven’t Heard: Why Mirai Nagasu Deserves to be on Team USA

Nagasu decision not in line with those made for mens, pairs teams

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

You have probably heard by now that Mirai Nagasu, the bronze medalist at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past weekend, was left off of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and World figure skating teams. After all, the monumental decision has been all over the news and radio, covered by media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and CNN. While strangers to the sport might sympathize with Nagasu, they might wonder why the decision is receiving so much press coverage. After all, it’s in the “rulebook.” However, to an insider of figure skating, the decision to leave Nagasu off of the Olympic and World teams sets a dangerous precedent. Through their actions, the USFS committee has made it clear that they can and will operate in a subjective rather than objective manner that jeopardizes the precious virtue of fairness that is supposed to be inherent in athletic competition.

First off, let me explain the reasons why people are angry. Traditionally, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships has been the sole determinant of the Olympic and World teams. In the history of U.S. Figure Skating, the committee has only sent a skater who did not place at nationals to the Olympics and Worlds three times—Todd Eldredge in 1992, Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, and Michelle Kwan in 2006. Why did these three skaters not place at nationals? Because they were not there. All three were injured and missed nationals, filing appeals that were ultimately granted. This year is the first time that a skater has performed poorly at the U.S. Championships and still made it on to the team. Moreover, the generous scores from the judges did not really reflect how poorly Wagner skated. It was clear that the judges were hoping that Wagner, who skated before Nagasu, could still make it onto the podium.

Other fans feel that Polina Edmunds, the fifteen-year-old silver medalist, should have been bumped off the team rather than Nagasu. After all, Edmunds has never competed internationally at the senior level. Given Edmunds’ “body of work,” it is clear that Nagasu, who placed fourth at the previous Olympics, won the bronze medal at the 2013 Rostelecom Cup, and is a three-time national medalist, including a gold medal in 2008, has a much more impressive “body of work.”  Some have gone as far to say that the decision to leave Nagasu off the team was a racial one (she is Japanese, while Edmunds is Russian and Wagner is German). Personally, I think the racial allegations are unfounded.

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However, what got me really mad and what no one else seems to be talking about, is the World and Olympic assignments for the men’s and pairs’ teams. In both situations, the silver medalists were surprises: Jason Brown in the men’s competition and Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay in the pairs’ competition. Despite the relative inexperience of these three skaters, the USFS committee decided to send them to the Olympics. However, these skaters were cut from the World team. Instead, Max Aaron, the 2013 national champion who finished with a bronze medal this year, will represent the U.S in the men’s competition. Likewise, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who won nationals last year but placed third this year, will go to Worlds instead of Zhang and Bartholomay. While I do not necessarily understand or agree with the logic of these decisions, I believe USFS should be consistent. Therefore, following this pattern, Nagasu should be allowed to compete at the Olympics and Wagner should compete at Worlds. The fact that USFS felt it acceptable to take Nagasu off of both the Olympic and World teams, dashing her hopes for a medal at either, is infuriating. Why is Nagasu not being treated with the same respect as Brown or Zhang and Bartholomay? That is a question I cannot answer. While there is a chance that Nagasu may still be able to compete at Worlds (oftentimes, if a skater medals at the Olympics, he/she will withdraw from Worlds), the fact remains that Nagasu received unfair treatment when compared to the decisions made regarding the men’s and pairs’ teams.

I want to make clear that this is not an attack on Ashley Wagner. Wagner is without a doubt one of the best current American figure skaters and, until nationals, she had a remarkable season. She garnered a silver and gold medal at Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard respectively. She entered the competition this weekend as the reigning national champion and the recently crowned bronze medalist of the Grand Prix Final. I empathize with Wagner, who has been forced to sign off of social media due to the influx of hateful posts from supporters of Nagasu. Wagner is, after all, part of the reason why the U.S. can even send three skaters to Sochi (her fifth place finish at Worlds last year helped secure three spots for Team USA).

 

However, the fact remains that U.S. Figure Skating essentially slapped Nagasu in the face. Whether this is because she showed up without a coach or for other reasons, we will probably never know. It was clear to everyone who watched Nagasu’s free skate on Saturday that she had risen to the occasion. The dedicated athlete who had worked so hard to regain ground after two disappointing seasons, the young lady who gasped with joy when she found at she was back on the national podium, the beautiful skater who should be at least going to either Worlds or the Olympics, was reduced to tears on Sunday night during her exhibition program after U.S. Figure Skating, an organization to which she had dedicated her life, stole away her dreams.

HOON LEE: How To Play A Foul-Mouthed, Transvestite Hacking Genius With Aplomb

Story by Paul Nakayama.

It’s hard to imagine, but Hoon Lee, the 39-year-old actor who plays Job, the F-bomb dropping, bald transvestite hacker on Cinemax’s Emmy Award-winning original series Banshee, is the same actor voicing the sagely Master Splinter on Nickelodeon’s hit reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the award-winning stage actor didn’t even plan on an acting career. Instead, the Harvard-educated Lee studied the visual arts and worked in graphic design during the first dot-com bubble.

“I think that all these creative processes cross-pollinate easily,” he says of navigating deftly between designing and acting. “It doesn’t mean that the skill sets required to perform at a higher level are not specific and hard won, but like with romance languages, if you are fluent in one form of creative activity, you have a fighting chance at picking things up quickly in another.”

Lee’s role as the voice behind the iconic Master Splinter is something of a personal passion. The Korean American grew up on comic books and animation and still considers himself a fan. When asked if he’ll use the wise Yoda-like sayings of Master Splinter as a parental tool, Lee laughs and replies, “My son’s a little young for Ninja Turtles, but I’m hoping he’ll get into it. But the cynical side of me thinks that he’ll say, ‘Aw, Dad, that’s so lame.’”

Lee’s other gig on the action drama Banshee, as the loyal criminal associate of ex-con and master thief Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), who assumes the identity of sheriff in the small town of Banshee, Pa., has made him a fan and critic favorite. “Job is a character that is fairly extreme, and I wouldn’t have really pegged that for myself,” admits Lee. “In the casting process, it’s a succinct description of who this character is supposed to be, so it’s sort of an illustration of the intense generalization that happens in show business, which in and of itself is a reflection of greater societal generalizations that happen. But Job being such a strange collection of things — a transvestite, criminal, computer hacker, foul-mouthed diva — you begin to butt up against the inefficiency of the encapsulation of those terms. I find it very interesting because when people react to Job, I begin to see their own mechanisms for understanding who he is.”

In preparing for the role, Lee found that his background in tech helped inform Job’s character. But there was nothing that could help prepare him for the unique wardrobe requirements. “I had to trim down to fit into those leather dresses, and even then I’m strapped in to the busting point,” he laughs.

When asked about playing a unique Asian American character, Lee responds, “That’s tricky for me as an actor because when you choose to identify yourself or a role as Asian American, it kind of grants permission for other people to use that as the primary identifier, and that’s a really difficult balance to strike. Job is of Asian descent because I’m of Asian descent, but in descriptions of him, the race dimension is only one of many.”

Instead, Lee feels there may be a universal message in characters like Job. “What people are hopefully enjoying about him is that he’s somebody that is explicating that search for who he is, and he’s welcoming all the complexities that it means. And that’s something that anyone who has felt on the outside, and that’s most of us, can identify with.”

Banshee returns for a second season on January 10. 

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

How To Keep Things Steamy: More Reason To Stay Inside All Winter Long

Story by Kanara Ty. 

We’ve come up with plenty of ways to keep things steamy with your partner — all the more reason to stay inside all winter long.


boday candy
BODY CANDY
When it comes to sex, we often underestimate the power of foreplay, especially everyday things like kissing. Slow things down a bit with Good Clean Love’s Body Candy. It’s an edible balm that will take the art of kissing to a new dimension. It works with your body’s natural scent and you can use it on your lips or any kissable body part. Even better? It comes in three tasty flavors (Cocoa Mint, Spicy Orange and Vanilla Chai), and it’s vegan, cruelty-free and made with natural ingredients. Details Goodcleanlove.com.

 


kahnoodle
KAHNOODLE
While Kahnoodle was conceived as a mobile app for those in long distance relationships, it’s still a great way to keep things spicy in any relationship. Take the coupons (complete with naughty stick figure drawings) that you can send to each other: “Good for one naked surprise when you come home from work.” And the other fun part of this app? There’s a love tank that you can each fill up as you race to see who makes the better lover. Now that’s some hot competition. Details Free on iTunes, kahnoodle.com.


masque
MASQUE SEXUAL FLAVORS
For women, you either really love performing oral sex … or you don’t. Usually one of the complaints is the, er, taste. Masque Sexual Flavors may help. It’s a paper-thin flavored gel strip (the flavors — strawberry, mango, chocolate and watermelon — are actually quite overpowering) that dissolves in your mouth and purportedly helps to neutralize other tastes. They make for intense make-out sessions, too. Details Yourmasque.com.


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G-VIBE
These days, sex toys are getting more innovative (vibrating condoms, hello!), and I’m always excited to see what new devices are out there. What’s currently hot on my list is the G-Vibe. It may not look like your typical vibrator, but the makers say its design adapts to every woman individually, with two tips to provide simultaneous stimulation inside, including the G-spot — and yes, men can use it, too. Details Funtoys.info.

 


HealthyHooHooProducts
BONUS: HEALTHY HOOHOO
I’ve tried many feminine products, but I’ve never liked any more than Healthy Hoohoo (love the name!). It’s really gentle (no drying or irritating sensation) and removes odor-causing bacteria. Trust me, you’ll love the fresh feeling. And it’s free of glycerin, parabens (according to the company, 99 percent of breast cancer tissue contains parabens!), fragrance and gluten. Details Healthyhoohoo.com.


This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

 

How to “Cut The CRAP” Out of Your Life in 2014

Story by Anna M. Park.

You’ve partied all season, and now you’re bloated, breaking out and just plain blah. Is a detox in order? Is it just a fad? Does it even work? We ask Nona Lim, creator of Nona Lim Delicious Detox, because a detox sounds really good right about now. Start the year right and cut the CRAP (Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol, Processed food).

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Audrey Magazine: Why is it important to detox? How often should we do it?
Nona Lim: Detoxification is a natural process where the body neutralizes and eliminates toxins that have accumulated from stress, food allergens, preservatives, water we drink, medication, skin products and pollution in the environment. When the overall toxic load is more than our liver and kidneys can handle, the accumulation can lead to inflammation and manifest into a variety of health problems. The good news is the body will detox itself if given a break and a helping hand, something Delicious Detox is designed to do.

How often we cleanse would depend on how exposed we are — for example, if you are highly stressed and do not have a clean diet, you may want to detox more often than someone who is already eating an organic diet and does not have a lot of stress in her life. At the minimum, it would be good to detox at least three to four times a year to help reset your body. I use my Delicious Detox and abstain from alcohol once every season to reset my system and to gain that clarity, energy and focus.

AM: Why is going gluten-free during a detox important if I’m not allergic to gluten?
NL: Foods containing gluten tend to be full of refined carbohydrates or processed foods, which we steer clear of during a detox. Secondly, we want to eliminate all common allergens during a detox, as any mild sensitivity or intolerance can also cause inflammation in your body. So going gluten-free gives your body a chance to reset, and you can then introduce gluten after to see how you feel.

AM: After the holidays, is a one-week detox sufficient?
NL
: If you indulged during the holidays with all that good food and wine, one week isn’t enough to go through a complete reset. We would recommend three weeks to reset your body and also to get back into the habit of good eating. Our one-week Delicious Detox program is great for someone who is already on a pretty clean diet and wants to go on a cleanse as a routine tune-up. It’s also a great way to jump-start a practice of eating healthier and more mindfully for those who don’t have time to commit to a full three weeks.

AM: If someone is on a budget but interested in detoxing, what would you recommend?
NL
: If you have a lot of time, but not the money, I would recommend getting Dr. Mark Hyman’s ultrametabolism cookbook. You would still need to invest in good quality ingredients like organic produce and meat.

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IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT EATING BETTER. NONA LIM’S TIPS TO DETOXING RIGHT.

1. Cut the CRAP (Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol, Processed food) by weaning yourself off of caffeine, soft drinks (even diet), alcohol and other processed foods a week before you start your detox. This will help you make an easier transition and minimize any unpleasant side effects.

2. Take it easy the first few days to allow your body to adjust. Your liver and other organs will be working pretty hard the first week, so don’t forget to pamper yourself. You’ll be feeling more vibrant and energetic by the second week.

3. Stay hydrated throughout the detoxification process (add lemon, fresh fruit or veggies like cucumber or mint to your water for added flavor). Sweating helps with the elimination of toxins, so exercise or go to a sauna. Get plenty of rest to help the body repair itself.

4. After your detox, introduce “challenge foods” (gluten, dairy, etc.) slowly back into your diet to monitor any reactions and possible food sensitivities.


 

Nona Lim
Nona Lim knows good food. Born in Singapore, she grew up with the famous hawker centers where amazing food is served up from modest food stalls. But after moving to the Bay Area, Lim gave up a career in tech to start her own food delivery program. She started out renting space in a communal kitchen, hand-preparing and delivering detox meals to friends. As her clientele grew, she partnered with top-notch health advisors and nutritionists, refining her meals to what has now become her signature Delicious Detox program (trust me — it’s yummy!). She also has a line of fresh soups available throughout the West Coast. Details Nonalim.com.

 

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

A Quick Chat With LINSANITY Director Evan Jackson Leong

Story by Ada Tseng.

FIRST IMPRESSION OF JEREMY LIN:
There’ve been a few Asian American players that have come up [in the Bay Area], but none were as good as Jeremy Lin. And he’s not this 7-foot-6 center; he’s a point guard and a leader controlling the game, and you don’t see that all that often. And I remember watching him dunk — he’d do these amazing dunks! So even when we started filming his senior year at Harvard, I already knew it was a great story.

APPROACHING JEREMY ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY:
He was very quiet and professional at first. We talked about God. What’s funny is — I have a mohawk, but I was wearing a cap to hide it, and at the end, he saw the mohawk peeking out from the back, and he was like “Whoa, you have a mohawk?” And I was like, “Yea, my girl told me to hide it just in case you were really conservative,” and he was like, “No man, that’s cool!” And then he sported a fauxhawk for a little bit after that.

JEREMY’S PERSONAL HOME VIDEOS:
Jeremy’s dad was like that guy from American Beauty, always recording everything. At first he gave us three hours of footage, and that was a lot, but then he gave us 30 hours of footage. [Laughs] We wanted to show a personal side of Jeremy that you don’t usually get to see in the media.

CURRENT PROJECT:
I’m working on a documentary on [YouTube makeup guru] Michelle Phan. They’re both underdogs, both Asian American, and both had strong obstacles to face. Asian Americans in general are often the underdog in the media, and it’s important to get [these stories] out there to inspire a new generation of Asian American kids.

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

LINSANITY : Not Even A Multimillion Dollar NBA Contract Or A Feature Film Can Change Jeremy Lin

Story by Ada Tseng.

In 2012, basketball star Jeremy Lin lived the ultimate underdog story. As the then-23-year-old rose from obscurity — one minute, he was worried his short-lived NBA career was over, the next minute, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline “Against All Odds” — Lin became more than an international sports hero. He embodied the hardworking Asian American icon that had been discriminated against and underestimated his entire life and was finally getting his opportunity to show the world what he could really do.

While his February 2012 streak caught everyone (including Lin himself) off guard, no one could have been more excited than the film team led by director Evan Jackson Leong, who happened to be shooting a documentary about Lin at the time. Leong had started production on the film back when Lin was a senior at Harvard university. Lin remembers, “I figured, worst case, we’d have someone compile all this footage and make a cool story, and maybe I’ll be able to show it to my kids and my grandkids one day.”

As January 2012 rolled around, Leong was ready to wrap up Lin’s story, but the only thing he was missing was a good ending. Lin not only gave them their ending, he elevated the stakes of the film more than any of them could ever imagine. What was envisioned as a low-key series of webisodes about one of the few Asian Americans in the NBA suddenly included footage of sports journalists bombarding Kobe Bryant with questions about Lin, David Letterman donning a Jeremy Lin jersey on the Late Show, and even President Obama claiming he knew about Lin way back when he was playing at Harvard. Narrated by actor Daniel Dae Kim, Linsanity: The Jeremy Lin Story screened at the Sundance Festival, had a theatrical release in October, and will be out on DVD January 4.

After the whirlwind that was Linsanity whisked Lin from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets in July 2012, the attention started to die down. A year later, the 25-year-old has, for the most part, remained out of the headlines, but in Taiwan, the homeland of Lin’s parents, the obsession continues. Giant Linsanity billboards can be seen all over Taipei, and as Linsanity producer Bryan Yang says in a new NBA video about Jeremy Lin fandom in Taiwan: “Linsanity as a phenomenon has not subsided. It’s as if it were February 2012 still. … It’s the Beatles, except modern-day in Taiwan.”

Each summer, Lin travels to Taiwan to teach at a youth basketball camp, as well as to share his testimony of the past year. At 2013’s “Dream Big, Be Yourself” youth conference in Taipei, he confessed that he temporarily lost control of his identity with the unexpected onslaught of fame.

“I talked a lot about the pressures of Linsanity and being caught up in who everyone else wanted me to be,” says Lin. “I addressed three main issues that draw people away from God — money, worldly success and human approval — and how I started to put my identity in basketball. I started to be consumed by the whole Linsanity thing.”

On what helps him keep his head on straight, he says, “I think it’s just constant reminders, going back to the Gospel message and understanding that it doesn’t matter how well I play or what I do on the court; at the end of the day, I’m still a sinner before God, and that’s all that really matters. I need His grace, His love, His forgiveness, and it’s about being diligent, spending time with God every single day and having that support network to keep you accountable.”

But that doesn’t mean Lin doesn’t have time to have fun. On his down time, he and his family and friends collaborate on comedy videos on his YouTube channel, which boasts videos with up to 4.7 million views and have featured everyone from popular YouTube stars KevJumba and Ryan Higa to basketball colleagues Steve Nash and James Harden.

“People can take three minutes and watch a funny video, and it’ll help them laugh and relax, but hopefully every video has a specific message behind it, too,” says Lin. For example, one of his latest videos, “You’ve Changed, Bro,” which spoofs the idea that Lin has let fame go to his head, ends with a passage from Romans 12:2a: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

And on being considered a new Asian American sex symbol? The 6- foot-2-inch athlete, who has been quoted saying that his perfect girl would be “a faithful Christian” and have “a desire to serve other people [and] help with the underprivileged,” remains modest.

“I appreciate that people see me in that way, but it’s kind of something that I brush to the side,” he says. “I don’t think that’s ever been one of my goals or one of my focuses, but I’m still thankful that they see me in whatever light that they see me in.”

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here