I got my cookbook in the mail...
and it's glorious
Hi all. I’m currently back home in Southern California for a brief visit and just basking in the blue skies and warm weather. After years of living in hot and humid Hong Kong and Taiwan, I had no idea how much I took the lovely climate here for granted.
I am, though, feeling the post-pandemic sticker shock for the very first time (for context: I haven’t eaten out in L.A. since 2019). Earlier this week for a party of three, I paid $100 for a mediocre dim sum bunch. Yesterday, it was $100 for three burgers, french fries, and shakes. I’ve also been wondering why servers have been giving me the cold shoulder when I leave. Turns out, the expected tip these days is about 18-22%. I’ve been leaving a cool 15%. Whoops. The experience so far has reiterated my decision to live abroad. As a freelance writer, Southern California is simply too exorbitantly priced for me. But I love visiting and am having the time of my life.
The timing also could not have been better. I finally got an advanced physical copy of Made in Taiwan in the mail and it is more gorgeous than I could ever imagine. I can’t wait for you guys to see it. Check out the video attached for an in-depth preview.
Since I can, I’ve been making my rounds to independent cookbook stores in California and dropping off signed bookplates (you can purchase signed books directly from Now Serving LA and Omnivore SF). Apparently, I’ve gotten more pre-orders than anticipated, which is not only exciting but incredibly humbling.
Alright, enough cookbook promo. Here’s what I’ve been working on:
An ode and deep-dive into rechao culture for AFAR Magazine. I also wrote a small blurb with recs about Tainan for Food and Wine Magazine. And lastly, I produced a 30-minute podcast episode on the never-heard-before history of beef noodle soup for Proof at America’s Test Kitchen. We tracked down a man who has eaten in over 500 beef noodle soup restaurants in Taipei and interviewed a five-time award-winning beef noodle soup champion.
Right before I left Taipei for California, I helped film a documentary on post-partum centers in Taipei and also finished a week-long reporting trip in Tainan for a long-form piece that I’m really, really excited about. Stay tuned for the links on those!