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asian avenue magazine

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives



RESTAURANT PEEK: MENYa hits the spot for ramen, poke and sake!

March 2018 Volume 13 Issue 3

Denver table tennis ALLIANCE invites ALL players to join in the fun

Asian Americans represent at the 2018 Winter




The Confucius Institute at

Community College of Denver The Confucius Institute at Community College of Denver is a Chinese language and cultural learning center, established in 2007 with the support of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), to promote Chinese language training and intercultural understanding. Dr. Chan is board certified and specializes in endocrine diseases and conditions. Dr. Chan completed his endocrine fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College, his surgical residency at Drexel University, and his medical degree from the University of Sydney. He specializes in: • Thyroid surgery and cancer • Cushing’s Syndrome • Parathyroid surgery • Pheochromocytoma • Adrenal surgery • Laparoscopic surgery • Hyperthyroidism • General surgery • Hyperparathyroidism • Hernia surgery • Hyperaldosteronism • Abdominal surgery

For appointments call 303-794-6747 Or visit:

Our programs and services include: n Noncredit Chinese language and cultural workshops n Private Chinese language tutoring n Chinese language proficiency testing n Scholarships to study in China n China summer camps n Seasonal Chinese cultural events n Seasonal professional development training for Colorado K-12 Mandarin teachers n An educational resource center For more information about the Confucius Institute, contact: Jane Lim n 303-352-6510








APR 12-14


DOWNTOWN IN LARIMER SQUARE 1226 15th Street Denver, CO 80202 303-595-3637 |

Dear Asian Avenue readers,


The year of the dog is underway! Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate the lunar new year last month at our annual banquet dinner. As we head into spring, we are focused on our next big program, which is the annual Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards. Help us recognize deserving individuals who are impacting and lifting up our Asian American Pacific Islander community. Nominations are being accepted at: through March 30. We look forward to sharing the stories of this year’s honorees in our May issue as we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In this issue, we highlight Asian Americans in theatre and performing arts! The Denver Center for the Performing Arts features The Great Leap, the story of a Chinese-American teenager, through March 11. Our local Asian-American theatre group, Theatre Esprit Asia, begins its run of Coping with America. Learn more in our question and answer sessions with the actors, directors, playwrights and designers involved in these two productions. Get tickets before the shows come to an end! Our Inside Story section features the Denver Table Tennis Alliance - how the group formed, its mission, how to join, and more! No matter your level or experience in playing table tennis, you are welcome to stop by the table tennis club and play! We encourage our readers to give it a shot! Learn more at: As the 2018 Winter Olympics come to a close, we are excited to share brief profiles of the 14 Asian-American Olympians on Team USA. If you are having Olympics withdrawals, be sure to pick up Karen Chen’s book, Finding the Edge.

asian avenue staff & support Publisher & Founder: Christina Yutai Guo President: Annie Guo VanDan Senior Designer: C.G. Yao Copy Editor: Jaime Marston Cook Editorial Director: Samantha Quee Marketing Manager: Joie Ha Staff Writer: Patricia Kaowthumrong Staff Writer: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Photographer: Trang Luong

contributing writers Gil Asakawa, Vivian Chen, Maria Cheng, Stacey Shigaya,

contributing photographers Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Genevieve Pierson

on the cover The Great Leap: When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama on the court goes deeper than the strain between their countries. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. For more info, visit:


Christina Yutai Guo, Publisher Asian Avenue magazine |

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March 2018 | Publisher’s Note

To subscribe, e-mail or visit A one-year subscription is $25 for 12 issues, a two-year subscription is 40 for 24 issues. Please make checks or money orders payable to Asian Avenue magazine. For details about special corporate or group rates, please call during business hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm. Shipping/handling included.

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editorial To submit story ideas, letters to the editor or calendar events, e-mail Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 1932-1449) reserves all copyrights to this issue. No parts of this edition can be reproduced in any manner without written permission. The views expressed in articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of Asian Avenue magazine. Authors may have consulting or other business relationships with the companies they discuss.

Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 |

Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.

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march 2018



Event calendar


Art Exhibits: Japanese-American artists featured at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center




GAME ON! Denver Table Tennis Alliance invites all players to join in the fun!

A Chinese-American teenager wants to join an American team going to Beijing in the story of The Great Leap at the Ricketson Theatre until March 11.



Theatre Esprit Asia’s 5th anniversary season continues with Coping with America



Q&A sessions with Asian Americans involved in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ The Great Leap




Recap of A Journey of Hope

Newest Menya location in Capitol Hill is the place for ramen, poke 29 Annual Day of Remembrance event bowls, Izakaya (little bites) and sake! marked Japanese American WWII incarceration



Lion’s Head Meatballs: A Shanghainese specialty



Asian Avenue rings in the year of the dog at 10th annual banquet


Team USA leaps with Asian American 30 representation at the 2018 Winter Olympics




Finding the Edge by Olympic figure skater Karen Chen The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen and Q&A with the author

Asian Americans define financial security as pinnacle of success




Asian Chamber visits Taiwan with International Trade Delegation

Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 | Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail: | 6

March 2018 | Table of Contents

Find us @AsianAveMag


I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story. Exhibit

Asian Pacific Development Center Spring Banquet

University of Northern Colorado’s James A. Michener Library 14th Avenue and 20th Street, Greeley, CO 80639 For more info, e-mail or visit

Kings Land Chinese Seafood Restaurant 2200 W. Alameda Ave #44, Denver, CO 80223 Cost: $65 per ticket For more info and tickets, visit

Now thru April 8

Saturday, March 10, 6pm to 9pm

Step into spring with Asian Pacific Development Center at their 2018 Spring Banquet! This is a must see event that will take you through the journeys of APDC’s clients through storytelling featuring Theatre Esprit Asia and the emcee stylings of spoken word poet, Meta Sarmiento.

this is for you. All you need is a simple, fail-proof and reliable constant client system for your business that will find clients easily, effectively and even automatically.

Asian Chamber’s Ducks in a Row An Aging Marketplace Saturday, April 7, 10am to 2pm

Crown Hill Cemetery Pavilion Building 7777 W. 29th Ave. Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 Cost: Free For more info, visit

Asian Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Wednesday, March 21, 5pm to 8pm

In this first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across a multitude of diverse cultures and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of the nation’s history. “I Want the Wide American Earth” tells the rich and complex stories of the very first Asian immigrants, including their participation in key moments in American history: Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush and hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad. The university will also be featuring local AAPI artists and scholars to highlight the contributions of the AAPI community to Colorado’s history.

Hiro Japanese Buffet 2797 S. Parker Rd. Aurora, CO 80014 Cost: $25 members | $30 non-members For more info, visit Enjoy all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet while listening to speaker Donna Evans! She will be presenting her topic, “Show Me The Clients”, and promises to provide tips and insights to gain leads and help close new business. For entrepreneurs who are ready to fill their business with high-paying clients, for good! If you are a motivated talented entrepreneur who loves what you do, but wants an easier, more reliable way to generate a constant stream of new clients, then

At Ducks in a Row – An Aging Marketplace, company representatives will provide panel discussions on a number of aging topics. Know someone who needs additional help for their mental health, physical well-being or financial planning? There is a multitude of information on how to handle aging affairs that can be confusing, hard to understand or just too much to digest. The Asian Chamber of Commerce would like to help you navigate through the maze!

Donors can earn up to $7500 for their time and commitment

For more information call 844-494-0003 or visit our website today at: • William Schoolcraft, MD • Robert Gustofson, MD • Lauren Ehrhart, MD

• Eric Surrey, MD • Laxmi Kondapalli, MD

Event Calendar | asian avenue magazine


Japanese-American artists featured at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Experience a thoughtful and immersive art installation by Denver-based Japanese-American artist Yoshitomo Saito

Japanese pop artist Chiho Aoshima takes viewers into another world with a video installation

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) is excited to present Yoshitomo Saito: millionyearseeds. Born in Tokyo, Japan but residing in the US since 1983, Yoshitomo Saito finds inspiration in the minutia of the natural world, drawing out details of the environment surrounding us and elements of everyday experiences that most would miss or take for granted. Utilizing the Italian lost-wax process of bronze casting at his Ironton Studios foundry in the RiNo Art District of Denver, the artist freezes delicate, organic objects in time and assembles them into immersive, meditative, thoughtful and sometimes humorous installations.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) is excited to present Chiho Aoshima: Takaamanohara, The High Plain of Heaven. This exhibition presents two videos by Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima – Takaamanohara and City Glow. Drawing from traditional Japanese Shinto mythology and contemporary Anime films, these immersive, highly detailed video works invite the viewer into another world. The title of Aoshima’s large-scale video Takaamanohara, The Plain of High Heaven, refers to a place where Shinto deities reside. With a vivid imagination and a saturated color palette, this video retells a creation story about the time when the gods of heaven separated from the gods of the land.

When: Now thru April 29, 2018 Where: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Tickets: $10 ($5 military and seniors 55+); FREE for kids 12 and under, students, and teachers (with ID) MORE INFO:

Nominate Asian American Heroes of Colorado! Now in its 10th year, nominate deserving members of the Asian American community - the unsung heroes, the shining stars and the selfless leaders! Heroes will be featured in Asian Avenue and recognized at the 2018

Award Ceremony + Dim Sum Brunch Saturday, May 19, 2018 | 10am to 12pm

Empress Seafood Restaurant 2200 W. Alameda Ave. #44, Denver, CO 80223 Tickets: $30 Adult/General | $20 Student Tick

Award ceremony includes recognition of 2018 Asian American Heroes of Colorado, acceptance speeches, dim sum brunch and a silent auction!

Nominate at: Deadline: Friday, March 30, 2018

For more information, e-mail or call 303-937-6888.


March 2018 | Art Exhibits



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GAME ON! Denver table tennis ALLIANCE invites ALL players to join in the fun!

By Annie Guo VanDan

It was always Angelo Gandullia’s dream to open a table tennis (TT) club after he fell in love with the sport for its speed and intensity. At a young age, in Lima, Peru, where he is from, he had the chance to watch a table tennis match between two Peruvian National Team players. By the age of nine, he started playing TT at a local TT club and it has been his passion ever since. Upon moving to Denver in 2009, Gandullia continued to train which led him to becoming the Colorado State Champion in 2012. The following year, he was invited to play in the German League for a TT club outside Frankfurt. “Playing in Germany was a great experience, however, I brought with me a back injury that got exacerbated with the intensity of playing in such a competitive league,” he says. “Since my German League season was unexpectedly cut short, I decided to put all my effort into starting a table tennis club in Denver.” With the help of Butterfly North America, Denver Table Tennis Alliance (DTTA) opened in February 2014. Now, as DTTA celebrates its fourth anniversary, coach and club director Gandullia can say he has fulfilled his dream. DTTA, in partnership with Butterfly, is equipped with high-quality equipment including tables, barriers, balls, and more. Butterfly is considered the best table tennis brand in the


March 2018 | Inside Story

world. DTTA is a distributor of Butterfly products and can supply players with all the gear that they need to excel at table tennis. When DTTA first opened in 2014, they invited all Colorado TT clubs to compete in the the Colorado TT Inter Club League. Gandullia explains: “Essentially, the best players in Colorado, representing their respective clubs, played a series of inter-club matches.” That year, DTTA won the Colorado TT Inter Club League, and reached this achievement again in the 2015/16 year. Thereafter, the Colorado TT Inter Club League has not taken place. DTTA holds a tournament on the second Saturday of every month called the “Mensual Tourney,” which literally means “once per month” in Spanish. The M Tourneys have different divisions to suit all level of players, from the ping pong enthusiasts and table tennis beginners, to the best TT players in the state, and all levels in between. The format is in two round robin groups per division, with the top two players from each group forwarding to semifinals and finals matches. The cost to play is $20 ($15 for club members), and the winner and runner up from each division win prizes in cash and gifts from Butterfly. DTTA also organizes two USATT-Sanctioned Tournaments per year, as well as special events like a seniors tournament.

Competitive table tennis When asked what trends We focus on inclusiveness and can be very physically deGandullia is seeing in table manding. Many beginners tennis, he explained that accessibility for all types of players, underestimate the level of people are becoming more fitness required to reach a interested in playing comand we strive to make everyone feel highly-competitive level. petitively. comfortable and welcomed at our club. “It is also a very intelli“A few years ago, our gent sport. The physics befriend and club member, hind the spins and speed in table tennis is very complex and Gordon Kaye, became the CEO of the United States Association it takes quite some work to develop a decent understanding of Table Tennis (USATT), which is the governing body for table when you want to play table tennis competitively,” Gandullia tennis in the US. He focused on promoting the sport across the explains. US, and we have seen an increase in overall attendance at clubs DTTA’s venue is well-equipped for competitive table tennis in Colorado. DTTA has experienced a greater number of recreplay with high ceilings, bright lighting, ITTF-approved* tables, ational players transitioning to more competitive play.” and Gerflor-type rubber flooring. Gandullia also acknowledges that many startup companies Gandullia says: “In fact, DTTA has the best playing conditions in Denver have ping pong tables and intense competition beof any club in Colorado. We focus on inclusiveness and accessitween colleagues. Often, players from these types of work envibility for all types of players, and we strive to make everyone feel ronments visit DTTA with the goal of improving their skills and comfortable and welcomed at our club.” taking their game to the next level. Visit for more information about “We’ve also seen a trend in players who train several times per the Denver Table Tennis Alliance. week, focusing on overall fitness and improving their competitive table tennis skills,” he says. *International Table Tennis Federation


Everybody is welcome to drop in during regular club hours for “Open Play” at DTTA, which costs $10. SCHEDULE: 6 days per week. Closed on Tuesdays. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 6pm to 10pm Saturdays, from 12pm to 5pm LOCATION: 2940 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80205 DTTA offers various memberships, including $110 for unlimited monthly play. We also provide private lessons for kids and adults, whether beginners or experienced players. Monthly members also receive discounts on lessons and tournament entries.

2015-16 Denver Table Tennis Alliance Team that competed in the Colorado TT Inter Club League Left to right: Angelo Gandullia, Eric Prusiewicz, Wallace Liu and Antonio Varela.

Denver Table Tennis Alliance (DTTA) offers memberships and private lessons for beginners and experienced players of all ages, as well as monthly open tournaments. Denver Table Tennis Alliance | asian avenue magazine


Theatre Esprit Asia’s 5th anniversary season continues with Coping with America By Maria Cheng Coping with America is a sequel to Theatre Esprit Asia’s 2016 hit Coming to America which garnered TEA an invitation to the 2017 National Festival of the American Association of Community Theatre, the first theatre of ethnicity from any state to be so honored in its 48 year history. TEA is proud to present another production of original works featuring three solo one-acts - immigration tales of power, humor and grace. With this production, TEA introduces to metro theatre audiences four Asian-Americans new to its family of theatre artists. Director Dr. Cecilia J. Pang is a Chinese-American and associate professor of theatre at University of Colorado, Boulder. TEA had tried to get her to direct since its founding in 2012, but her academic commitments didn’t allow her to do so until now, when she is on sabbatical. Actor Samantha Saunders is a Korean adoptee of Caucasian-American parents. She stars in Gunpowder Man, a regional premiere, written by Rick Foster. Gunpowder Man tells of two Chinese siblings who helped build the railroads of the American West, before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 took effect. Little Tiger, the duty bound older sibling, disguises herself as a man, in order to work with the railroad crew and keep watch over her naïve younger brother Happy Tiger. Actor Eric Bear, born of an Indian mother and German-French father, anchors Occidental Moon, written by Dr. Pavithra Prasad, and first presented by TEA in 2015. Combining Indian myths and historical facts, it is a cheeky fantasy and sci-fi meditation, of the past and future, on the relationship between a nation’s world prestige and the success of its space program. In Jon Vogels’ All of the Above, a world premiere, Jihad Milhem plays a first generation Iranian-American who is a


March 2018 | Feature

witty and sardonic techie, coping with racism and fears while doggedly pursuing the American Dream. Jihad is born of a Caucasian American mother from Ohio and an immigrant father who is a Palestinian born in the West Bank. The four were interviewed regarding

their experiences with Asian-American theatre, how they view TEA’s role within the Colorado theatre scene and whether their role in the upcoming production of CWA has deepened or challenged their understanding of what it means to be a minority artist within a majority culture.

Bear Dr


Sa m


ecilia J. Pa C .


tha Saun n a


ad Milhem Jih

Experience with Asian-American [AA] theatre: JM: It’s very odd – I’ve been more a practitioner of AA theatre than an audience member. I just finished portraying one of two Indian characters in Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj with Boulder Ensemble Theater. My play Mosque will be produced this December by the Fearless Theatre and now I am in TEA’s Coping with America. That’s about it.

SS: Working with TEA has been my first experience in AA theater and it has been incredibly enlightening to be immersed in another culture. [Samantha explained that before this, all her roles were western ‘traditional’ or non-cultural specific.]

EB: I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing as AA theatre! My first experience was five years ago, at TEA’s inaugural season, when I was 13 and my mother dragged me to the powerful Dust Storm, [written by Rick Foster. Dust Storm will be restaged by TEA this May.]. Dale Li, who is now a professor at Stanford, played the interned Japanese-American youth. I was so moved!

CP: [Cecilia has directed over 50 productions.] All theatre I make is AA because my work is heavily influenced from my lived experience as a Chinese-American and immigrant. I cannot separate my identity from my work and this is why it is so personal.

TEA within the Colorado theatre scene: JM: I have really enjoyed working with TEA in this three part production of CWA, learning so much about the Chinese immigrant history of this country and I didn’t know India has a space program!

SS: I think TEA is a great venue for new writers in the Colorado theater scene. It could really open new doors for playwrights in the area.

EB: TEA’s plays may be Asian-centric, but the themes explored are not. Issues of alienation, assimilation, cultural identity are relevant to all sectors of this immigrant nation. Dust Storm made me think of the connection between fear of the ‘other’ and how that can lead to injustices and the abrogation of civil liberties.

CP: We deserve to have our stories told and we must remind Colorado of its rich AA history dating back to the state’s original constitution, written in English, German, Spanish, and Mandarin for a reason! Colorado has a rich immigrant history, reflecting the immigrant history of the nation.

Has your role in Coping With America (CWA) deepened or challenged your understanding as an artist of minority ethnicity? JM: At first I thought, oh this character is me, first generation born in the U.S. of immigrant parents, a non-practicing Muslim, I get it. But the writing is so authentic and truthful, even though I had not experienced all the events of the story, the racism and pain shown revealed to me truths close to my own life, and also that humor is a great antidote to injustice!

SS: The three characters of CWA cross gender, historical and class borders, but the resurfacing of common issues enhances my understanding of the commonality of the immigrant’s struggle! I loved learning more deeply about the Chinese culture!

EB: Playing this role has caused me to be so much more aware of the bicultural nature of my heritage. I was born in the U.S. of a western European father and an Indian mother from Mumbai. I speak English and Spanish. Now I want to improve on my minimal Hindi, French and German! [Eric is a high school senior at Colorado Academy. He has been accepted at Stanford and is waiting to hear from MIT and Princeton.]

CP: This production reflects personal adversity, but it also inspires me to respect the journey of our lives as minorities, the strength we carry, the joy and humor we find in our struggle, and the grace to withstand it all.

Coping with America | asian avenue magazine


Eric Bear and Samantha Saunders rehearse Coping with America: Occidental Moon with Director Cecilia J. Pang subbing for actor Jihad Milhem.

Coping with America

Theatre Esprit Asia at ACAD Theatre 1400 Dallas St., Aurora CO 80010 March 9-April 1; Fri & Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm; Tickets: or 720-492-9479

Dust Storm by Rick Foster Spirit & Sworded Treks

by Maria Cheng June 18 through 24, 2018 WorldFest 2018, Venice, Florida

To conclude TEA’s fifth anniversary season will be restaging of two hits from its first year! Dust Storm is a powerful and poignant coming of age story of a rebellious youth enmeshed in the Japanese internment tragedy of WWII. Michael Chen, a senior theatre major at CU Boulder, will make his TEA debut as the ‘no-no’ boy Seiji. Spirit & Sworded Treks is a hilarious tale of one woman’s attempt at maintaining a spiritual path while pursuing the American Dream!

TEA has been invited to this quadrennial international theatre festival in Venice, Florida. Artistic director Maria Cheng will be performing this solo, which the NY Times has described as ”…wickedly funny… exquisitely crafted.” NPR hails her as “...a consummate theater artist.” This work has received critical acclaim across four continents, and has moved its audiences to laughter and tears as Cheng ruminates on family, love, solitude and what price the pursuit for the numen and transcendence.


by Maria Cheng April 27 through May 20, 2018 Friday and Saturday 7:30pm | Sunday 2pm


Spirit & Sworded Treks

March 2018 | Feature


Photos provided by Denver Center for the Performing Arts

playing now through March 11, 2018 at the Ricketson Theatre Purchase tickets at: By Mary Jeneverre Schultz | Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @Jeneverre Basketball, Tiananmen Square and references to communism are unlikely subjects. But playwright Lauren Yee combines these subjects to create an explosive play called The Great Leap. Don’t worry about being a fan of basketball. Those who don’t know a thing about the sport except for famous sport figures such as Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan can really follow along the story line. Three main characters include: • Manford (Linden Taylor) a Chinese-American teenager, who want to join an American team going to Beijing • Saul (Bob Ari), coach who is heading to China for the basketball exhibit • Wen Chang (Joseph Steven Yang), coach of the Chinese team Yee, 20 years old, researched the game of basketball to incorporate the fast-pace of the storyline. Yee shares her father was a Chinese-American basketball player. An American, curmudgeon-like coach travels to China and teaches the game of basketball to the Chinese coach and his 5-foot players. He returns to San Francisco and goes down the path of coaching his own basketball team for college. But his career doesn’t flourish and he finds himself trying to resur-

rect his career through an exhibition game in China – 18 years later. As news of the exhibition game spreads through the neighborhood of San Francisco, a Chinese American boy, about to graduate from high school, challenges the coach to take him on the team. Through persistence and almost-stalking attitude, the coach agrees to take the Chinese American teenager. A fourth actress, Keiko Green, plays Manford’s sister/neighbor friend and doubles as Manford’s recently deceased mother. Costume changes and clever set changes make it clear for the audience of which part she plays during the show. Complications become apparent before the exhibition game begins in China. Historical references to Tiananmen Square surface into the play. It becomes a one-to-one duel between the American and Chinese coach. Roles have reversed between the coaches, their teams and abilities. Who has the better team? Who will win? Without giving out too much away, the ending is a nice crescendo of the build-up of basketball and Tiananmen Square. It’s not all serious. There’s a touch of laughter and a fascinating end to all the conflicts. Attend the play with no expectations. It’s a surprise ending. Cover Story: The Great Leap | asian avenue magazine



Playwright Lauren Yee is a Chinese American, who was born and raised in San Francisco. Currently, she lives in New York. Learn more about her at


Lauren Yee

Playwright, The Great Leap ASIAN AVENUE: How did you get to this point in your life writing plays? What would you share with youth about writing? LAUREN YEE: I do my best work when I am writing something that I’m passionate about, that I’m a little obsessed with and that I can tell better than anyone else. That doesn’t necessarily mean a story closest to my identity- because when I would only write the same type of play. It’s something that deeply haunts you and you want to spend years of your life invested in and if no one ever produces it you’d be oaky with it. The most successful people I’ve seen in the field are those who are kind and smart and really work hard. AA: What expectations do you have on this world premiere? LY: I would hope that the play makes audiences more curious about that period in Chinese and American history. That would make them want to dig a little bit and do some research. I hope it would also make them feel powerful in a way. That a single human being has value and power and the ability to enact change. That when we live in tumultuous times there is a sense of powerlessness. We feel like we can’t be engaged because what would it matter? Like in sports, a single person or a single play can


March 2018 | Cover Story: The Great Leap

change everything, I think The Great Leap invests in the idea that individual human beings are powerful. “One idea that I found very helpful,” she said, “was that basketball is all about creating space for yourself on the court. That every pass and every fake and every dribble is made with the intent of losing your defender long enough for you to have a chance to make a shot. And I think that has parallels for our everyday lives — everyone in this world goes about their lives trying to make space for themselves that they can call their own.” AA: What is the hardest part about writing this particular play? LY: Before I started, I didn’t know anything about basketball at all. I know football and baseball well enough to figure out how a game might work but basketball was something that I would watch a game and I was like “man, it’s just about the last two minutes and whoever scores more points wins”. What this play allowed me to do was learn about strategy and the philosophy behind it and how basketball really is about this struggle for space in the world. I think I understand more about my dad and what he was like when he was younger because of this. The father I know is extremely affable, extremely generous. This kind of scrap-

py competitive underdog who may talk a little bigger than he is was not someone I knew growing up. To be able to hear his war stories about playing the game and to hear them with a greater understanding of basketball and what that actually meant has been great for our relationship and great way into understanding what his life was like before he had kids. All of us think we know our parents but how well do we really know them? What were they like when they were young? What kinds of dreams and mythologies do they have about themselves? It was also challenging trying to imagine a world very different from my own in a time period that I didn’t necessarily live through in the way that some of the characters experience it. I know San Francisco very well but China was somewhere that I’ve never lived and that I’d read things about in history books. I tried to find a way to make that world seem alive and relatable to someone like me who had never spent a good deal of time there. I think once I figured out my way into it the play blossomed in very exciting ways. AA: Future projects? LY: My new play Cambodian Rock Band starts performances at South Coast Rep on March 4.

Sometimes, plays have sets that stay stagnant throughout the whole two hours, showing one or two scenes at a time. However, the set of The Great Leap ( brings surprise, efficiency and just smart, innovative design. It’s a signature of Wilson Chin. ASIAN AVENUE: How do you stay innovative in your set designs? WILSON CHEN: Well, really, every play is completely different, so all of my ideas come from the written page. The story and characters give me so much information and inspiration to make each production visually different from one another. Also, I try to feel and pinpoint the unique energy for each play. For example, The Great Leap has pulse and rhythm of a live basketball game, so we’ve set it in an open playing space that evokes a basketball court that can transform with lights, sound and video projections. AA: What inspires your creativity? WC: I try to find inspiration from everything and anything. Of course, there are museums and art books that are great for formal visual inspiration, but because theatre is a populist art form that should be accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, I find myself inspired by pop culture most of all. Anything from a television show, to a Beyonce concert, to a Vogue magazine clipping have all inspired my work. AA: When you aren’t doing your job, what are your hobbies or outlets? WC: I love to cook! Even more so, I love to eat! Growing up in a restaurant, I see a lot of similarities between theatre and food. Both are communal activities that happen in the early evening. Both have a progression from course to course, and both hopefully end with a well-satiated audience! AA: What do you want to share with the youth interested in pursuing this type of careers? WC: Theatre is a super hard field to break into, and most of it is non-lucrative. But I think of it as a calling, like becoming a priest or nun. For me, there’s really nothing else that I can imagine

Q&A with

Wilson Chin Scenic Designer, The Great Leap

Visit Wilson Chin’s website at doing with my life and, thankfully, I get to do what I love, and I love what I do, so it’s all worked out. Theatre was just a hobby for me when I was in high school and college, and I didn’t pursue it professionally until I was in my mid20’s. So I would tell interested youths to try it for fun at first. It’s a great way to build problem-solving skills, and become smart, articulate and cultured young adults. AA: Thoughts about Denver? WC: I love Denver! There are so many great places to eat here! So far, the Spring Fling cake at The Market is the best cake I’ve ever had, and anytime I see green chili on a menu, I get it! AA: What’s your favorite set design?

WC: I have to say, I loved our production of The Secret Garden last season at DCPA. It’s one of my all-_me favorite musicals and it was an honor to get to design a first-class production of it with a director and design team whom I consider family. AA: Future projects? WC: Coming up, I have a movie titled Pass Over directed by Spike Lee that is playing at Sundance right now. Amazon Studios will be streaming it in April, and will be onstage at Lincoln Center Theatre in June. I’m also doing new plays at The Public Theater in New York and the Studio Theatre in DC. And in June, I’m reuniting with director Jenn Thompson from The Secret Garden to do a new musical version of Anne of Green Gables.

Cover Story: The Great Leap | asian avenue magazine


Q&A with

Linden Tailor Actor, The Great Leap

Filmography: Actor known for Shades of Blue (2016) The Detour (2016) | Odd Mom Out (2015)

Education: MFA Acting, University of Florida BFA Theater Performance, Virginia Commonwealth University Follow him on Twitter: @PinoyActor

ASIAN AVENUE: What reactions do you hope to get from audience after watching the play? Linden Tailor: Since this is a play about basketball, I hope the audience is able to feel what a sports fan feels when watching his or her favorite team plays... that emotional rollercoaster a fan feels whether the team is going to win or lose. AA: Why theatre? What is the attraction? LT: Theatre has a direct connection with the audience. It’s magic, it inspires and it’s and alive. AA: How did you get into theater? LT: I got into theatre by accident. As an assignment in 9th grade Honors English class, we were reading Romeo and Juliet, and I was assigned to perform the Tomb scene, with me playing Romeo and another classmate as Juliet. I really got into the language and wanted to do the scene justice and did my research on how to “act” the scene. From there, I joined the Drama Club and eventually


March 2018 | Cover Story: The Great Leap

auditioned for colleges with Theatre programs, and getting into the BFA Theatre program at Virginia Commonwealth University. AA: Who inspires you? Or what event in your life has inspired you? LT: When I met my wife in grad school at the University of Florida, she inspired me and continues to inspire me every day. AA: What would you tell high school and college students about theater? LT: I would tell students to find time to go see a play or musical every once in awhile. Being a student is hard enough, but no matter what your interests are, seeing a show can help you figure out who you are and maybe even what you want to be (and even spark some interest in pursuing something in the arts). AA: With so much uproar in Hollywood about Asian American actors, how much influence do you think theatre might have if the public

were exposed to more Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in live theater? LT: I think seeing actors of Asian descent in theatre is powerful in itself, especially in non-traditional and color-blind casting. The goal is to not only influence the audience to see passed seeing an Asian character onstage, but to open up the minds of the writers, directors, producers, and studio-heads both in theatre and on TV/film that an Asian actor can play any role. AA: What would you like to add? LT: I would like to thank the playwright Lauren Yee and director Eric Ting for this amazing opportunity of exploration and storytelling. It truly is a joy to be a part of this play. Filipino-American Linden Tailor is the primary actor of The Great Leap. The play premiered Feb. 2 and will run until March 11 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Ricketson Theatre. Don’t miss this show and visit

JW Lee has opened a third Menya restaurant in the downtown area. The newest Menya Capitol Hill is located at 600 E. Colfax Avenue and is fast becoming the place on Colfax for ramen, poke bowls, Izakaya (little bites) and sake. At this unique restaurant there are two levels for dining and a soon to be open sidewalk patio. If you want a different view, try the upper level with the sake bar and large windows for a wide-open feeling. The upper level can be rented out for private parties, meetings and classes. Owner JW Lee and his partners, Yamaguchi Katsuhisa and Munehiro Kitasato, have a vision for this property which is to provide a Japanese fast food concept. Come in, order and pay at the counter. Your order is then delivered to your table. Menya’s menu offers a variety of ramen, udon, rice bowls and design your own poke bowls. Design your bowl by first selecting a base of rice, noodles and or salad. Add a protein, select your favorite sauce and add four toppings. The restaurant also has a wide selection of Izakaya, which includes spicy edamame, bulgogi wraps, poke avocado boats, fried shrimp pops, karaage chicken, scallops and squid dishes. These dishes much like appetizers can be eaten as a meal or a tasty side to your entrée of noodles or rice bowls. Gluten free and vegetarian dishes are also available. The popularity of sushi continues to grow and although sushi is not on the menu, JW is offering sushi classes at the Colfax location. During the sushi class, you will learn not only how to make your favorite sushi but how to use ingredients and sample different creations. Sushi Chef Munehiro Kitasato will lead the classes, which take place on selected Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Register at; the class is $75 per person. Learn about the healthy wine “sake”. Menya’s sake tasting will teach you about the culture surrounding sake. You will have the opportunity to talk to representatives from sake companies. Come and enjoy sake, food and entertainment. Sake classes begin in March. Register at; the tasting is $50 per person.

Wasabi 433 S Teller St Lakewood, CO 80226 Menya Sushi Bar 5910 S University Blvd Greenwood Village, CO 80121 Menya Noodle Bar 951 16th St #104 Denver, CO 80202 Menya Ramen & Poke 1590 Little Raven St #170 Denver, CO 80202 Menya Capitol Hill 600 E Colfax Ave Denver, CO 80203 Menya caters events big or small for your office, organization or private events in your home. You can design your catered event with sushi, bento boxes and small bites. Call JW Lee at 303-353-8497 to place your order.

Restaurant Peek | asian avenue magazine


Lion’s Head Meatballs A Shanghainese specialty With a grand and exotic-sounding name, you would think that the Chinese meatballs known as “Lion’s Heads” or shi zi tou would be difficult to make at home. In fact, they are easy! A Shanghai specialty, many Lion’s Head meatballs are made from two simple, humble ingredients—namely pork and cabbage. Some versions include vermicelli noodles and other ingredients, such as the recipe listed below. Cooking time: 1½ hours Serves 4 people

Ingredients  • 1 (4-ounce) block firm

tofu, cut into ¼-inch slices  • 8 ounces ground pork, such as pork shoulder  • 4 ounces ground or minced fatty pork, such as fresh pork belly  • ¼ cup drained canned water chestnuts, diced  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger  • 2 scallions, white parts finely minced and green parts thinly sliced, divided  • 1 egg yolk  • ½ teaspoon sugar • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic (3 medium cloves), divided

 • ¾ teaspoon ground white pepper, divided  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided  • 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, divided  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola, vegetable, or peanut oil, divided  • 1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth  • 5 heads baby bok choy, halved  • 6 Napa cabbage leaves from 1 head, cut into 2-inch pieces, thick stalk and leafy parts separated  • 2 (1¾-ounce) packs dried vermicelli noodles  • Cooked white rice, for serving

By Samantha Quee

Lion’s Head Meatballs 20

March 2018 | Chef’s Menu


1. Place tofu slices in a heatproof bowl, and pour boiling water on top to cover. Let stand for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer tofu to a paper towel-lined plate. Press gently on the tofu with paper towels to dry thoroughly. 2. Transfer tofu slices to a bowl. Using a fork, mash tofu into fine pieces. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl, combine ingredients: ground pork, fatty ground pork, mashed tofu, diced water chestnuts, minced ginger, minced scallion whites, egg yolk, sugar, Shaoxing wine, salt, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, ½ teaspoon white pepper powder, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and gently mix until well combined, being careful not to over mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Working with wet hands, form small handfuls of the meatball mixture into balls; you should have about 5 to 6 meatballs. 5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, pan-fry the meatballs until golden brown, flipping to cook each side for a total of about 6 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a large paper towel-lined plate. 6. Combine ingredients: chicken broth, remaining ¼ teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in a bowl. Mix well and set aside. 7. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add bok choy and thick stem parts of the

Napa cabbage. Season with salt and cook for 3 minutes. Arrange meatballs in the pot in a single layer, pour the chicken broth mixture in, and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. 8. Meanwhile, soak vermicelli noodles in warm water. Soak for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain well and set aside. 9. Stir vermicelli noodles and leafy parts of the Napa cabbage into the pot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes longer. 10. To serve, bring the pot to the table or carefully transfer everything to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining sliced green scallion on top and serve with white rice. Delicious!

Lion’s Head Meatballs | asian avenue magazine


Team USA leaps with Asian American representation at the 2018 Winter Olympics


he 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea was held Feb. 9 to 25. Of the 244 athletes representing Team USA, 14 were Asian Americans, competing in figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating and bobsledding. The most prominent representation was Team USA’s figure skating team, in which seven out of 14 athletes on the team are Asian Americans, marking a historic number for Asian American skaters in the Olympic games. Here are the 14 Asian-American athletes on Team USA.

John Robert “J.R.” Celski

Karen Chen

J.R. Celski, 27, is a short track speed skater and three-time medalist in the Winter Olympics, winning two bronze medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in the 5000-meter relay and 1500-meter individual event, and a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi games in the 5000-meter relay. Celski’s mother is Filipino-American and his father is of Polish descent. He and his brother have matching tattoos comprised of a combination of both the Filipino and Polish flag, to demonstrate his cultural pride.

Karen Chen, 18, is a Taiwanese-American figure skater from Fremont, California. She first gained national attention after winning a bronze medal at the U.S. National Championships in 2015. Two years later, Karen skated a record-breaking score and won gold at the 2017 U.S. National Championships, and won fourth at the World Championship. Former Olympic gold medalist, Kristi Yamaguchi, is Karen’s mentor and wrote the foreword to Chen’s book, “Finding the Edge,” which was published in 2017.

Chloe Kim fulfills high expectations, captures gold


orn to South Korean immigrants, California native Chloe Kim has been a dominant contender in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe. She actually could have qualified to compete at the last winter games in Sochi, but she didn’t meet the minimum age requirement! She holds multiple X Games gold medals, multiple World Snowboard Tour titles, and dual gold in both halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics under her belt. At 17, Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal during the Winter Games. Kim dominated two amazing runs on the women’s snowboard halfpipe, earning her the first place spot on the medal podium. With her parents, sisters, aunts, cousins and her South Korean grandmother cheering for her, Kim put on a show that surpassed all expectations. Chloe put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs. As it turns out, that score was enough to win the gold. On her second run, she tried to do a double 1080, a maneuver that she was the first woman to do, but she couldn’t quite pull it off. On her third run, she already knew she had won the gold medal so she didn’t need to push it. She went for it anyway and was able to nail her signature double 1080. She scored 98.75 – close to perfection.


March 2018 | Feature

Nathan Chen

Madison Chock

Nathan Chen, 18, is a Chinese-American figure skater from Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2016, he became the youngest U.S. man to medal at the ISU Grand Prix Final at age 17. At the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, he became the first man in figure skating history to land five quadruple jumps in a single performance. In addition to his ambitions on ice, Chen hopes to one day attend medical school in the future.

Figure skater Madison Chock is of Chinese-Hawaiian descent on her father’s side and mixed European descent on her mother’s side. With partner Evan Bates, she is a two-time World medalist (silver in 2015, bronze in 2016), a two-time Grand Prix Final silver medalist (2014–15, 2015–16), a four-time Four Continents medalist (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017), and the 2015 U.S. national champion.

American siblings, Alex and Maia Shibutani, earn second bronze medal at Olympics 2018


he brother-sister ice dance team of Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani has been officially skating together since 2004. Known as the “Shib Sibs,” the duo has won a medal at every national championship at the senior level since 2011 -- two golds, three silvers, and two bronzes. In international competition, the Shibutanis are the first U.S. ice dance team to win a medal in their world championship debut, earning a bronze in 2011. They competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where they finished ninth. The siblings took home the bronze medal after a near-flawless ice dance free skate, racking up 192.59 points. Canada finished with gold and France with silver.

Thomas Hong

Chris Kinney

Born in Korea and raised in Maryland, speedskater Thomas Hong started traveling back to Seoul when he was 10 to visit his father and train with South Korean skaters. At 16 years old, he was the youngest athlete at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials, where he finished 11th overall but didn’t make the team. In 2017, he made his debut at the senior World Championships and won a silver in the 500m and bronze in the 3000m relay.

While at Georgetown University, Chris Kinney was an All-American track and field, breaking school records in the outdoor 110m hurdles and indoor 60m hurdles. He then spent four years in Japan, where he ran professionally and also decided to try bobsledding, which he first discovered by watching the 1998 Nagano Olympics. He made his debut at the 2018 Olympics as a U.S. bobsled push athlete. 2018 Winter Olympics | asian avenue magazine


Hailey Langland

Jerica Tandiman

Hailing from San Clemente, California, 17-year-old snowboarder Hailey Langland has established herself as a favorite in big air. She nabbed a gold medal at the 2017 X Games after unveiling a double cork 1080, a trick that involves spinning three full times while also inverting twice, becoming the first woman in X Games history to land the trick. Langland’s mother is Filipino-American.

Hailing from Kearns, Utah, long rack speed skater Jerica Tandiman was inspired to skate, at age 7, after the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. They built the Utah Olympic Oval in the field next to her house! She clinched a spot on Team USA after finishing fourth in the 1000m at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials.

Mirai Nagasu lands triple axel, a first by an American woman at an Olympics


apanese-American figure skater Mirai Nagasu is an Olympic veteran. She finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Though she earned a bronze medal at the 2014 U.S. Championships, she was infamously not named to the Olympic team for Sochi. Since then, she has slowly fought her way back to the podium, capturing a silver medal at the 2017 U.S. nationals and earning herself a rightful spot to compete in PyeongChang. She is currently a full-time student of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Nagasu became only the third woman to successfully complete the triple axel at the 2018 Olympics -- the other two being Japanese skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada. The axel is considered so difficult because it is the only jump in which the skater takes to the air while facing forward. A triple axel requires three-and-a-half rotations before landing. Nagasu finished with a 137.53 overall score, which was second-best of the ladies free skate and helped Team USA win bronze for the team event in figure skating. This is Nagasu’s second Olympics.


Aaron Tran

Vincent Zhou

21-year-old short track speedskater Aaron Tran was the junior overall national champion in 2015. At the 2017 World Championships, Tran finished seventh with the U.S. men in the 5000m relay. Tran is Vietnamese American and from Federal Way, Washington. He became interested in speed skating after watching the 2006 Torino Olympics, in which U.S. speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno won three medals — a gold and two bronzes.

Vincent Zhou, the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team at 17, became the first figure skater in Olympics history to land a quadruple lutz in the men’s short program. From 2011 to 2013, he won three national titles at three different age levels: novice, intermediate, and junior. He was the 2017 World Junior Champion as well as the silver medalist at the 2017 U.S. Championships. Zhou is Chinese-American and is from San Jose, CA.

March 2018 | Feature


Finding the Edge

Connect with Karen Chen Twitter: @Karebearsk8 Instagram: karebearsk8

Author: Karen Chen

Published: November 28, 2017 | Publisher: HarperCollins Hardcover | 224 pages | ISBN: 9780062822680 Price: $17.99




What could an 18-year-old teach me? This young, diminutive, Asian-American skater taught me three things: 1. Passion: Karen Chen lives and breathes ice skating. She started at 4 years old and competed at 6. Between skating, traveling back and forth to Taiwan and family life, Chen already knew at a young age what would define her life. 2. Fearlessness: If you follow any of the sport commentary on her, the media has already dubbed her as the “Quiet Assassin.” Imagine that scene in Kill Bill where actress Uma Thurman slices the head of the female Japanese samurai. Already, she has encountered lots of injuries, including a broken ankle. 3. Competitor: She will fight to the end. Judges comment on her routines as “seriously impressive.” In fact, she recently won the 2017 U.S. Figure Stating National Champion, winning gold in two programs and receiving the highest score ever recorded for the short program at the US National level. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, figure skating icon and U.S. National

Champion Karen Chen tells the amazing story of her rise to the top, featuring never-before-seen photos and behind-thescenes details from her journey on and off the ice! At 17 years old, Chen has already achieve what some girls only dream of --- and yet it’s only the beginning for this incredibly talented athlete. After ten years and many grueling training sessions, she broke out at the 2015 US Championships with a bronze medal. This was after sustaining a nearly career-ending ankle fracture a year earlier. The book features a foreword from Kristi Yamaguchi, the Olympic champion, two-time World champion and U.S. champion. It truly serves as an inspiration to young Asian Americans, who wants to take on the world. For those not familiar with the skating world, the book provides a glossary of skating terms which is a good reference guide, especially during commentaries by sports newscasters. This is a good read after the Winter Olympics because ice skating is such a popular sport among winter sport enthusiasts. This won’t be the last book of Karen Chen. --------------------------------------------------Are you going through the Olympic blues now that the games are over? Wasn’t it awesome to see representation from Asian Americans on the U.S. teams? 35 Colorado Olympians also headed to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea last month, according to The Denver Post. Colorado is known for its elevation, training centers and the great mountains of Vail and Aspen. In fact, Steamboat

Reviewed by Mary Jeneverre Schultz

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @Jeneverre

Springs is known for the most Olympic athletes living in the glorious mountain town. Here are activities to keep up the Olympic spirit the 2022 games in Beijing. Reading about Olympians: 1. Finding the Edge by Karen Chen 2. Grace on the Ice: Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Michelle Kwan by Abigail Tabby 3. Edge of Glory: The Inside Story of the Quest for Figure Skating’s Olympic Gold Medals by Christine Brennan 4. Always Dream by Kristi Yamaguchi 5. Heart of a Champion by Michelle Kwan Visit Colorado Springs: Did you know Colorado Springs has one of the premier Olympic Training Centers? If you plan ahead or go with a group, tours are available by visiting the website www. Just one hour south of downtown Denver, it’s an easy half-day activity for family and out-of-town guests, who love sports, especially the Olympics. Colorado Springs also has a list of local attractions related to Olympic events at Visit Steamboat Springs: Need a mountain adventure? Head up to Steamboat Springs! Visit to get a free guide of things to do in this mountain town. Weekend activities include the annual Mountain Mustang Roundup during Father’s Day weekend or Steamboat Springalicious Festival, scheduled between the first two weeks of April. Who knows, you might run into a former Olympic star just by hiking or biking through the trails! Book Review | asian avenue magazine



The Pho Cookbook Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles

Author: Andrea Nguyen Published: February 7, 2017 | Publisher:Ten Speed Press Hardcover | 168 Pages | ISBN 9781607749585 Price: $22.00

Connect with Andrea Nguyen: Twitter: @aqnguyen | Instagram: andreanguyen88

Reviewed by Mary Jeneverre Schultz Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @Jeneverre


March 2018 | Book Review

In rank of importance, the ingredient list starts with water, followed by noodles and then spices. Nguyen gives tips to using ingredients such as cassia bark and cinnamon sticks. Other cooking techniques of maintaining a gentle simmer, defatting broth, charring aromatics and parboiling bones are discussed in detail so the novice cook can follow step by step, with no shortcuts. It’s so refreshing to see the photography throughout this cookbook. Photographs come from a variety of inspiration, showing the countryside of Vietnam to checking out the stylized photography of the finished recipes. ANDREA NGUYEN is an author, teacher, and consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born in Vietman, she came to the US at the age of six. Her first book, a children’s book, chronicles that journey. She has written a number of acclaimed cookbooks, including Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings, and The Banh Mi Handbook. Her food writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Cooking Light, Lucky Peach, Saveur, and Rodale’s Organic Life, where she is a contributing editor. Mary Jeneverre Schultz tasted her first pho when she visited Vietnam in 2008.



During Colorado’s snowiest months of the year, more foodies and soup lovers are looking for different pho recipes, originating from Southeast Asia. Author and chef Andrea Nguyen creates a comprehensive cookbook about Vietnam’s most beloved comfort food, pho. She first tasted pho in Vietnam as a child, sitting at a Saigon street stall with her parents. That experience sparked a lifelong love of the iconic noodle soup, long before it became a cult food item in the US. In this book, she dives deep into pho’s history, visiting its birthplace and then teaching how to successfully make it. Options range from quick weeknight cheats to five-hour weekend feasts with broth and condiments from scratch, as well as other pho rice noodle favorites. Over fifty versatile recipes, including snacks, salads, companion dishes, and vegetarian and gluten-free options, welcome everyone to the pho table. With a thoughtful guide on ingredients and techniques, plus evocative location photography and deep historical knowledge, The Pho Cookbook enables anyone to cook this comforting classic. Nguyen created an authoritative cookbook on pho, a simple broth that warms anybody who enjoys this comfort and nutritional soup. The book also shares the history of pho, which sometimes gets lost when introduced through mainstream cuisines of the US. Did you know pho originated from these villages of Nam Dinh and Van Cu? Nguyen shares her personal experience of visiting these villages. After sharing the history of pho, Nguyen spells out how to prepare the recipes in five sections. Photographs are compelling as they show comparisons between different types of dried rice noodles and fresh rice noodles available in Asian markets or Asian sections of American grocery chains.

Photo Credit: Genevieve-Pierson

What inspired you to write the cookbook? My publisher and some of my fans suggested it. I was skeptical that I could do it but once I delved deeply into the history of pho, I knew there was a rich story to tell, plus exciting recipe that I could present. What do you want cooks and chefs to walk away with after reading your cookbook? Many people perceive pho to be difficult. If you can boil water, you can make pho. If you follow my instructions, you’ll make fabulous pho. It just takes thought and practice. Pho is a personal, creative food. It has always been evolving and I want to offer the foundation for people to master the basics, as well as inspire them to create their own pho-ish dishes. The book offers many options and recipes for people to craft a delicious pho adventure. You don’t have to be Vietnamese to cook Vietnamese food well. When you’re not in your kitchen, what are your hobbies or interests? I putter in my garden and read. I also love to shop for clothing. I enjoy fashion. My daily exercise routine involves practicing yoga, meditating, and taking a walk to pick up groceries. I’m fortunate to have that kind of lifestyle. What should your fans know about this cookbook? You can plug in at many levels to make pho. Don’t have time to make pho from scratch? Doctor up canned broth. If you have a pressure cooker or multicooker like an Instant Pot, pho can be yours in about 1 1/2 hours. Or, go for a long,


slow simmer in a stockpot and you’ll be rewarded with A+ pho. Pho broth and the cooked meats also freezes exceptionally well. Herb-wise, Thai basil is not the go-to pho herb. Mint is what the old school pho lovers in Hanoi (the birthplace of pho) choose. Cilantro is also important. Finally, pho means the noodle soup as well as the flat rice noodles themselves. That’s why there’s a lot to explore in the world of pho.

with Andrea Nguyen

Any tips or advice to aspiring chefs? That’s a difficult question to answer because I love to cook and eat. I have many favorite foods and pho is among them. I’m lucky to be able to write about my favorite foods. Future projects? I’m cooking up my sixth cookbook tentatively titled Vietnamese Food Every Day. It’s about using accessible ingredients to make terrific Vietnamese flavors. The book will be out in February 2019 from Ten Speed Press. I’m totally stoked about it. Go to to join a special mailing list and get updates about the new book.

Golden Shanghai Asian Restaurant

● The Best Chinese Restaurant by 710 AM Restaurant Show ● The Best Chinese Restaurant by the 1430 KEZW Restaurant Show ● Voted 2007 Top 100 Chinese Restaurant in the US

1412 S. Parker Rd. A-134 Denver, CO 80231 (303) 743-7666 (303)743-9079 (303)743-8210 The Pho Cookbook | asian avenue magazine




larence Low, President and CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce (ACC) recently participated in the 5+2 Innovative Industry Delegation to the Republic of China (Taiwan). Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan, community and business leaders from various US cities traveled to the cities of Taipei, Taoyuan and Kaohsiung and met companies such as Gogoro (renewable energy), Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency (IT), Yeshealth iFarm (vertical farming), TOPPER SUN Energy Technology Co. (solar panels), and CHO and Sinew Pharma (pharmacology development). The delegation was received by Deputy Director General, Douglas Hsu, Department of North American Affairs, MOFA, Hon. Tang Feng, Minister without Portfolio, Executive Yuan, Legislator Wan-Ju Yu and Mayor Wen-tsan Cheng, City of Taoyuan. Under Taiwan President Tsai’s leadership, Taiwan is embarking on ambitious and progressive initiatives to market its emerging technologies to neighboring countries and abroad. ACC commends the representative companies’ energy and vision to increase international economic development opportunities for their country and citizens.

Electric scooters from Gogoro

Organic produce from Yeshealth iFarm

A journey of hope


By Stacey Shigaya

n Feb. 11, the deep snowfall melted as the sun peaked out of the clouds, making way for a warm discussion of change, adjustment and inclusion from an extraordinary family. “Living In Hope: A Mother and Her Transgender Son’s Journey,” presented by Sakura Foundation, featured Marsha and Aiden Aizumi and their journey of unconditional love and acceptance as Aiden transitioned from female to male at age 20. Their circumstances have organically resulted in a life of activism to support transgender individuals and their families and build understanding, tolerance and empathy within the hearts of community members. Listening to Marsha read from her book and seeing her with Aiden – smiling, teary, joyful – emphasized the similar qualities that all families have, regardless of the issues they encounter. Two Spirits, One Heart, authored by Marsha and Aiden, is available at and is highly recommended


March 2018 | On Scene

reading, regardless of one’s connection with the LGBTQ community. Among the many gifts that have resulted from Marsha and Aiden’s journey are compassion, courage, patience, gratitude, pride, honesty and, most of all, love. Marsha continues her activism as a newly appointed member to the Biden Foundation’s LGBTQ Equality Advisory Council ( Aiden will graduate from the University of La Verne this semester with a master’s degree in education. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Mary and their furbaby, Kuma. As with all families, the Aizumi’s continue to experience happy times, challenges and joy as they navigate their lives, share their story and spread the message of inclusion and acceptance around the country. We are deeply grateful to Marsha and Aiden for the tremendous work they do and their dedication to the Denver Japanese American and LGBTQ communities.

Annual Day of Remembrance event marked Japanese American By Gil Asakawa WWII incarceration

Keynote speaker Peggy Nagae was the lead attorney for the Supreme Court appeal of Minoru Yasui.

Left: Derek Okubo was the emcee of the event. Right: The comic is available in PDF online: https://milehighjacl.files.

asian avenue rings in the year of the dog at 10th annual banquet



he Feb. 18 Day of Remembrance event sponsored by the Mile High chapter of Japanese American Citizens League drew more than 400 attendees who came to learn about the incarceration of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II. The annual program has been held at History Colorado Center for the past few years, and attendees could visit the museum’s exhibits, including one about the Amache concentration camps in southeast Colorado. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the US Army designating “Military Exclusion Zones” and rounding up 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry and imprisoning them in concentration camps during World War II. Japanese Americans across the country hold events so the signing of EO 9066 and its aftereffects will not be forgotten. The focus for this year’s event was Redress and Minoru Yasui. Redress was the movement started in the 1970s to gain an apology and reparations payment from the US government. The redress campaign led to the passing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, 30 years. Min Yasui was one of the four Japanese Americans who fought the incarceration all the way to the Supreme Court. After the war Yasui settled in Denver, and was an activist for social justice not only for Japanese Americans (he was one of the leaders of the redress movement) but for other minority communities. He was a founder of the Urban League for the African American community, and also helped form organizations for the Hispanic and Native American communities. For several decades, he served as the executive director of Denver’s Commission on Community Relations. The keynote speaker was Peggy Nagae, the Portland-based lawyer who was lead attorney for Min Yasui’s appeal in the 1980s to the Supreme Court. Attendees were treated to Japanese food after the program, and a limited number of comic books published for the Day of Remembrance were distributed. The comics were produced by Pop Culture Classroom, a Denver nonprofit that creates comic books to teach middle school students about Colorado history.

Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center performed lion dancing at Asian Avenue Lunar New Year Celebration.

n Feb. 9, Asian Avenue magazine hosted its tenth annual Lunar New Year Celebration at Kings Land Chinese Restaurant with lion dancing, kung fu performances and a ten-course Chinese banquet dinner. The Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center started off the

Director General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver Jerry S. Chang, Publisher of Asian Avenue Christina Yutai Guo and State Representative Paul Rosenthal

night with celebratory lion dancing and drumming. Following, students of the Denver Buddhist Society showed off their kung fu skills and Mr. Likun Hu was welcomed to the stage to present his Chinese calligraphy. The emcee of the evening was Kim Nguyen with Colorado Public Radio. Mile High Happenings | asian avenue magazine


Asian Americans Define

Financial Security as Pinnacle of Success Long-term planning is key to improving financial security Today, Asian Americans still believe in the ideal of the American Dream – that, with hard work, we all have the opportunity to succeed. But, just what does success look like? Northwestern Mutual conducted a survey to better understand how Asian Americans view success as it relates to their families; how they define financial security; and what role finances play in their individual and family lives.

Other top priorities included: retirement planning (49 percent), paying down debt (48 percent) and planning for the unexpected (44 percent). Financial responsibility Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they’re financially responsible not only for themselves, a partner/ spouse and/or minor children but also their parents or their partner’s parents. This makes it even more crucial for Asian Americans to have a financial plan in place that takes these various generations into account. Yet, only 28 percent of respondents currently work with a financial planner to build a long-term financial plan. They instead turn to financial websites/ apps (38 percent), parents (34 percent) and friends (30 percent).

The American Dream In the survey, nearly half of respondents (44 percent) defined the American Dream as being financially secure, second only to having a happy family life (47 percent). When asked if the American Dream is attainable, 60 percent of respondents agreed that they believe they will achieve it. The survey results show Asian Americans are committed to Building a long-term plan attaining financial security for themFor Asian Americans, establishing selves and their families and are taking a financial plan with a focus on longthe necessary steps to do so. term goals is a key strategy to achieve financial security. Achieving financial security Areas to consider when creating a fiA finding from the survey included nancial plan: having peace of mind regarding one’s Save: While Asian Americans place financial situation was the greatest in- an emphasis on saving, it’s important dicator (29 percent) that one is finan- that saving is aligned with long-term cially secure. And Asian Americans have goals. A good rule of thumb is to save a few key strategies to ensure peace of 20 percent of income. mind when it comes to their finances. Spend: Balanced spending is key to a Among their top financial priorities, long-term financial plan. Create a bud73 percent of respondents selected get to help manage your needs - daisaving as the most important in order ly expenses, fixed payments, etc. But, to ensure financial security. The survey don’t forget to have fun! The remaining results indicated that saving enables 20 percent of your monthly spend can them to feel prepared and confident go to discretionary items. when approaching each stage of life. Protect: You work hard for financial


March 2018 | Financial Advice

By Vivian Chen

Director of Asian Market Strategy, Northwestern Mutual

security, so ensure you’re protecting what you’re trying to achieve. Whether it’s your family, career or home, insurance is essential in the event of the unexpected. Grow: To achieve your long-term goals, it’s important to save in a way that will allow your money to grow. Begin prioritizing contributions to a 401(k), other retirement plans or a college savings plan. Also, consider investment options, such as stocks, bonds, cash equivalents, etc. Give: It’s never too early to be thinking about passing down your legacy. You can slowly build assets as part of your long-term financial strategies that can then be passed on to the next generations to ensure their financial security from an early age. Meet with a financial professional to help structure a financial legacy for you and your family. As Asian Americans continue to achieve financial security, it’s essential that they identify financial strategies to reach their long-term goals. Their hard work must be supported by a plan for the future as it can improve their confidence. Ultimately, a long-term outlook can guide their journey in attaining their vision of the American Dream. To learn more or find a Northwestern Mutual financial representative near you, visit: www.northwestern

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Asian Avenue magazine - March 2018  

Support the performing arts and theatre!

Asian Avenue magazine - March 2018  

Support the performing arts and theatre!