Food & Travel Spotlight

  • Hallyu: Riding the Korean Wave

    Posted by Admin

    Hallyu: Riding the Korean Wave
    If you know Rain, BoA (shown left), and Sistar, then you already know K-Pop, Korea’s contemporary pop music and its artists. K-Pop music is one of the fastest growing music genres in the world, and along with Korea’s popular TV drama serials, films and comic books are a growing source of export revenue for Korea.   The growing global fan base of Korea's entertainment and...

Food & Travel Articles

  • PBS Special "Lidia Celebrates America" is dedicated to Shirley Fong-Torres

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    PBS program Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday Tables and Traditions - a Chinese New Year is dedicated to chef, author, and founder of Wok Wiz tours Shirley Fong-Torres who passed away of leukemia after a brief illness in June, 2011. 

    The program filmed the host, TV chef, author and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich with Shirley Fong-Torres walking through San Francisco's Chinatown and celebrating the Chinese New Year with a dinner at Shirley's home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    It was one of Shirley's last television appearances. Shirley's brother, author and broadaster Ben Fong-Torres also makes an appearance in the program.

    Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday Tables and Traditions - a Chinese New Year is the first in a series of specials coming to PBS. 

    The PBS special featuring Shirley Fong-Torres aired on December 20, 2011 nationally and continues to be broadcast on future television schedules. 

    Check your local PBS listings for new airing dates of this special.

    In Lidia Celebrates America, host Lidia Bastianich embarks on four holiday adventures:

    A Chinese New Year

    An Italian Christmas Eve 

    A Mexican-American Christmas Day 

    A Passover Seder

    The series explores the American immigrant experience through the revelry of the holidays. In future specials scheduled for broadcast in 2012, Lidia will feature a variety of tasty ethnic celebrations, including weddings, rites of passage, and celebrations of independence.

    As viewers participate in the various ethnic and religious celebrations across the country, it’s clear food is the common denominator that ties all human beings. “No matter what your religion, or your ethnicity,” Lidia says, “we have the opportunity to celebrate whatever we worship, whoever our families are, and this is something to celebrate: America is something to celebrate.”



  • Finally - a major Asian hotel chain steps up to the plate - Effective January 1, 2012. Shark Fins off the menu

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    Today, January 1, 2012 marks the day that a major hotel chain, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), owner of the Peninsula Hotels finally made it official - no more shark fins will be served. We hope many more hotels, restaurants, and fishermen will also stop killing the millions of sharks for their fins for soup.  

    Let's make 2012 a year that you also take measures in your own hands to help our world become a better place. 

    This is one of the most important stories of our lives, our Earth.

    Not only is banning shark fins from menus one tiny step forward (and not ordering shark fins if it is still on other menus), eating fish, particularly the larger fish is not necessarily healthy.

    Dr. Sylvia Earle, 75, scientist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence has been studying our oceans for more than 50 years. Dr. Earle urges everyone, "We have the power to make a difference and its time that we use that power positively not just for the dolphins, not just for the whales and the fish. It all comes back to us. We all share space on this little Blue Planet."

    Earle told AsianConnections' Steven Joe at a Greenbuild Conference for GreenPlanet.TV "What we are doing to the oceans, we are doing to ourselves." She told Steven Joe in a video interview that it is a myth that eating all fish is healthy. She warns that eating larger fish-eating fish is not healthy at all. She says the larger fish such as swordfish, tuna, and marlin have the highest concentrations in their bodies of heavy metals and toxins including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and other poisonous substances that are dumped into the oceans and fall from the sky from coal and other industrial processes. 

    She advises to "eat smart" and eat plant-eating fish, and smaller sustainably cultivated fish such as tilapia and catfish. 

    She is recognized by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend. Among her many achievements and efforts in global marine conservation, she is the founder of...

  • Shirley Fong-Torres 1946 - 2011, noted cooking personality, author, and SF Chinatown culinary school and tour operator of "Wok Wiz"

    Posted by Admin

    Friends and family honored Shirley Fong-Torres' life at memorial services in San Francisco on July 24. Her life and vivacious personality touched people worldwide with her books, television appearances, and her Wok Wiz company's daily guided walking and culinary tours of San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach.   

    Shirley was born November 16, 1946 in Oakland, daughter of Connie and the late Ricardo Fong-Torres, and was a graduate of U.C. Berkeley. She was a teacher in Texas and California, a chef, and after working in marketing for Levi Strauss, she created Wok Wiz in 1985, offering tours, as well as cooking lessons. Her business drew rave reviews and quickly grew, and she built a staff of tour guides to meet demand. She wrote such books as San Francisco Chinatown: A Walking Tour, The Chinese Kitchen, Wok Wiz Chinese Cookbook, and The Woman Who Ate Chinatown. Shirley wrote articles for many food and travel publications and frequently appeared on radio and television including The Food Channel, History and Discovery Channels, and inflight for Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas Airlines and JetBlue.

    She was active in many community groups and often served on the board of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. She had homes in San Francisco and Pacifica. She and her former husband, Richard Dong, were the parents of Tina Dong Pavao, and she was a vivacious, fun-loving grandmother to Tina’s two daughters with Matt Pavao, Maggie and Stella. Shirley is also survived by sister Sarah Watkins, brothers Ben and Burton Fong-Torres, and Sarah’s children, Lea and Jason Watkins. A wonderful brother, Barry, preceded Shirley in death in 1972. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of several organizations, including the Chinese Historical Society of America, the Community Youth Center, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

     Her family has set up a Facebook page for friends and fans. 



  • LUCKYRICE Festival 2011 in NY includes Daniel Boulud, Susur Lee, Anito Lo, Masaharu Morimoto, May 2-8, 2011

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Chef Susur Lee in the lobby of Shang, in the Thompson LES Hotel. (Photo by Lia Chang)

    The second annual LUCKYRICE Festival, presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Conde Nast Traveler, kicks off tonight with Dinner with Anita Lo presented by HSBC at Anissa from 7pm-10pm. ($200)

    The inaugural 2010 Festival was 100% sold-out; this year’s festival expands to one week from May 2-8, 2011 at various locations throughout New York City. Participants of the LUCKYRICE Festival include members of the LUCKYRICE Culinary Council – Daniel Boulud, Susur Lee, Anito Lo, Masaharu Morimoto, amongst others, to include some of the world’s top restaurants, chefs, and mixologists. Tickets can be purchased at Proceeds from the festival will again benefit City Harvest.

    “We are thrilled to be joined by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and again by Conde Nast Traveler for the LUCKYRICE Festival this year,” said Danielle Chang, Founder of LUCKYRICE. “I am excited to share Asia’s rich culinary culture with so many New Yorkers and honored to be supported by our esteemed Culinary Council.”

    ABOUT LUCKYRICELUCKYRICE is an integrated experiential marketing and media company that was launched in the spring of 2010. LUCKYRICE has quickly become the definitive guide to the Asian culinary world, which represents sixty percent of the world’s population. LUCKYRICE understands these cultures and creates a common denominator through the lens of food.

    SCHEDULE OF EVENTS*May 2 – 8, 2011 | New York City

    Monday, May 2Kick-Off Dinner with Anita Lo presented by HSBCAnnisa | 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.$200One of the city’s most beloved chefs kicks off the LUCKYRICE week of festivities with an intimate dinner full of surprise guests and tantalizing things to eat.

    Tuesday, May 3Opening Cocktails with Carol Lim + Humberto Leon of Opening CeremonyThe Bowery Hotel | 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. (VIP 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.)$50 / $88 VIPToast the start of the LUCKYRICE Fest 2011 with a spirited evening of Asian-infused...

  • Restaurants Respond for Relief, Chef Arnold Wong Hosts Benefit for Japan Night at E&O Trading Co. in SF on 4/10

    Posted by Lia Chang

    On Sunday April 10th, Chef Arnold Wong is hosting a Special Benefit for Japan Night at E&O Trading Co. 314 Sutter Street in San Francisco to aid Japan following the country’s devastating natural disaster. This amazing evening brings together San Francisco’s finest restaurants, wineries and mixologists to raise funds for the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th.

    Liam Mayclem of Eye on the Bay will preside as emcee from 5-9pm, live entertainment will feature local favorite Chef Joey Altman & The Backburner Blues and burlesque dancers, and the Bon Vivants will be mixing up amazing cocktails during this evening of great food, wines, spirits, live music, entertainment and a silent auction.

    Tickets for the event are priced at $75 and 100% of proceeds from the evening will be donated directly to Give2Asia. …Representatives from Give2Asia will be in attendance to speak about their involvement with the Japanese community and outreach underway. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door based on capacity!

    Participating Restaurants:BetelnutButterflyContigoRangeSlanted DoorGrand CafeStarBellyBeast & HareOne MarketTresCitizen’s BandLive SushiLe SoleilBasil Canteen& More

    Desserts:CocotuttiKara’s CupcakesNash Baker’sRaison d’etre BakeryPinky’s BakeryNamu Restaurant

    Beverages:Southern Wine & SpiritsHonig WineryHaamonii Smooth ShochuSouthern Wine & SpiritsCannonball WinesIlly CafeCocktails & Bartending Skills by Bon Vivant’s

    Silent & Live Auction Items:Ritz Carlton, Half Moon BayColumbus SalamiFairmontCosmopolitanPalio d’AstiHarrisOne MarketMcKormick & Kuleto’sIl FornaioLark Creek SteakhouseMarlowe/Park Tavern RestaurantThirsty BearJDVCampton PlaceStraits RestaurantLive Sushi BarLe SoleilIlly CafeQupe WinerySephoraAttic RestaurantTommy Toy’sYan Can CookSugar Bowl BakeryFerry Building Wine Merchantand much more…

    April 10,...