Welcome to our new campaign! About each month, InspirASIAN will highlight our members’ voices, culture, and community through a campaign. These month’s campaign is all about food and community. We have asked our members to talk about their favorite foods, what it means to them, and how it intertwines with their community. We are excited to share this with you. Make sure to come back to see our future campaigns!

Food + Richness in Life

Some could say that food and community are inseparable and that food plays an essential role in building community. We have memories of our favorite foods as a child – and the people that made these foods for us – and continue to create memories as we build relationships and community while sitting at a table. Numerous studies have also shown that sharing meals as a family has a positive impact on all members. At APCA, a number of our events have food playing a large role, such as at banquets or luncheons, where members come together to celebrate but also experience authentic family-style food together. We asked some of our members what their favorite Asian-Pacific food was and what it meant to them.

Belinda Loi is the APCA Member engagement officer and has many different favorite foods. At the moment her go-to food is Sundubi, a Korean Tofu Soup! This soup, among many other Asian Pacific Restaurants that serve delicious food, can be found on a famous street called Buford Highway. This road stretches for miles from Atlanta to far north of the suburbs and is lined with family owned restaurants that support their communities.


 Kelly Cheng is part of the Atlanta Chapter and shares a beautiful story about her favorite childhood food, jajangmyeon.
“One of my favorite foods growing up was jajangmyeon, which is a Korean / Chinese noodle dish topped with a black bean sauce. This dish has a lot of meaning to me. Both sides of my family have similar, but separate, stories – my grandparents are all from the Shandong province of China (where the original version of the dish, zhajiangmian, is from). They, along with many other Chinese people (some of you may even recognize this same story in your families), ran to Korea for a better life. But back then in Korea, it was much more segregated, and many Chinese people could only find work in the food business. So both sides of my family opened up jajangmyeon shops. These restaurants are still extremely popular in Korea, and you can find jajangmyeon pretty much anywhere.
My parents had to work in these shops growing up (no such thing as child labor laws then!). Though they both came from extremely poor backgrounds, they were able to go to university in Taiwan. Eventually, they moved to the US where they opened a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Atlanta with my grandpa as the head chef. They have since retired and the restaurant space has been rented out, but it was a huge part of my life growing up. My mom still makes all the old recipes, though!”

Len Herry is the President of the APCA Chapter and his favorite food is a Thai Spicy Basil Chicken! He even does us the pleasure of providing us with a recipe. This was one of the first foods he was introduced to when he visited Bangkok Thailand for the first time. Check this recipe out and let us know if you make it!

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek) or thai chili
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced basil leaves

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic to pan;
cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add chicken to pan; cook 13 minutes or until chicken is done.
Combine fish sauce and the next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Add fish sauce mixture to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring to coat chicken.
Remove from heat. Stir in basil.


Matt Mui is the national president of InspirASIAN and loves the diversity in Asian Pacific food. So much so, that it’s too hard to pick a favorite! He shares with us his the food role plays in life, and his memories attached to the beautiful smells.

“I love all types of Asian noodle soup from Japanese Ramen and Soba and Vietnamese Pho to the plethora of Thai noodle soup dishes only found in niche Thai restaurants in the U.S.  I think the diversity of Thai noodle soup dishes isn’t widely available in the U.S. so it hasn’t caught on yet with foodies, but I’d expect it be the next noodle phenomenon like we’re seeing with the ramen crazed fans.  My mom is from Thailand so I know what I’m missing when I’m not visiting one of my favorite Asian Pacific destinations.

I’m fortunate to live in San Francisco where food is the talk of the City.  There’s something for everyone.  Whether it’s a taste or a feast, food does good for our souls.  Food plays an important role in every culture and it’s what connects us and brings everyone together!  The American cuisine would not be what it is today without influential Asian Americans.  The smell of Thai curry spices with coconut milk is reminiscent of family, cultural heritage, and street food, which are some of the best.  The stories, food, and traditions passed on from my parents, ancestors are deeply ingrained and imprinted on me like a tattoo on my back.  I carry it with me wherever I go and whomever I’m with.”

Matt also emphasizes how important it is to support the local eateries in our cities!

“There are so many [Asian Pacific Restaurants] to choose from.  Whether you’ve had the opportunity to dine at a famous restaurant, one thing is for sure – Asian food is in, it’s hot, and it’s the fusion plated on many dishes served at your local favorite eatery and restaurants across America.  It’s important that we support the ‘mom and pops” and the ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants.  They are some of the best and it’s a great way to pay homage to our roots, cultural heritage, and values.”

Matt wanted to include a picture of what he had for lunch! This is Kao Poon – red coconut curry soup with rice noodle, and next to it is Kao Soy Thai – egg noodles with light yellow curry soup.


Our Members have great insight on the role that food plays in our life, families, and community. And they also know where to find it! Take the time to enjoy a new dish, dig into a different culture, and share a meal with your loved ones. Healthy dishes and good relationships lead to a great lifestyle! Our members participate in this often! Members that share a meal together also work out together and participate in the local dragon boat race! Check out the APCA Dragon Boat Team here: https://twitter.com/APCA_Dragons. Find a chapter near you where you can participate! #YourHealthMatters #LifeatATT #ATTEmployee

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