Guys, this post makes #11 of the Meet My Inspiration series. As I mentioned earlier, I'll be slowing down the series after this one. I cannot thank the bloggers, who have participated, enough for contributing. Your support really means a lot to me so THANK YOU! It was so much fun getting to know other bloggers, learn about their background and their way of blogging. I'm winding down the series not because I don't have other bloggers that I find inspiriting (trust me, there's plenty of them on my spreadsheet!) I decided to slow down MMI because I just really want to get back to cooking. You know, since I don't blog full time and there's only 24 hours in a day, I can only do so much during the week and on the weekends (fellow bloggers, you know exactly how that feels!) BUT that doesn't mean that MMI is gone forever! To be honest, I haven't planned out exactly what the next step is. I'm leaning towards doing MMI maybe only once a month instead of once a week. And of course, that would also depends on if other bloggers that I reach out to would be interested in participating as well. So we shall see.
For the last post of the series before we take a break. I'd like you guys to meet a Serious Eats contributor who also blogs over at FriedWontons4u. I first stumbled upon Shao's work on Serious Eats probably some time last year. I was hooked onto the content that Shao was producing because it was so close to home. She did these mini series, like Dim Sum Classics, Chinese Greens 101, and Chinese Noodles 101, which were all great reads and thorough in research. Bravo, Shao!
I was so honored to be featured in Mochi Magazine's Favorite Blogs article last fall along with Shao. I was thrilled to be lined up against some of the most amazing bloggers who I look up to everyday. A little recognition of your work goes a long way and I'm sure many bloggers would agree.
I chatted with Shao about her passion for food, the Asian food scene in Philly, how she got involved with working with Serious Eats, and her next move on food.
So read up on the last post of the series before it goes on break!
1. What or who inspired you to start a food blog?
I've always loved food, cooking, and photography, so when my friend told me to check out this site called Tastespotting, I was hooked! That was when I was first exposed to food blogs. I had no idea people combined three of my favorite interests all in one. I thought why not start my own and this would also be a great way to encourage myself to write down my recipes, which I always seem to forget to do.
2. What was the first post/recipe that you published on FriedWontons4u? (Try not to peek!)
Oh boy! No peeking too! If I had to guess, it was probably a recipe for Chinese steamed spare ribs.
3. When and how did you first get involved with contributing to Serious Eats? Do you have a formal background in food and cooking that we should know about?
Nope, I do not have a formal background in food and cooking. I have always just loved to cook since I was young. Being an only child, it was a way to entertain myself and one of the few things I can do by myself. My mom was not too happy to come home with a sink full of dishes though! I started contributing to Serious Eats around late 2013, around the Thanksgiving holiday I believe. A few months earlier before that, Kenji at Serious Eats tweeted that SE was looking for contributors. I got in touch with him and that's how it all started.
4. You were raised in Philadelphia. Is there where you reside now? What is the Asian food scene like down in Philly?
Yes, Philly is where I currently reside. I grew up around the Chinatown neighborhood and still live around there today. Compare to New York, San Francisco, and all the other big city Chinatowns, Philly's Chinatown is pretty small. I like to think that it's small but packed with good food. Besides Chinatown, there is a strong Asian food scene in South Philly, especially for Vietnamese cuisine. Other than that, Asian restaurants are pretty spread out throughout Philly. There used to be a few blocks in the northeast section of Philly dub as Koreantown, but many Korean restaurants and business have left that area in the last twenty years.
5. I, too, grew up in a Cantonese household. What are some of your favorite home cooked meals?
I have so many! I love my mom's Chicken Congee with chopped pieces of bone-in chicken. Any type of soup noodle or lo mein noodles cooked by my dad, especially his simple ginger scallion egg noodle lo mein. There's also Steamed Spare Ribs with Fermented Black Beans, Steam Egg with Salted Egg Yolk and Ground Pork, Braised Abalone with Black Moss, Black Chicken soup...I think I can go on and on. :)
6. The content that you produced for Serious Eats is absolutely amazing. It has so much depth to it, and I can tell that a lot of research goes into each subject. Is there something you've published on there that you're particular proud of or something that is more memorable than others?
Thank you so much! One of my favorite post on SE is the one about the different kinds of egg noodles in Chinese cuisine. I loved working on that post because I'm totally in love with noodles! I'm pretty sure I don't go a week without having noodles at least once. Not only did I get to share my passion for my favorite food for that post, but I also learned a alot about the different noodles during my research.
7. I think the way you treat and handle Chinese cooking is brilliant. You always seem to be able to stick to the traditional side of things while keeping it fresh and unexpected. What's in the pipeline for you in terms of cooking and writing about food? In other words, should we know about other projects that you're working on?
Currently I'm working on revamping my blog and trying to focus on how I can turn my love for cooking and writing about food into something more professional. One thing I've discovered throughout the years of having a blog, is that I really enjoy working on it. So I'm crossing my fingers, that I can turn this passion into something much bigger.
8. What's the most challenging thing about being a food blogger/writer?
Writer's block! Some people think that writing about food and recipes is pretty straightforward, but sometimes the words just don't appear. Especially with recipes, you want to be as detail as possible but without sounding robotic.
9. This is an easy one... favorite dim sum? Go!
Phoenix claws! People either love it or hate it! I just love, love, love, it.
10. We'll end with some food blogging love. Any blogs or bloggers who you look up to?
One of the best thing that has happened from blogging is meeting so many great people who are super talented and passionated about food. Big shout outs to FoodiePrints, Rasa Malaysia, The Sophisticated Gourmet, and i am a food blog!
Photo Credit: Friedwontons4u – Shrimp and Kale Wontons with Spicy Kale Pesto Sauce