Lucky Chow Season 3 is now airing on PBS! Check local listings.
If we are what we eat, then we’re all part-Asian. Lucky Chow Season 3 explores our hunger for Asian food, and travels for the first time outside of the U.S. — to China and Korea — to discover how our global appetite for the foods of Asia also leads to a greater understanding of its cultures. From global locavores to K-beauty obsessives to the revival of traditional Chinese medicine, Culinary Nomad Danielle Chang gives us an unprecedented look at how Asian cuisines feed not just our bellies, but also our minds and spirit.
SEASON 3 EPISODES
“FOOD AS CULTURAL COLLISION” (S3, Ep1)
This episode explores how cultures collide when trends meet traditions. Mister Softee taken over by the Chinese government; Brooklyn Brewery is using Japanese hops from Jeju Island; the Fung Bros visits a New Yorker who is reinventing the Shanghainese soup dumpling.
“FOOD AS ART” (S3, Ep2)
Today, what we watch can be just as appetizing as what we eat. From the Korean art of mukbang to viral sensations, artists both amateur and professional are using food as their medium of choice. Being a foodie today is just as likely to happen in a 24/7 Korean spa as it is in a restaurant.
“FOOD AS GLOBAL LOCAVORE” (S3, Ep3)
It isn’t just recipes that get imported and exported between the East and West, but also food practices. The farm to table movement is not at all uniquely American. We travel around China’s Hangzhou region with Dai Jianjun of Dragon’s Well Manor and to Sang Lee Farms in New York’s North Fork to see how widespread this movement to keep things local really is.
“FOOD AS WELLNESS” (S3, Ep4)
As bone broth and kombucha line the shelves of your local grocery store, we take a closer look at “food as medicine”. From visits to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre in China, Manhattan Chinatown’s Po Wing Market and Seoul’s Kimchi Museum, we learn that food is so much more than just sustenance.
“FOOD AS AZN” (S3, Ep5)
The next generation of Asian Americans are redefining what it means to be Asian in the U.S. by keeping one foot in the past, and the other in the future. We talk to renegade chefs, entrepreneurs and cultural ambassadors from Canal Street Market to the dance party sensation Bubble_T to see what’s in store for the future of Asians in the mainstream.
“FOOD AS BEAUTY” (S3, Ep6)
Asian beauty secrets have long held fascination with Western audiences. Charlotte Cho from Sokoglam shows us how the K-Beauty boom is all over mainstream America today. We talk to the (mostly) women leading the charge in the cosmetics and skincare scene and disrupting the American beauty industry, from inside out.
In Season 2 of Lucky Chow, we wander up, down and across America to discover how deeply Asian culture and cuisine are rooted in our everyday lives. Our appetite for everything Asian leads us to bowls of noodles and skewers of barbecued meats, to heaping Japanese okonomiyaki and velvety Indian duck curry. And along the way we were lucky enough to step into the lives of sumo wrestlers, Buddhist monks, seriously hip Korean American farmers and a pair of Chinese newlyweds raucously merging old and new world traditions. Now we’re hungrier than ever.
SEASON 2 EPISODES
TRENDING JAPANESE, 201
Japan has mesmerized American foodies for generations, and a new wave of Japanese culinary culture continues to intoxicate us. Exploring American manifestations of otaku, the Japanese trope that combines cutting-edge pop culture with fetishistic obsession, Danielle visits New York’s first cat cafe; a Brooklyn izakaya run by a Frenchman in thrall to Japanese anime and manga; and a California suburban mom who’s a star on the international bento box circuit. On a more traditional note, Danielle gets in the sumo ring with a 600-pound opponent before she helps him make chanko nabe, the sumo wrestler’s staple meal.
ASIAN FARM TO TABLE, 202
Farmers are the new rock stars of the food world, and in this episode, Danielle visits agriculturists large and small, traditional and cutting edge. Ross Koda, a third-generation Japanese-American, who runs a renowned Central Valley rice farm and hopes to keep it in the family. Kristyn Leach, a Korean adoptee, who hand grows artisanal, heirloom Asian produce for one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants. And on the gorgeous Half Moon Bay coast, a pair of electricians who saw a gap in the market, operating America’s first wasabi farm.
FOOD OF THE GODS, 203
The relationship between faith and food is evident at three Asian houses of worship: an imposing Buddhist temple where Danielle is served an artful vegetarian feast; a Sikh temple where she helps cook Indian flatbread for a communal meal where all are welcome; and a Queens mosque’s annual food fair, where she samples Indonesian dishes and learns about life as a Muslim in America.
MADE IN CHINA, 204
The rise of China has meant the rise of Chinese culinary traditions in America. Danielle checks out an industrial kitchen where traditional “confinement meals” are made for new mothers across the country; an underground Manhattan cocktail den whose main ingredient is the fiery liquor baijiu, the world’s most heavily consumed spirit; and a wedding in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown where old world and new meet at the banquet table and on the dance floor.
THE NEW INDIAN, 205
A new generation of chefs and entrepreneurs is finally bringing the amazing cooking of the world’s second-largest country to a broad American audience. Danielle interviews a former financier who offers a light, healthy take on Indian classics at his fast-casual start-up Inday; a Silicon Valley engineer who got her start in the food business selling homemade chai by bicycle in the hills of San Francisco; and the founder of Soho Tiffin Junction, another fast-casual concept, this one inspired by the classic Indian boxed lunches of his childhood.
TAIWAN’S TRUE FLAVORS, 206
Danielle gets back to her roots in an episode devoted to the distinctive, rustic cuisine of Taiwan. With Cathy Erway, author of “Foods of Taiwan,” she hits a Chinatown market and then makes the island’s most famous dish, beef noodle soup. At Taiwan Bear House, started by homesick young expats, she tries a New York take on the box lunches known as biandang. And in California’s OC, she pays a twilight visit to America’s closest counterpart to a classic Taiwanese night market.
ASIAN FOOD, AMERICAN DREAM, 207
Asian cuisine is increasingly the engine driving the growth of the American food industry. Danielle talks to an eclectic range of Asian-American entrepreneurs, from the likes of Lynda Trang Dai, once known as the Vietnamese Madonna, now the queen of banh mi sandwiches in Orange County’s Little Saigon to Charles Phan, the ground-breaking chef whose Slanted Door was named best restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation.
Lucky Chow is a new national public television series co-produced with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and Bruce Seidel / Hot Lemon Productions. The 6-episode series follows LUCKYRICE culinary festival founder Danielle Chang as she travels across America exploring the Asian food landscape. The series features many of the country’s most renowned chefs and culinary personalities, such as Top Chef winner Kristen Kish, YouTube sensation Maangchi, and ramen renegade chef Ivan Orkin. Check local stations for exact dates and times. Lucky Chow is a co-production of LUCKYRICE and Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
“So much has changed since we launched LUCKYRICE 6 years ago, and today Asian food is not only everywhere, it’s also innovating as a cuisine. Through Lucky Chow, we travel across the country to meet the chefs and personalities behind this movement.“ said LUCKYRICE Founder Danielle Chang.
SEASON 1 EPISODES
Japan’s famous noodle dish has swept America by storm, with diners waiting hours to slurp a bowl of noodles, and we travel across the country to reveal this mania. The episode kicks off with a ramen tutorial from Sun Noodles, who custom makes noodles for most of America’s ramen chefs, including Ivan Orkin, the renegade New Yorker-turned-Japanese ramen chef who we visit later in the episode. Next, we visit seafood purveyor-turned-ramen chef Yuji Haraguchi as he creates a “New York” version of his broth-less ramen dish mazemen (with interpretations of classic NY deli food such as “bacon and eggs” or “bagels with lox”) using sustainable and typically discarded seafood from the nearby Whole Foods Market. Tummies full, we check out as the new Ivan Ramen restaurant to discusses ramen culture in NY vs Tokyo. The episode then travels to Berkeley, CA, as we tour the local greenmarket with 3 former Chez Panisse chefs who traveled to Japan to learn about its ramen culture and have returned to the US to create The Ramen Shop which serves a locally sourced, seasonal, and sustainable Meyer Lemon Shoyu Ramen that takes from Japan’s infamous ramen culture but creates something wholly local and personal.
The two largest Korean populations in the US are in New York and Los Angeles, and we visit both to check out what distinguishes each. Whereas NY’s Koreatown butts against the Empire State Building, and is essential one-block long, LA’s Koreatown merges with the city’s Latino community and is practically a city on to itself. Both are 24-hour hubs of food and drinking culture. At dinner with Lisa Ling and her husband Paul Song, the chef /owner of Parks BBQ breaks down the basics of Korean cooking. Back in NY, we tour Manhattan’s K-town with author of Koreatown USA, Matt Rodbard, and stop in at Pocha 32, for some watermelon soju and budaejjigae. Later in the episode, at Saveur Magazine’s test kitchen (which happens to be located in K-town), Top Chef Winner Kristen Kish, a Seoul-born Korean adoptee, is receiving her first-ever Korean cooking lesson with us. Her teacher is Maangchi, the Korean housewife who is now a Youtube sensation and one of the web’s most beloved cooking instructors, and together we learn how to make kimchi.
CHINATOWN NYC, RE-IMAGINED
Perhaps more than any other Asian cuisine, Chinese food in America has evolved over the generations. We visit— and challenge— the borders of Manhattan’s Chinatown, through the lens of two third-generation young Chinese American restaurateurs who have changed how Americans define Chinese cuisine. Wilson Tang, of Nom Wah Tea Parlor, has inherited his family’s dim sum parlor (America’s oldest) to preserve its legacy while opening up a fine-dining Chinese restaurant with Chef Jonathan Wu on Chinatown’s expanding Lower East Side Jewish immigrant neighborhood. Speaking of cultural collisions, we also get a Peking Duck tutorial from Ed Schoenfeld, a self-proclaimed Chinese food expert who grew up Jewish in Brooklyn, yet has opened one of the most critically acclaimed Chinese restaurants today in New York alongside chef Joe Ng. The episode closes at Hakkasan, a mega-brand for Chinese food which was birthed in London by Alan Yau and now spawns nightclubs in Las Vegas as well as restaurants from Beverly Hills to Dubai to Shanghai. They’ve created a “global” brand for “Chinatown” that transcends boundaries.
NORTHERN THAI CUISINE, FROM LAS VEGAS TO LOS ANGELES
A food trend that epitomizes America’s insatiable palate for Asian food is grounded in its obsession with Northern Thai cuisine. Remarkably, the most well-known face of this trend is that of Andy Ricker, a Portland, OR-carpenter-turned chef, who has brought “authentic”, archival Thai food to America. In this episode, we travel to Las Vegas, where Andy Ricker prepares a welcome dinner for participating LUCKYRICE Festival chefs at the much-loved Lotus of Siam, off the strip in Las Vegas, with chef/owner Saipin Chutima at the helm. The duo work together to create their collective version of a Northern Laab, a typical Issan dish that is spicy, tasty drinking food in Chiang Mai. Jet Tila, who is at the table, rhapsodizes about the days when his family opened America’s first Thai grocery store in Hollywood, CA, and brought ingredients like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to the American palate. Later, we check out this legendary market, and pay a tribute at a local LA Thai temple, to usher us luck as Jet Tila travels to NYC to participate in LUCKYRICE’s annual James Beard House dinner, which this year focuses on Thai New Year (Songkram) prepared by Chef Jet along with a bevy of other Thai chefs including Pichet Ong and Hong Thaimee.
THE BAY AREA’S PACIFIC RIM CUISINE, as personified by Google
The Bay Area is perhaps the most Asian of any population outside of Asia. We visit the world headquarters for Google, which was founded in Silicon Valley in the South Bay city of Mountain View. Where “peach” orchards ran abundant just a generation ago, “Apple” (Computers) are now dominating and disrupting how the world functions. We meet with Olivia Wu, who designed the original Asian restaurant concepts “on campus”, including the home-style “Jia”, which remains one of the most popular restaurants on campus. We go behind the scenes with Baadal, Google’s first “sit-down” restaurant, which happens to be Indian, as we participate in the assembly line process that churns out 2,000 servings of the Indian fried rice dish, “Biryani” on “Biryani Fridays”. Driving away from Google, we visit some of their purveyors, who epitomize the ethos of the Bay Area food culture – which is local, seasonal and sustainable. We visit two retired Japanese semiconductor executives, who have constructed an indoor, vertical farm called Ecopia – which not only services some of the top restaurants in the Bay Area, but also uses a mere 3% of water vs traditional farming techniques, as they seek to redefine farming culture in the midst of global warming. After a career in Silicon Valley running Fortune 500 companies, they are returning to their original immigrant roots as farmers, right here before Silicon Valley was birthed. We end the episode at Hodo Soy Beanery, which started out making artisanal tofu products for a handful and has now proliferated into the mainstream just as Asian food products and palates have gone mainstream.
Filipinos comprise the second largest Asian American population nationwide (and the largest in California), but whose cuisine is relatively unknown. We explore this phenomenon with PJ Quesada, whose grew up working in his grandparents’ Filipino food factory and is now founder of the Filipino Food Movement, as we feast at his buddy Tim Luym’s global-Filipino restaurant, Attic. In Los Angeles, we visit Kristine de la Cruz, who is introducing Filipino flavors like ube with her unusual bakery, Crème Caramel. Back in NY, we meet Nicole Ponseca, an advertising executive who left her Madison Ave life, and her husband Chef Miguel Trinadad, to give voice to Filipino culture through food; their restaurants, Maharlika and Jeepney, are now on every foodies’ “must-try” lists and we sit down to “Kamayan” with Chef Susur Lee. Food is a powerful way for Asian cultures to give voice to tradition, and we see a new generation that is embracing this loud and clear.
From our home base in downtown Manhattan, the LUCKYRICE Festival spotlights Asian culture through annual food festivals that take place annually in 6 cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas and Chicago. We work with a hundreds of chefs across the country, and the LUCKYRICE Culinary Council, which includes José Andrés, Daniel Boulud, Floyd Cardoz, David Chang, Susur Lee, Anita Lo, Masaharu Morimoto, Pichet Ong, Zakary Pelaccio, Charles Phan, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Angelo Sosa, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Sang Yoon. Please visit www.luckyrice.com for more information.
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For more information on CAAM, please visit www.caamedia.org.
Lucky Chow is a co-production of LUCKYRICE and Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).