Category Archives: Food

Recreating My Favorite Dishes

By Sarah Selke

[3 minute read]

After asking several students in ALI conversation groups what they missed most about their homes, the unanimous response I received was simply, “food.” Despite the wide array of restaurants in Los Angeles featuring cuisines from all around the world, it is hard for many international students to find what they would consider be truly authentic good food.

A student I recently conversed with talked about the food from his hometown, Chengdu, a city known for its spicy cuisine. Although he likes trying other cuisines, nothing beats Sichuan food. Speaking of the various similarities and differences between regional cuisines in China, I proclaimed my own partiality to Shanghainese food, which is known for having more sweet and sour flavors. One dish that I especially love is Sheng Jian Bao, which roughly translates to pan-fried buns filled with pork inside. This dish can be found throughout China, but is most common in Shanghai, where it is commonly sold as street food.  

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Thinking about food left me with a craving to make my own Sheng Jian Bao. Ever since I tried the dish on a trip to Shanghai several years ago, I had been looking for a place in the San Gabriel Valley that would meet my expectations. Unfortunately, none of the restaurants I visited succeeded in matching the ones I had eaten abroad. Finally, over a recent three-day weekend, I looked online for a recipe and decided to try a hand at making the dish myself. It was a long process: gathering all the necessary ingredients, letting the yeasted dough rise, seasoning the meat, wrapping the buns, then steaming them. Although the whole affair was rather tedious, the buns turned out to be delicious – perhaps not quite as perfect as the ones I had eaten in Shanghai, but enough to be worth the preparation effort. 

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Local Los Angeles Hotspots Outside of Downtown

By Melissa Kitagawa

As a person who has lived in Los Angeles her entire life, I have gotten the chance to explore Los Angeles for years. Here are some places that stand out to me and I still continue to visit every year.

The Grove

Photo by Steve Rosset

Everyone in Los Angeles has been to The Grove at least once. Most of the stores are more high-end, but many people just go because of the bright lights and warm atmosphere. However, if you go, the best time to go is at night when the view is best. My personal favorite part is the farmer’s market. They have cheap, tasty food and the best crepes.

Top of the World

This is a very local secret. It is hidden in the hills of Pacific Palisades. Not many people know of this place and I just found out about it recently. It does take a bit of a drive to get here, but it’s worth it. It gives you the best Los Angeles view possible. From here you can see the whole Los Angeles coastline and at night, the view is even more stunning.

Griffith Observatory

Photo by Tom Benson

The Griffith Observatory is a very common and popular site to visit. They have popular shows where they project the night sky on a screen on the ceiling indoors. However, many people enjoy coming here to see the night view of Los Angeles, especially the night lights of downtown.

Sawtelle Blvd.

Sawtelle is a street but from Sawtelle and Pico to Sawtelle and La Grange, there are tons of popular Asian stores. Many locals visit this area often. It has the city’s best ramen, lots of boba choices, and yummy sweets. It is open very late, so if you want some midnight ramen, this is the perfect place to go. One particularly popular place here is Bsweet. They have warm doughnuts filled with ice cream and all different kinds of warm fudge topped with ice cream.

Culver City Stairs

Photo from Wikipedia

The official name is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but locals call it the Culver City Stairs. This is another popular scenic view; however, most people come here to exercise. Visitors range from children to adults to whole teams who come here to exercise. The individual stairs are tall and the climb is long, but once you’re at the top, you can take a rewarding picture to document your achievement.

Featured Image by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Melissa is a freshman majoring in Business Administration and minoring in East Asian Studies. She graduated as valedictorian and spent her summer before college volunteering at the 2017 Summer Taipei Universade. She is half Japanese and half Taiwanese but has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. Every year she visits friends and family in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin fluently. Her interests include playing basketball, traveling, and socializing. She is eager to share her experiences while learning about your experiences.

Cooking in College

By Brianneth Rocha

            There is a lot to prepare for as an incoming college student, or even as a current student. For those getting ready to live on campus, the list of things to do is endless. Whether it is preparing for your courses, purchasing appliances, assembling a grocery list, I would argue that the most important way to prepare is learning how to cook. I am currently a sophomore living in an apartment, which has taught me to be a little more independent. In particular, I have started learning how to cook, something which is much more complicated than it seems. I can tell you now that the first few attempts will not go perfectly, so don’t give up! I have provided some of the easiest recipes for any beginner. All of these recipes have ingredients that can be substituted to fit various diets. Now especially might be a good time to get a head start on practicing these simple recipes while we are all at home in quarantine. You can even ask your family to evaluate how good your cooking skills are by taste-testing!

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