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.
American obsession with Japanese obsessiveness. Japanese style cat cafe in New York, a French Japanophile opens an unlikely okonomiyaki business and Danielle learns to throw her weight around with sumo wrestlers hungry for chanko nabe.
Kristyn Leach farms organic heirloom Korean produce in the East Bay for hot SF restaurant Namu Gaji. Ross Koda is a third generation Japanese American rice farmer in the central valley. Tim Hall and Jeff Roller are the only fresh wasabi farmers in the entire US.
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 to sample Indonesian dishes and learning about life as a Muslim in America.
“Confinement meals” are made for new mothers across the country. An underground Manhattan cocktail den whose main ingredient is baijiu. 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.
Breaking away from a culinary monoculture. Inday by Basu Ratnam, Tiffin Junction by Jawahar Chirimai, Pawaari Kothari’s Chai Cart and Jesse and Jennifer Singh bring Babu Ji to Alphabet City.
Making Taiwanese beef noodle soup with Cathy Erway, author of Foods of Taiwan. Homesick young expats open Taiwan Bear House and specialize in biandang. A twilight visit to 626 Night Market in California’s Orange County.
Asian-American entrepreneurs share the secrets of their success: Tim Wildin, the young Chipotle executive who launches Thai-inspired Shophouse; Lynda Trang Dai, once known as the Vietnamese Madonna and now the queen of banh mi sandwiches in Orange County’s Little Saigon; and Charles Phan, the ground-breaking chef of Slanted Door.