This Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we’re highlighting inspiring AAPI Facebook groups with the series “Love Through Food.” These Reels created by Facebook group community leaders and members showcase their unique stories through a variety of Asian dishes that embody the shared love language of food.
For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, food reflects not only the diversity and rich history of the AAPI community, but also the act of love that brings friends and families together.
Through online communities like Subtle Asian Traits, younger generations throughout the Asian diaspora are coming together to celebrate their heritage, while also using these spaces to explore the duality of their Asian and American identities. Founded in 2018, Subtle Asian Traits now has over 2 million members, inspiring people to create their own “subtle” communities focused on different facets of Asian culture, shared experiences and interests, including Subtle Asian Baking, Subtle Curry Traits and Subtle Asian Cooking.
“Love Through Food” features a number of cherished family recipes, while also sharing nostalgic memories from members of these Facebook groups.
Yuzu Castella Strawberry Shortcake
Fred Chang, Subtle Asian Baking
Castella is a light cake first introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries centuries ago. It has since become a staple of wagashi (a traditional Japanese confectionery) and led to more varieties in other Asian countries, including Taiwan — birthplace of Subtle Asian Baking member Fred Chang.
Raised in Southern California, Fred often reminisces about the castella cakes his mom would get from the local Taiwanese bakery for his after-school snack. So, the former MasterChef contestant created his own take on the treat as a dedication to her. Fred combined his childhood memories with Japanese baking techniques and flavors he learned while spending some time there, for a unique castella.
“I was and still am astounded by the amount of love and support I have been receiving from Subtle Asian Baking. Being AAPI, LGBTQ+, and an immigrant, it’s more often than not that you feel left out, but SAB has been a great community that has been nothing but kind and receptive to bakers from all walks of life!” – Fred Chang, Subtle Asian Baking
Laila Mirza, Subtle Curry Traits
Named after the Urdu word for the wok-like pan it’s cooked in, chicken karahi is an everyday Pakistani dish. But Laila Mirza had always saved this dry curry for special occasions with her family. Her mother and grandmother’s cooking has played an incredibly influential role in her life, even inspiring her to start her own blog: @lailas_pantry. Special tip from Laila — use fresh ginger for the best flavor!
Mee Sua Noodle Soup
Zoe Imansjah, Subtle Asian Traits
Although typically reserved for holidays and birthdays, mee sua noodle soup is eaten for hearty breakfasts by Zoe Imansjah and her family. This noodle soup symbolizes longevity and originates from Fujian, China. It was also one of the first dishes the Subtle Asian Traits admin learned how to make from her grandpa. As a college student always on the move, Zoe swears by this soup since it can be made in under 15 minutes after a little practice.
“Food is a love language and an adventure. Coming from a mix of Indonesian, Chinese and American culture, I always love to experiment and explore new types of cuisines and food, and learn about people’s backgrounds that way. Food is a way I use to keep up with friends, new and old, because it’s so easy to say ‘let’s grab some boba’ and make that into a hangout instead.” – Zoe Imansjah, Subtle Asian Traits
Joseph Manglicmot, Subtle Asian Cooking
While pancit is a general term in the Philippines referring to traditional noodle dishes, pancit palabok is a hearty, savory variation packed with umami. Joseph Manglicmot shows how to make the dish, which is one of his mom’s specialites that’s requested at every family potluck and party. Now as a celebrity chef, Joseph is the one bringing the dish to gatherings but admits his pancit palabok will never be as good as his mom’s.
Dig into more uniquely authentic recipes on the Facebook Community blog.