Stuff Asian People Like

A "Fresh Off the Boat" Perspective on Asian Culture– This blog is devoted to stuff that asian people like

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#145 Being Crazy Rich Asians

Posted June 22nd, 2020 by Peter · No Comments

If you’ve ever walked the halls of Berkeley, UCSD, Irvine, or UCLA; you’ve probably asked yourself if 50% of students are some flavor of Asian. You’ve also wondered why all the super cars are owned by international students. You take it a step further, and watch Crazy Rich Asians– expecting a poorly scripted romantic comedy but having your world turned upside down. Finally, you realize: We’ve been the poor ones all along.

Constance Wu on FASHION Magazine September 2018 Cover

Asian students have extremely high recognition in academia and higher education: Acceptance rate is close to 34.2% UC-wide, but at the aforementioned institutions, the incoming freshman acceptance rate is over 45%! Many of these students hail from Orange County, Irvine, and the Bay Area; but a good amount are international students whose parents have purchased homes for them as appreciating investments. This has driven up housing prices to the tune of an all time high median of $715,000 in Orange County. It’s much higher in the Bay Area. This has also priced residents out of their own markets, while a huge amount of rental dollars go to foreign investors.

When you think about how Asians amass this wealth, it’s a simple matter of Total Addressable Markets. If one were to calculate the U.S. TAM for Asian Americans, it would be about 12m total. At its peak, Fresh Off the Boat hit a rating of 6m viewers. That’s it. A prime-time ABC show. Online views included.

On the flip side, how many asian people are in Asia? Think about the scale of your message, and what the reach can really be if you exhaust every Asian country. You’ll realize that Asian people actually comprise over 50% of the world’s GDP and spending power. Asian Central is now a global outreach and logistics firm. Please contact us at if you’d like to have your messages heard across the globe.

A very special thank you to Constance Wu, John Cho, and even Anna May Wong for paving the way!

What are your experiences with Crazy Rich Asians? Comment below!

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Stuff Asian People Like Book Deal!

Posted June 13th, 2020 by Peter · 1 Comment

We received enough funding to finally release Stuff Asian People Like’s Definitive Guide to White People today.

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#144 Donnie Yen (Ip Man 3 DVD Release)

Posted April 27th, 2016 by Peter · No Comments

When you think about the small A-list (“Asian-list,” get it?) of mainstream martial artists that are portrayed in western and eastern culture, it’s hard to ignore #27 Jackie Chan#33 Jet Li & Bruce Lee. Jackie Chan is cast in mostly creative, comedic, and heartwarming roles– while Jet Li and Bruce Lee were more often tough, robotic, and technically dazzling. Donnie Yen fits the latter mold. In IP MAN 1/2/3, he plays Wing Chun’s top martial artist and master teacher, “Ip Man” (also known as “Yip Man” or by his real name Yip Kai-man). He’s also Bruce Lee’s teacher in case you didn’t know!

Yen himself started learning wushu and tai-chi at the age of 4 from his mother– martial arts master Bow Sim Mark. He moved to Boston when he was 11, and there became well versed in Karate, Tae-Kwon-Do, Kickboxing, and boxing of course. Yen later studied under Chinese martial arts Master Wu Bin, who coached Jet Li. It really shows during intense fight scenes that he is one of the most versatile artists/athletes in the world. He’s pound-for-pound the most effective on-screen fighter today.

Throughout the Ip Man series, Yen tries valiantly to make Wing Chun relevant again in a society that is quickly advancing (guns, steroids, wartime). He overcomes countless hardships like getting shot, beating rivaling martial arts schools, financial woes, and western foes looking for a beatdown. Much to the chagrin of fans, Yen uses a mix of Wing Chun and MMA-style moves when he’s extremely angry, but only when disrespected in some way. It’s actually quite cathartic to see when Asian males are so often emasculated in western culture (look no further than Ken Jeong).

IP MAN 3 is so big in Asia that it pushed back the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. SAPL received a pre-screener a few weeks ago, and it has far exceeded the 80% on Rotten Tomatoes it got. I’d suggest you grab a copy on April 19th, when the movie is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Tell us what you like about the movie in the comments below!

Peace Out!

PRESS RELEASE: Donnie Yen ignites the screen in a return to his iconic role of Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun Kung Fu master who mentored Bruce Lee. In this explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, when a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.  Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed play out on the big screen in this soon-to-be classic of the genre.


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#143 Managing Restaurants (ft. Professor Chen)

Posted July 20th, 2015 by Peter · No Comments

This week, SAPL is extremely excited to feature UCI Professor Yong Chen, who is the star of an upcoming episode of “California Matters with Mark Bittman” on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 (CA Food Matters). Professor Chen is the author of “Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America,” which details the rise of Chinese food as a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship and perseverance.

via OC Register

In “Chop Suey’s Next Wave,” we learn a great deal about the storied history of urban “food towns” like those in Los Angeles, Westminster, San Francisco, Houston, and New York. While strolling through Los Angeles, Yong talks about everything from the past century of Asian food in America, including the current wave of Chinese cuisine. It’s a must watch if you want to learn about #10 Boba, stinky tofu (coming soon), and all of those colorful Taiwanese cafés out there!

It’s also very encouraging to see more Asian representation in the media– with John Cho’s #Selfie and ABC’s hit series “Fresh off the Boat” leading the way. For example, Louis Huang (played by Randall Park) runs a texas-style restaurant called Cattleman’s Ranch. In search of the “American Dream,” FOTB’s satirical and sometimes gut-wrenchingly true(ish) accounts got us thinking about why for over 150 years, Asians have been opening and managing their own restaurants. We asked Professor Chen for his views about the almost 40,000 Chinese restaurants in America– outnumbering McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King combined! Without further adieu:

1. When did the first Chinese restaurants open in the United States?
At the end of the 1840s.  In 1849 there were three of them in San Francisco.

2. Who ran these restaurants? Where were they located? How were they funded?
Chinese owners ran these establishments.  They were in San Francisco, and were clearly funded by the Chinese owners themselves.

via What were some trials and tribulations for Asian restaurant owners in the beginning?
Fires.  Some establishments were damaged in fires. Racism was another difficulty that the restaurants faced. Initially, they were also frequented by non-Chinese customers but soon the non-Chinese clientele disappeared as anti-Chinese sentiments intensified.

4. What are some trials and tribulations they have today?
How to climb up in the gastronomical hierarchy of America. For the most part, Chinese food has remained at the lower end of that hierarchy for more than a century.  Many restaurants have relied on the hard work of family members, relatives and friends.

5. Are restaurants a lucrative endeavor? What are immigrant populations’ motivations for opening restaurants?
Some owners made money.  But that was often the result of a lot of sacrifice and hard work.  For Chinese restaurants to become a lucrative business, they must turn Chinese food into a fine dining cuisine.  Many immigrants, Chinese and non-Chinese, have chosen to open a small restaurant as a way to make a living because the threshold to do so is generally not very high in terms of money, skills, and education.

6. Is Chinese food in America authentic?
This depends on who you ask and where you are.  People from China, especially visitors or newcomers, would say that the food they found in restaurants located in non-Chinese neighborhoods is not authentic. Longstanding non-Chinese diners in old-style Chinese restaurants located in non-Chinese communities, however, would find the food in China not matching their idea of authentic Chinese food. Increasingly in recent years, restaurants in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China have opened branches in the United States, offering fabulous Chinese food.

What are some examples of real authentic Chinese food you would like to see in a restaurant?
Local foods from different regions of China; a growing number of them are not found in Chinese communities across the country, from Flushing, New York to Monterey Park in California. I would love to see more local foods from gastronomically less famous regions become available in America’s Chinese restaurants such as reganmian or hot-dry-noodles and doupi, namely, a pan cake made with a variety of stuffings wrapped in pan-fried tofu skins.

via (reganmian)

7. What are your favorite Chinese Dishes? What are your favorite non-Chinese dishes?
There are many of them in both categories. Among the the countless Chinese dishes that I love are as follows:
1. a famous dish from Fujian Province called “buddha jumps over the wall”, which is made with fowl and over ten best kinds of seafood such as abalone in a broth contained in earthen jar.

2. American diners are familiar with Cantonese and Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine.  Although it is relatively less known in America, Huaiyang is one of the oldest and finest regional cuisines of China , known for the exquisite craftsmanship in preparation and delicate and artful combination of ingredients.  Even simple fried dishes can be an unforgettable experience.  Lovers of Chinese ought to visit the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, the birth of Huaiyang cuisine.

3. Among the many non-Chinese dishes, I love paella, jambalaya, and bibimbap kaiseki is not a singular dish but a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.  Such a dinner prepared by a fine chef can be a trip to gastronomical paradise.

8. What do you see as the next frontier for Chinese entrepreneurs?
There are frontiers:
- First: Bold fusion, artistic presentation, and impeccable service.
- Second, streamline and simplify the food on the menu, and franchise.

We would like to thank Professor Chen for taking the time to answer our 8 questions (Check out #88 Numbers (8-8-08) if you don’t know why we chose this number). It’s very important to learn about the past to understand and predict the future.

Stay Classy!


Yong Chen is a history professor in UC Irvine’s school of humanities. His research interests include food, Asian-American history, immigration History, and  China-U.S. economic and cultural interactions.

For More Information about CA Food Matters: 
- New episodes of our web series “California Matters with Mark Bittman” launch on every other Tuesday 
- The ten part web series will culminate in a television broadcast special airing on KCET in Southern California this fall. 
-Series Summary: “California Matters with Mark Bittman” is an online series that explores the world of food, sustainable agriculture, policy and health through the lens of the University of California.  
-Mark Bittman Bio: Cookbook author and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman has come west to explore California and the food that’s grown and made here. In this 10-part series he’ll visit oyster farms in Northern California, Chinese restaurants in Southern California, and farmers in the Central Valley, stopping at points in between to talk to urban foragers and kids eating school lunches, among others. 
-To learn more, please visit Join the conversation on social media using #CAMatters

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