Category: Food

Andrew Lam

'Shh-Thanks-Givin': My First Thanksgiving in America -- A Former Refugee Remembers

By Andrew Lam, Nov 19, 2012 1:54 PM

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I wrote this piece a few years back but everyt Thankgiving, it finds meanings and renewals, sort of like that movie "It's a Wonderful Life," starring Jimmy Steward, at Christmas time. So here it is again, and enjoy. Andrew

 "Thanks-giving," said Mr. K., my seventh-grade English teacher. "Repeat after me: Thanksgiving."

"Ssshthanks give in," I said, but the word tumbled and hissed, turning my mouth into a wind tunnel. A funny word, "Ssshthanks give in," hard on my Vietnamese tongue, tough on my refugee's ears.

"That's good," said Mr. K., full of encouragement. "Very good. Thanksgiving."

As I helped him tape students' drawings of turkeys and pilgrims and Indians on the classroom windows, Mr. K. patiently explained to me the origins of the holiday. You know the story: newcomers to America struggling, surviving and finally thriving in the New World, thanks to the kindness of the natives.

I could barely speak a complete sentence in English, having spent less than three months in America, but Mr. K.'s story wasn't all that difficult to grasp. Still, I didn't particularly see what it could have to do with me.

My family and I had arrived in America several months earlier, at the end of the Vietnam War. My father, a high-ranking officer in the South Vietnamese army, was missing, having adamantly refused to join us when we fled in a cargo plane heading out of Saigon two days before communist tanks rolled in. Father -- who had stayed in Vietnam determined to fight to the end in the jungle -- was the center of our lives, and his absence left a horrible void.

We had arrived in America with nothing but rags in our backpacks and a few ounces of gold that my mother had tucked into her money belt. An impoverished aunt took us all in. Soon there were 10 people crowding together in Auntie Lisa's tiny two-bedroom apartment at the end of Mission Street in San Francisco.

Today, in her suburban condo at the edge of California's Silicon Valley, my mother is fond of referring to our first year in America as "a time of living like wandering ghosts." We had, after all, gone from being an elite family in Saigon, with three servants and a villa, to being exiles with little to our name. We did not speak English and had no discernible skills. Without Father, who was educated and spoke English, we were destined for a life of poverty.

In that refugee's broken home, there was an oppressive silence. We ate in silence in the dining room that served as a bedroom at night. We waited silently in line for the bathroom, slept silently side by side, as if saying anything would only bring us all to tears.

Indeed, Mr. K, what was there to be thankful for?

Ah, but there was.

A few days after Mr. K. explained Thanksgiving to me, something marvelous happened: My father called. He had survived, and would soon join us, having changed his mind and escaped aboard a crowded naval ship from Saigon.

When Father arrived he was skinny and haggard, no longer the war hero of my memories, but he nevertheless brought jubilation into our lives. I remember hearing my mother laugh, hearing the adults gossip and argue, and sometimes I would close my eyes, pretending that we were all still living in Saigon. One morning I looked in the mirror and was surprised to see a boy's face smiling back at me.

As the holiday drew near, I had a change of heart about Thanksgiving. If Vietnam's final act of mercy was to release its grip on my father, America was generosity itself. As in Mr. K's story, it was populated by friendly natives who helped us out. There was that businessman at the L.A. airport, a stranger, who offered to pay for my entire family's plane tickets to San Francisco when we left the refugee camp of Pendleton. In school my friends Remigio, Tai, Marvin, Wayne, Robert -- white, black, Filipino, Mexican kids -- all adopted me. Eric taught me to play baseball; 200-pound Tai protected me from the rowdy kids; and Robert, the popular blue-eyed jock, offered to take me on vacation with his family. And best of all Mr. K., ever patient and nurturing, made me his pet. Whenever I missed the bus, or even simply asked, he would drive me home after school.

That Thanksgiving my family gathered on the floor and ate two gigantic turkeys donated by religious charities. The kids fought over the food and the adults talked about job prospects. There was even talk of a possible trip next summer to the place I equated with paradise: Disneyland.

Sssthanks give in. Thanksgiving.

We have moved into the middle class since then. My father retired from his job as a bank executive, my mother from hers as an accountant. My brother and his wife are successful suburban engineers. My sister lives in a luxury condo downtown San Francisco and, not far away, I in mine. Thanksgiving at my brother's home this year will be replete with wines and seafood and crab and yes, turkey, and fabulous Vietnamese dishes. But the Thanksgiving I remember with fond memories is the first one, where we ate on the floor and wore donated clothes, and when I was just learning to pronounce the word.

New America Media editor, Andrew Lam is the author of "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora" (Heyday Books, 2005), which recently won a Pen American "Beyond the Margins" award and "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres." His next book, "Birds of Paradise Lost" is due out in 2013. He has lectured and read his work widely at many universities.

Andrew Lam

Salad Days: Becoming A Vegetarian To Remember Grandma

By Andrew Lam, Oct 23, 2012 10:11 AM

 SAN FRANCISCO -- For a period of a month sometime ago I became a vegetarian. Some people won't eat meat because they think it's cruel to animals, or because of health concerns. My reason is a little different: it is love.

I simply wanted to honor my grandmother's memory by not eating meat. A devout Buddhist, grandma spent a large part of her life as a vegetarian, and some of my fondest childhood memories in Vietnam were sharing a meal with her.

In fact, as a child, I learned how to appreciate food not from fancy dishes my mother regularly whipped up, but from the simple meals my grandmother prepared. In her presence a piece of crunchy green pickled eggplant was incredibly delicious, and fried tofu dipped in sweetened soy sauce delectable.

Edgardo Cervano-Soto

In Soda Tax Debate, Who Endorses Health?

By Edgardo Cervano-Soto, Sep 17, 2012 2:33 PM

It is a guarantee that while watching television, a soda commercial featuring a celebrity, musician or athlete will run at least once. In fact, for many celebrities, having their likeness appear in soda commercials symbolizes the attainment of world-wide fame. Think of the Michael Jackson and Beyonce Pepsi commercials, or Coca-Cola’s commercials featuring Michael Jordan, and more recently athletes from the 2012 London Olympics.

Stephanie Espinoza

School is Out, But Lunch is Still Being Served

By Stephanie Espinoza, Jul 3, 2012 1:58 PM

Summer is supposed to be a time when kids can break free from the rigors of school. But for some, it also means no more school lunches, which is why districts around the state are taking the initiative to make sure their kids stay well fed.

Sarah Damian

Latino Poultry Worker Safety at Increased Risk Under USDA Proposal

By Sarah Damian, May 10, 2012 12:05 AM

Food integrity concerns regarding USDA's proposal to streamline poultry inspection under the HAACP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) – which would increase production line speeds and reduce government oversight – have been raised by consumer advocates and whistleblowers alike (including anonymous federal inspectors). Another significant, but often-overlooked, issue is the impact these proposed changes would have on the health and safety of the plant workers.

Andrew Lam

Avian Flu Crisis - A Question of When

By Andrew Lam, Jan 4, 2012 10:30 AM

 A man recently died from the Bird Flu, known as the H5N1 virus, in Shenzhen, China, raising the spector of a pandemic, given the strain is known to be deadly, with a high fatality rate somewhere above 60%. The country is now on high alert. Here's an old interview that may be useful to those wanting to know a little more about the virus.   

Q&A: Avian Flu Crisis - A Question of When

Interview with Dr. David Relman, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University

By Andrew Lam, New America Media

The avian flu virus, H5N1, has the potential to kill millions once it learns how to jump from human to human. So far, most people who become infected have worked with live chickens. But scientists say it's a matter of time before avian flu makes the leap. The virus most recently surfaced in Indonesia, where four people have died.

Sep 22, 2005

NAM: Should we ask if avian flu will jump from animal-to-human transmission to human-to-human transmission -- or is it a question of when?

DR: It probably is a question of when, not if. This virus is progressing right down the path you would predict for a virus that will eventually become quite good at human-to-human transmission.

NAM: Is there a timeline?

DR: That's the hard thing. Some people say it could be as early as this winter. Those of a more optimistic sort say maybe two years, or five. I think the really important question is, when it acquires that capability (human-to-human transmission), what will it cost the virus? Most people think it won't be as virulent.

NAM: Since the number of people who have died so far is small, can we really speculate about the number of fatalities avian flu could cause?

DR: Right now, of the known cases of avian flu in humans, it has killed about 50 percent. The big question is, are there others out there walking the streets, sitting in their homes, eating dinner and talking to their family members who have become infected and didn't even become sick? I don't think there are many. There are some surveys out there of blood from people who are healthy to see if they have evidence of exposure to this virus, and there haven't been many episodes or incidences of that. But it's still possible.

NAM: How will it be transmitted among humans? I imagine if it is airborne, like SARS, it is going to be very contagious.

DR: Correct. It almost certainly will behave just like all the influenza viruses before it, meaning that it will be aerosol-transmitted. In fact, the current human-to-human flu viruses that we all experience each winter are more transmissible than SARS. They actually become transmitted easily through fine-particle aerosols, person to person. SARS required large droplets or even direct contact.

NAM: I was traveling in Asia near the beginning and at the end of the SARS epidemic, and the attitude regarding SARS, especially in big cities, was one of sheer panic. Yet with avian flu the attitude is 180 degrees different. In Hanoi friends said to me, "Oh, it's just farmers who get it, so just don't eat chicken now and you'll be OK."

DR: It probably reflects something about human nature. At the time you're talking about, during the height of the SARS event, there were a lot of people who were sick. There were hospitals that were shut down. There was already a fairly substantial impact on the health care system in a few major world cities.

We're not there yet with Avian flu. I think the inevitable course will be that this virus will become better at human-to-human transmission, and when it does that, SARS unfortunately may look like quite a small little blip.

NAM: What about the new vaccine being developed against avian flu?

DR: The vaccine does appear to induce what should be protective immunity in humans. That's the good news. The bad news is that even with the prototype vaccine in hand, we still don't have the production infrastructure to make enough doses quickly. If every vaccine producing factory in the world were devoted solely to the purpose of making this new influenza vaccine, at current levels of production we would only have enough for maybe 50 to 100 million doses worldwide, for a whole population that needs 10 times more doses.

NAM: Why do you think the last few diseases of concern -- SARS, avian flu and now swine flu -- all seem to originate from one particular area, either Southeast Asia or South China?

DR: For reasons that are still unclear, influenza, even yearly, seems to evolve out of the bird population of Southeast Asia. Nobody knows why. SARS seems to also have found a natural home in animal populations of China, and then moved into humans when those animals were moved about. But every continent has its sites for the origin of a new emerging infection.

NAM: But are there common conditions that promote the development and spread of such viruses?

DR: Where you see emerging infections around the globe, you see dislocations of animals, you see disease in animals because of crowding, you see displacements of humans, crowding of humans, poor sanitary conditions, poor hygiene, war, famine -- anything that perturbs what might have previously been a fine-tuned balance in nature.

NAM: Has our changing relationship with animals encouraged the rise of new diseases?

DR: There have been major changes in the way we manage animal populations. One of the most important in the more developed world is the rise of very large-scale, industrial scale livestock management, farming that involves populations of hundreds of thousands of millions of animals all packed together. It's easy to see where an infectious agent might have lived and died within a small population of animals, but now has the opportunity to move within millions very easily.

We also move animals about the globe in ways that we never ever did ten, 20 years ago. Look at monkey pox, which showed up in the United States two years ago. How did it get here? We are importing millions of exotic strains and species of animals that have no place being in North America, due to Americans' desires for exotic and unusual pets.

NAM: So basically the rise of new diseases, or a lot of them anyway, are the direct cause of our human behavior?

DR: Correct. We are at fault in many ways.

NAM: But with technology we are also quicker in defining and isolating the cause of diseases.

DR: Yes, you have to hope that on the one hand, while we're the cause of many of our own problems, we are also the potential solution.

Lam is author of "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora,"  and "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres." His third book, "Birds of Paradise" is due out in 2013.

Andrew Lam

Christmas in Dalat, Christmas in San Francisco

By Andrew Lam, Dec 23, 2011 8:39 PM

I wrote this a few years back but since it's Christmas time, here it is again.. enjoy..

 Wild orchids and colored, painted pine cones – these things I remember of Christmas in Vietnam. It was in Dalat, the mountain city with its persistent fog and whispering pine forests, that I first celebrated Christmas. My father had been transferred there after the 1968 Tet offensive, and he brought the entire family with him.

The distant bombing and the tropical heat of Sadec in the Mekong Delta were replaced by Dalat’s cool fresh breezes and romantic lakes. I was 5 years old, a child running free on fallen pine needles and tall green grass in the forest as I searched for wild mushrooms, pine cones and orchids for Christmas decorations. My older brother, sister and I would each carry a wicker basket and eventually fill them with all that nature had to offer. Those days we never bought any Christmas decorations.

We used to sing. And by singing, I mean spontaneously. As children we were not at all self-conscious and sang with gusto and often off key, but always with gusto. In the woods, early in the morning, we sang Christmas carols and chased each other, and sometimes the neighborhood kids would join in. Afterwards, our sweaters and hair would be embedded with pollen and pine needles. Dalat was a sparsely populated town then, and our laughter and singing echoed and resonated in the dew-covered forest.

At home we helped our mother decorate the Christmas tree. Its fresh pine fragrance brought the whole forest inside with us. My mother would roll cotton into shapes of little chicks and angels with wings and place them on the tree. The cones and mushrooms she painted green and red and blue and hung them everywhere in the living room. These ornaments were all the decorations we needed.

When my paternal grandmother came downstairs all dressed up in her ao dai dress, she would take us to mass. She held my hand and led me and my siblings on the dirt road to a local church whose bells rang out in the air. Though I wasn’t a Catholic, I remember feeling a spiritual devotion in that church. Everyone was smartly dressed and smiling. People sang and read their psalms. Afterwards the priest distributed candy for the children. I remember it was early evening, the sun had sunk behind a bank of fog as we walked home, the world was glowing in a lavender hue.

But before going home we would stop by the Hoa Binh market to buy some fruit and baguettes. Children with pink round cheeks held their mothers’ hands, and young adults in their best clothes walked around to show off their attire. The strawberries and plums we would eat on the way home.

At home, the best part of the Christmas dinner was dessert. My mother, a consummate baker, would make the traditional buche de Noel, a chocolate covered cake in the shape of a log with a tiny Santa Clause sitting on top. Then my father would open the champagne and pour each of us a glass. We didn’t receive any gifts as children did in America, but we didn’t need any and never felt the loss.

That was my favorite memory of Christmas in Vietnam. If you think that such a memory is out of place for a country whose image is full of conical-hatted figures working in the rice fields, then you haven’t been to Dalat. Dalat, built by the French as a hill station resort, was for the most part a peaceful town, until near the end of the war. For those of us who had the fortune to live there, the war was often at a distance. Unlike the popular American belief shaped by Hollywood films, Vietnamese did not always live under constant terror and in half-burned villages. Instead, what we had in Dalat was a gentle, small town life that I haven’t found again living here in America.

These days our Christmas is a big celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area. My paternal grandmother is long gone, but the Christmas trees are heavy with trinkets and baubles at my siblings’ households. We vie to show off to one another how well we decorate our homes. Santa on the roof; reindeer on the lawn. Our Christmas dinner is often replete with seafood and my father’s favorite dish, bouillabaisse, and, of course, roasted turkey and wines and champagnes. It is a testiment, I suppose, to how well we have fared in the land of plenty.

So many years have passed since the war ended, yet it is not the horrors of war that dwell now in my mind during Christmas time. It’s the transcending peace in a tranquil world that is now lost.

Dalat, too, like the rest of Vietnam, is crowded with people and the trees are fewer and the forests thinned. Even the weather had changed, growing warmer with fewer trees.

Still, I bet there are children running and laughing, as before, among the pine needles and singing brooks on that high plateau I once called home.

Andrew Lam is author of "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora" and the upcoming "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres."  

Peter Schurmann

Sikh Diwali in Union City

By Peter Schurmann, Oct 27, 2011 3:21 PM

“Do you see that pole,” my friend asks as we approach a crowd gathered around a glowing bed of candles. “In the Punjab, you can see that pole for miles… travelers know it means food and shelter.” There’s one in front of all Sikh temples.

The candles illuminate a sea of faces, young and old, in flowing saris and neatly folded turbans. It is Diwali, and for the Sikh community in Union City, it is a time for prayer, reflection and of course food.

“You must come,” insists my friend, a native of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, his eyes glowing as he describes the festive atmosphere that attends the annual celebration.

Originally a Hindu festival marking the return of the Prince Rama from his banishment in the forest, Sikhs commemorate the release by the Mughal emperor of an imprisoned patriarch, who insisted that all the other inmates be freed along with him.

“Hindus come for the food,” my friend’s wife says, with pride or sarcasm it’s hard to say. And indeed there is plenty, enough to feed the throngs of people that continue to stream in from all directions. Lines ebb and flow, widening here and thinning out there, a pulsating river of light and fabric.

The sound of prayer echoes from within.

“No one wants to get on Laxmi’s bad side,” says my friend and guide, pointing out that during this time people come to pray to the Hindu goddess of fortune. Nearing the altar I place a dollar in the tray and then bow, touching my head to the floor. My son dips his fingers into a cup of sweet bean paste, wondering at the scene.

The aroma of spiced chickpeas and fried poori pulls at me like an unseen, irresistible force. We come to the communal eating area and file into line. “When I was young, I used to get really upset at those who tried to cut… see them there.” He points as a group of elderly women make their way toward the front.

We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore…

I wonder at the mix of old and new… at the coming together of a centuries-old faith, bearded and wise, with the childlike exuberance that is Silicon Valley, with its indoor skydiving and flood-lit soccer fields. Kids walk past, their accents clearly California, their faith rooted in the scene that envelops us.

It is community, the “We” that sustains and is sustained through sharing, through eating and praying together. “This is the heart of the temple,” my friend tells me, pointing to a room where volunteers are busy doling out an endless stream of food and water.

He introduces me to several friends, including a former journalist who took to radio after leaving Amritsar in the Punjab, and another who went from farming and driving trucks to sponsoring programs fostering the development of Sikh art and dance.

As we leave my friend tells me of another gathering in Yuba City, Ca., set to happen in a couple of weeks. He says it dwarfs today’s event, drawing people from Sikh communities around the state, a day-long event promising food, shelter and spiritual nourishment for all comers.

Andrew Lam

"Feasting Meets Philanthropy" at OneVietnam's SF Street Eats Gala

By Andrew Lam, Aug 27, 2011 3:19 PM

Foodies, techies and their friends who want to eat well and help the organization that bills itself as the "Facebook" of the Vietnamese Diaspora will be heading to the San Francisco Ferry Building for SF Street Eats on Sept 18. The charity gala will support, a global online network for the Vietnamese community.

Spearheaded by Slanted Door chef and owner, Charles Phan, the upper floor of the posh building known for its gourmet food and weekend farmers markets, will be turned into a gallery of food and
drinks galore. Participants can sample international cuisine from well-known chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Michelin starred Ame, and ramen dishes from chef Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen. Many dishes will be from Vietnamese chefs -- spring rolls from chef Khai Duong from Ana Mandara's and Asian flavor (guava, shiraja, durian) chocolate from chocolatier Susan Lieu, for instance. Want a Vietnamese sandwich?

Try Vietnamese banh me from the Nom Nom truck, which was featured on food networks The "Great Food Truck Race.”

"Wine and dessert will also be in continuous supply and, in addition to the company of great guests, live entertainment will also be provided," notes OneVietnam's business director, Uyen Nguyen.
"Seriously, folks, this is where gourmand meets gourmet and feasting meets philanthropy."

For more info: go to

Andrew Lam is author of East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.

Sarah Damian

Cautious Optimism on Chinese Food Whistleblower Protections

By Sarah Damian, Aug 2, 2011 12:20 PM

Whoa. A food safety whistleblower reward program … in China? The ongoing food crisis in the country has finally moved the government to compensate those who provide information on wrongdoing in the industry. The notion of paying individuals who take the bold step to expose corruption and abuse, instead of antagonizing them (which is disconcertingly common), is significant. Before we shower China with praise, however, we should consider what we know about the country’s treatment of whistleblowers.

Jonah Most

Ethnic Americans Consume Large Share of Mercury-tainted Fish

By Jonah Most, Jun 15, 2011 11:50 AM

Ethnic Americans face a high risk of mercury poisoning, but they don’t always know it. New data from a Sierra Club-commissioned study reveals that high rates of subsistence fishing among minorities contribute to high levels of mercury in the body, which can affect the nervous system, especially in unborn babies and children.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Being Surprised by the Lunar Calendar, Dragon Boat Festival, and the Sudden Maturity of Our Children

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jun 15, 2011 10:59 AM

The tricky thing about using a lunar calendar is that if you are not paying attention — or if you have not properly aligned your lunar calendar with your regular planner — holidays and festivals can sneak up on you unawares.

Vivian Po

Grandma's Secret Fried-Chicken Recipe Reappears on Hawaiian-Chinese Food Truck

By Vivian Po, Apr 29, 2011 7:44 PM

Food trucks and the customers who love them are gathering at Fort Mason tonight for another “Off the Grid” street food party, a mobile food festival that serves up tasty treats in various locations every week. One of the food trucks featured at tonight’s event is IZ IT Fresh Grill, which serves up Hawaiian-Chinese fusion -- and a secret fried chicken recipe known to many who have visited Kwong Shing market on Clement Street.

Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam reading from East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres

By Andrew Lam, Apr 4, 2011 1:23 PM

Author Andrew Lam read excerpts from his new book East Eats West and discussed the unexpected consequences of the Vietnamese diaspora. He concentrated not only on how the East and West have changed, but how they are changing each other. Lam is an editor and cofounder of New American Media, an association of over two thousand ethnic media outlets in America. Followed by a film crew back to his homeland, Vietnam, he was featured in the documentary My Journey Home which aired nationwide on PBS in 2004. His book Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won a PEN American Beyond Margins award in 2006.

Elena Shore

The End of the Mission Enchilada?

By Elena Shore, Jan 31, 2011 10:35 AM

As gourmet eateries pop up all over the Mission District and Mexican restaurants close down, the Spanish-language newspaper El Mensajero asks: "Is this the end of the enchilada in the Mission?"

Elena Shore

Bakeries: No Trans Fats Means Bread Costs More Dough

By Elena Shore, Dec 22, 2010 11:35 AM

On Jan. 1, California will become the first state in the country to ban trans fats, which have been linked to an increase in bad cholesterol, obesity and heart disease. The law, AB 97, was approved in January 2010, and gave bakeries one year to adapt to the new rules. But although it might be good for people's health, the change isn't doing any favors for the health of small businesses, reports La Opinión.

Odette Keeley

Filipino Culinary Showdown in SF

By Odette Keeley, Dec 10, 2010 3:35 PM

The grand finals of the first-ever Filipino Culinary Showdown or “Kulinarya” in San Francisco on Dec. 4 saw both veterans and newcomers triumph, reports Asian Journal.

Andrew Lam

Vietnamese Sandwich King Dies

By Andrew Lam, Dec 8, 2010 12:25 PM

The Ray Kroc of banh mi--Vietnamese sandwiches--is dead.

This weekend hundreds flocked to San Jose for the funeral of Le Van Ba, the founder of Lee’s Sandwiches. A boat person who escaped from Vietnam, Le operated a lunch wagon with his son and, with the help of the rest of his family, turned it into a multi-million dollar company and made Vietnamese sandwiches famous in America.

Andrew Lam

East Eats West: A Cultural Dance

By Andrew Lam, Nov 24, 2010 10:09 PM

Andrew Lam, Vietnam-born author of "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres" and "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora," will discuss the cultural consequences of immigration from Asia to the West including the effects of Asian taste, cuisine and martial arts on the American imagination and issues of religion, identity, and family in the new world where East and West overlap. Lam is also cofounder and editor of New American Media, the largest ethnic media association in the United States.

"East Eats West," Andrew Lam from Visual Communications LRN RES on Vimeo.

Dec. 7th, 2010 - Andrew Lam talks about East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres ($14.95). In this collection of 21 personal essays, Lam, the award-winning author of Perfume Dreams, continues to explore the Vietnamese diaspora, this time concentrating not only on how the East and West have changed but how they are changing each other.


1 Ferry Building

San Francisco, California


Vivian Po

Food Banks Feeding More Than the Needy

By Vivian Po, Nov 23, 2010 5:05 PM

During the holiday season, families in need depend on food banks to put meals on the table for their loved ones, but professional "food bank crashers" are taking advantage of the free food for profit, reports David Huang for the Sing Tao Daily.