Audrey Magazine: Is there a particular ingredient you enjoy cooking with most?
Dina Yuen: Garlic. Food is not food without garlic. Its pungency is incredibly alluring in every aspect. Most people don’t realize how diverse garlic can be in regards to its strength and subtlety. The presence or absence of garlic can make or break a dish.
AM: What do you appreciate the most about your ethnic heritage?
DY: My background is a mix of Chinese and Russian. (My historical fiction novel, The Shanghai Legacy, tells the romantic adventure of how this came about). I feel incredibly blessed to come from two culturally rich heritages that have contributed a great deal to the world. Admittedly though, I identify much more closely with my Chinese roots since in my generation, there is only a little Russian remaining and I’ve not had the opportunity to spend as much time in Russia as I’d like. With regards to my Chinese heritage, I am obsessed with Chinese history, philosophers, martial arts and of course, food.
AM: Tell us more about the debut album that you’ll independently release this year. What is the inspiration and story behind it, and how would you describe your music?
DY: I was in the Anglo and Latin music industry about ten years ago or so, as a singer and songwriter, though I’m classically trained in both piano and voice… I had been working on recording my first album when, due to personal reasons and differences with record label executives I decided to exit the music industry. Back then my music consisted of a lot of romantic ballads that people likened to a mix of Sarah MacLachlan, Jewel and Enrique Iglesias. Now though, having grown up into what I’d like to believe is a better and far more mature version of myself, my music/songs have evolved with me into a slightly darker edge, with topics ranging from self preservation in turmoil, breaking free from suffocating family and societal expectations and developing an unshakable sense of self. There will still be some romantic interludes but stylistically, I would akin my new pieces more with Evanescence and Within Temptation… As the year progresses, I’ll be updating my personal site often with new information on releases.
AM: Which specific Asian cultures and issues does Asian Fusion focus on?
DY: Asian Fusion aims to celebrate the best of all of Asia, which includes every Asian nation that most people would consider Asian. After some market research, I found that the general population doesn’t emotionally accept particular nations such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as Asian despite the United Nations’ definitions. With the exception of these more geographically western nations, Asian Fusion celebrates and tackles topics across Asia, including food, culture, travel, history, entertainment and current events. Should our users show strong support for including those nations as part of Asian Fusion, we would certainly be happy to do so.
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