Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875
Author Phyllis Louise Harris, Author Raghavan Iyer
Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 1, 2012)
A culinary tour to the cuisines of Asia as they have appeared on Minnesota tables over the decades, the distinctive flavors of faraway homes with a midwestern twist.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when you couldn’t go out for Chinese food in Minnesota, but there was—until brothers and entrepreneurs Woo Yee Sing and Woo Du Sing opened their Canton restaurant (later called John’s place) in Minneapolis in 1883. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and Cambodian immigrants have left an indelible and flavorful mark on our collective culinary history. Many cooks sought not only to make a living but also to preserve the memory of their homeland through the dishes set before family and patrons alike, to the great benefit of diners from the metro area to Duluth to the Red River Valley.
Asian Flavors includes interviews with pioneering chefs, features on beloved restaurants, stories of farmers and food businesses, and, of course, more than 150 treasured recipes that have nourished and inspired Minnesotans. Try Dar Cheen Chicken from Wing Ying Huie’s Chinese Lantern in Duluth, or Supenn Harrison’s egg rolls made famous at her state fair booth beginning in 1976, or Reiko Weston’s sukiyaki from the original Fuji Ya in Minneapolis. Let Asian food experts Phyllis Louise Harris and Raghavan Iyer take you on a tour through this comprehensive history, lavishly illustrated with historical and contemporary photography, from the Philippines to South Korea to Nepal, from the 1870s through today.
Phyllis Louise Harris teaches Asian cooking and was food editor of Asian Pages for two decades.
Collaborator Raghavan Iyer is author of Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking, The Turmeric Trail, and 660 Curries.
They are cofounders of Asian Culinary Arts Institutes in Minneapolis.
Reviews and news
Reviews for Asian Flavors
TC Daily Planet review
MPR’s Asian Food in Minnesota Quiz
A co-production by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships (tpt MN). Winner of the 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award in the Cultural Documentary category!
Watch the documentary on tpt.org.
Inspired by the book Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, this thirty minute documentary celebrates Asian immigrants who have left an indelible and flavorful mark on Minnesota's culinary, cultural, and economic history.
Culinary educator, chef, author, consultant and co-founder with Phyllis Louise Harris of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes, Ltd, Raghavan Iyer narrates this documentary highlighting the exciting history and array of Asian food in Minnesota.
Profiles and interviews with chefs, restaurant owners, business owners and culinary professionals include Supenn Harrison, founder of Sawatd Reiko Weston of Fuji Ya; Mhonpaj Lee and her mother May Yia Lee, operators of Mhonpaj’s Garden; Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola; Thom Pham; and Harry Singh.
Food connects homes left behind with where we live today. Asian Flavors is the story of adventurous people who made the arduous journey halfway around the world to live in Minnesota, fleeing oppression and persecution or in search of jobs and education, and created new homes through food. Many cooks sought not only to make a living but also to preserve the memory of their homeland through the dishes set before family and patrons alike, to the great benefit of diners in the Twin Cities metro area.
Special thanks to:
Leeann Chin, Inc.
Chinese Heritage Foundation
Dennis Christian, Theo A. Park, and Sherri Gebert Fuller ;In Memory of Lucia Jane Wilson
David Fong’s Restaurant
David and Evelyn Lee
- 256 pages
- 105 color and b&w illustrations
- 9 x 11 inches
- ISBN: 9780873518642