When entrepreneur Dina Yuenisn’t cooking a scrumptious, home-style meal, working on her
historical fiction novel, The Shanghai Legacy, or traveling for inspiration, she’s building up
AsianFusion, a multimedia website and company focused on celebrating Asian cultures and
traditions via food, art, music and more. Yuen’s latest venture is her debut cookbook, Indonesian
Cooking, featuring beautiful photos and original family recipes that simplify flavorful, authentic
cooking. Currently based in San Francisco, the Chinese-Russian American’s journey with food
began as a 5-year-old in Indonesia, where cooking was her family’s primary love language.
She eventually became the youngest student to graduate from Indonesia’s foremost culinary
academy at the age of 12.
ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Courtney Hong
Audrey Magazine: If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would you choose and what
would you cook?
Dina Yuen: Easily, my father. I cook for him whenever we’re in the same city, but I never feel it’s
enough. Being a huge foodie, he’s very flexible with his palate. I want him to enjoy great flavors
but maintain his good health so I’m very conscious about creating dishes that incorporate or-
ganic and fresh ingredients and have explosive flavors, but little fat. One of his favorite meals is Roasted Salmon with Tamarind Glaze, Garlic Stir-fried Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes(using broth and olive oil instead of cream and butter). I also ply him with antioxidant rich fruits such as dragon fruit and pomegranates for dessert.
AM:Of your many professions (she’s an industrial engineer and classical musician by training),
which is your favorite?
DY:I come from a long history of entrepreneurs on both sides of my family. As young as in second grade, I started my first business in school, selling pretty stickers at a premium price. And writing is an outlet that helped maintain my faith and sanity during intense travels and the dramatic turbulence every entrepreneur endures at some point in life.
AM:How are you a strong proponent of women’s and children’s rights?
DY:One of my ultimate goals with Asian Fusion is to create meaningful dialogue and solutions
among Asian people globally regarding the diminishing love and respect for our heritage and
traditions. Consequently, I hope that a positive cultural shift across Asia will help to dramatically reduce the number of children in prostitution and increase the self-value of Asian women.