7 Questions With Lucky Rice Founder Danielle Chang
For many Asian Americans, food has always been an integral part of our diverse culture. And with our culture, our food, too, has evolved over the years. Growing up in the New York City area, I associated dining out on Asian food with Chinese food. In fact, Hop Kee in Chinatown was the only Asian restaurant I knew in the city. But today, Asian cuisine is everywhere—and not just Chinese—Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, and Indian restaurants line the streets of the East Village. Traditional Asian cooking techniques and ingredients are used across a range of cuisines, creating a new fare of Asian fusion. Danielle Chang, founder of Lucky Rice, a media and marketing company which promotes Asian culture and cuisine, shares her perspective of how food has influenced our culture and society:
- You've done such different lines of work (CEO of Vivienne Tam, Publisher of Simplycity, Associate at Goldman Sachs). Has your passion for food and Asian cuisine been a constant thing in your life?As an Asian American, I’ve always been interested in creating a platform that promotes Asian culture. Of course I love to eat (and who doesn’t?), but I think the constant is my interest in Asian cultures.
- What was your favorite authentic Asian meal growing up?I love Taiwanese beef noodle soup!
- Did your parents teach you how to cook? How have they influenced you to take this career path?We ate Chinese food every night as I was growing up so they definitely influenced my palate. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs so that career path was always in my blood.
- Food is an integral part of Asian culture and family. How do you keep this tradition alive in your own family today?I love to cook and we have big family meals every Sunday, where I get to play chef. My sister and her family live nearby so I’m lucky to be able to feast with my family.
- Many of our readers are in college. Any tips on how to prepare a quick delicious Asian meal?A lot of Asian dishes are healthy and very easy to prepare. I think Asian food really allows for improv. Add protein (it can be diced chicken, sliced beef or seafood) and stir-fry with some veggies—and you have a great meal you can eat simply with rice.
- How has Asian cuisine evolved since you were a child? Do you think it's become trendier?Appreciation of Asian food in America has certainly evolved. A generation ago, Asian food was generally thought of as Chinese take-out food. Thankfully that has changed and American diners have embraced the diaspora of Asian culture today through our food.
- What do you like most about food?It’s a great way to learn about cultures, people, history, sociology, science, psychology—all through the lens of food.
This year’s Lucky Rice Food Festival kicks off May 2, featuring award-winning, esteemed masters of Asian cuisine Susur Lee, Anita Lo, David Chang, and Iron Chef Morimoto. Buy tickets while you can!