Hey there! It's Monday again, isn't it? Dang. Where did the weekend go? (Mine was 70% in the kitchen and 20% on the computer doing you guessed it... blog stuff!) My awesome friend Petra baked a mass of holiday cookies using her grandma's recipes, and I was lucky to get my hands on some! Have you started your holiday baking yet? (Send me some cookies, ok?) Guys, there's 10 days 'til Thanksgiving! Holy Moly! Last week, I posted a round up of 10 Chinese recipes for Thanksgiving for those who might still be looking to add something to their menu. Be sure to go check it out too, if you're looking for a non-traditional dish for Turkey Day!
I hope you've been following this blog series and enjoying getting to know more about the people who drive some of my favorite food blogs. If you're new to the series, welcome! Do stop by and check out the first post and the second post from the last couple weeks.
This week, I'm featuring my gal pal from the motherland. She's based in L.A and in the beautiful SoCal area. I've stumbled upon her blog The Missing Lokness some time earlier this year while I was doing some research on a classic Hong Kong dish. I was captivated by her luminous photos and have followed her blog ever since. Some of her recipes like Cantonese Style BBQ Pork Over Rice (叉燒飯), Creamed Corn with Pork Over Rice (粟米肉粒飯), and Baked Pork Chop with Fried Rice (焗豬扒飯) just scream home to me. I love that she has dedicated this blog to document her home cooking journey, and that she's not afraid to take on any new tastes! I hope you enjoy browsing her blog as much as I do!
Again, don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list to get more of this blog series right into your inbox in the coming weeks! (Sign up form is on the sidebar or towards the bottom of the page if you’re on a smaller screen).
Now, here’s the behind the scenes chat with Lokness of The Missing Lokness!
1. What inspired you to start a food blog? And when did that start?
There are 2 reasons that mainly inspired me. First, a while after moving to the US, I started to miss all the great flavors from my hometown, Hong Kong. Items like egg waffle, baked pork chop rice, egg tarts, BBQ pork rice… I can find most of these foods in Los Angeles, but all require a 40-min drive. It is very inconvenient so I figure I should learn how to cook all these food for myself.
Second, Los Angeles is truly a melting pot when it comes to cultures and of course food. I am lucky enough to meet many people with vary different backgrounds and get to try their home cook dishes. When it comes to food, I am a daredevil. I love to try new things. The exposure to a variety of food in Los Angeles got me interested in exploring all kinds of dishes from around the world.
With that in mind, I started searching through recipes online and got into recipe testing. During the process, I was like “why not share all these delicious recipes that I learn?” That’s when The Missing Lokness was born on September in 2010.
2. What was the first post/recipe that you published on The Missing Lokness? (no peeking!)
Chicken a la King! A creamy and sweet white sauce with tender chickens is perfect over rice. I ordered that dish a lot when I lived in Hong Kong.
3. If you have to pick 5 words to describe your blog, what would they be?
Eat – YES, I love to eat! It is fun to share the amazing food that I have found and tried.
Cook – After tasting some unforgettable food, it is nice to recreate them at home.
Learn – I am a home cook, not a trained professional. When it comes to cooking, there are always new things to learn, like how to use microwave to make cake, how to easily remove seeds from pomegranate, or what kind of new food trend are exciting right now.
Live – I share a little bit of my life with my readers. Even through there are ups and downs in life, it is important to think positive and try to live happily everyday.
Explore – There are many places in the world that I would love to see. Of course, tasting local food from around the world is my ultimate dream. I enjoy sharing some of the best and worst food that I eat and see with my readers.
4. What's your weekend routine like? Food shopping in the morning? Cooking and shooting dishes at a certain time before the sun goes down?
I actually don’t cook much during the weekend. My husband, Bryan and I like a relaxing laid back weekend. We spend time hanging out and eating out with friends and families.
Food shopping is done during weekday mornings. It is the best time to go because the market is always quite and empty, which makes it super easy to navigate and get what I need without hassling. Occasionally, I like going to farmer’s market and get inspired by the fresh and seasonal ingredients. If I am making dessert, I usually do the baking in the afternoon hours. Baking and listening to music is the best thing to do ever! For savory food, I cook them in the evening. When Bryan gets home, we would shoot photos quickly and enjoy our meal while it is still hot.
5. Your photography is gorgeous! Mind to share what is in your camera bag?
Thank you so much! Bryan is the actual photographer. I cook, plate and set up, then Bryan shots. We work together as a team.
Bryan uses a Canon 5D mark III with EF 24-105mm f/4L lens. Since we mostly shoot in the evening, a flash is needed. He mainly uses one Canon 580EX II flash and a bounce reflector. For a camera geek like him, nothing is ever enough.
6. From the food perspective, what do you think the main differences are living in the U.S. vs Hong Kong?
In the US, there is a great blend of immigrates who bring in their cultures and food to the country. Immigrants crave food from their hometowns, and that drives the rich authentic food culture in the US. You can easily find all kind of amazing authentic food that you want. Mexican, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Italian, German and many more… All of which are easy to find and eat within the city limits.
On the other hand, you maybe able to find some of these foods in Hong Kong, but they may not be as authentic. There aren’t as many immigrants in and around Hong Kong, so there is no strong foundation to encourage authentic cuisine.
But I do have to say that the biggest thing I miss from Hong Kong is the street food. Street foods can be found everywhere. Things like fish balls, egg waffle, and baked buns. You can walk down the street, and easily grab a bite on the go. Here in LA, snacks or street foods is not that common. You always need to spend a good amount of travel time before you can find something good.
7. Your SoCal Guide is amazing - makes me want to visit! Is California where you'd like to be for a long time or is there somewhere else that you'd like to live someday?
Los Angeles is now my home. This is where Bryan grew up. We love how diverse Southern California is. One minute we can be sunbathing at the beach, and the next we can be skiing in the mountain. Other than earthquakes (and traffic), everything is perfect here!
8. What's the most challenging thing about food blogging?
I think every food blogger needs a bigger kitchen. When it comes to presenting, you need to have more props, plates and backgrounds to have the better results. Unfortunately, it gets really tricky for me, because I live in a tiny apartment. Where do I have space to store all that stuff, right? One day I dream of having a giant kitchen and pantry.
9. What would you eat as a treat to lighten up a rough day?
An easy treat would definitely be chocolate truffle! It is a pleasure to have a piece of sweet and bitter truffle that melts in your mouth. For a bigger treat, chocolate ice cream is the way to go. Creamy and cold! Even in winter (if you consider California’s winter to be a real “winter”), I still enjoy a cup of ice cream with my heater and blanket on. After all, they always say eating chocolate makes people happy.
10. We'll end with some food blogging love. Any blogs or bloggers who you admire yourself?
There are so many great bloggers out there. If I have to select a few I would say… Just One Cookbook is my go-to blog for Japanese recipes. It is authentic and easy to follow. Bonnie from Thirsty For Tea who is a tea enthusiast. She uses tea in most of her cooking. She is really creative who makes beautiful and adorable food (have a look, her dishes look so cute!). Also, Through Oana’s Lens is another favorite. During the world cup, Oana did a series of dishes from the cuisine of winning countries every day. How awesome and ingenious is that? Fellow Hong Kongers Amy from uTry.it and Monica from Playing with Flour both share amazing recipes as well.
And of course, Saucy Spatuala who shares my love of Hong Kong food. Whenever I see all those dishes (ie. Singapore-Style Rice Vermicelli and Iced Red Bean) on her blog, it reminds me of all those great food memories and makes me crave for a taste of home.
(Photo Credit: The Missing Lokness – Cantonese Style BBQ Pork Over Rice)