Taiwanese “Empanadas” with Caryn Hsu of Hemsmith


Caryn and I have been friends for a few years now. We met through mutual friends and bonded over our love of drunk eating (and cooking), amongst other things. She’s a fellow cat lady who has one of the smartest kitties I’ve ever seen! (Chicken knows how to walk on a leash! On the street! In New York! What!?) Recently, she’s added onto her family by adopting an adorable, deaf pup from Egypt named Moose. Sounds like the most charming sitcom ever, no? I mean, I would totally watch it.

In addition to having the cutest pet posse ever, Caryn is also the founder and creative director of NY based brand Hemsmith, creating dope minimal essentials for your forever wardrobe. All the pieces are handmade right here in beautiful NYC. Do yourself a favor and go check them out here.

Recently, Caryn and her little family moved into their new apartment in Long Island City, just a few blocks away from her factory. About a month ago, she invited a few of us over for an informal, impromptu housewarming…and to make us her favorite childhood food:韭菜盒子, which directly translates to “Chive Boxes” in English. She first described them to me as a Taiwanese Empanada…in which I emphatically responded “when and where?”

Over a tasty dinner of these gigantic, hand-held dumplings and homemade buffalo fried chicken, we chatted about her thoughts on growing up in Taiwan versus the US, environmentalism, her foray into composting as a hobby and why these Chive Boxes are so special to her. Special shoutout to our friend Cassie Lam, founder of Akin, for joining in the conversation. More after the break!

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Send Noods: Spicy Village’s Handpulled Noodles and Dumplings


If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve recently started to eat “clean-ish” on the weekdays. Wtf does clean-ish mean? Well, I this time around for me it’s a loose interpretation of Whole 30…except only during the week days. So Whole 5?

Lately I’ve been feeling a little more sluggish and bloated that usual and decided that I want to play around with my diet to see how different foods affect my body. Even though the mostly plant-based diet that I’ve been eating has nourished and sustained me through the warmer months of spring and summer, now that we’re approaching the throes of winter I’ve felt the needs of my body shift. I’ve been wanting to experiment with whole-30/paleo for a while, intrigued people claiming it’s helped them boost their energy levels and regulate the their body.

So here we are: for the last five days, I’ve been omitting grains/sugar/dairy/sugar/alcohol etc. and honestly, I feel… kind of the same but a little less tired and a little less bloated. I’m also surprisingly not hungry all the time like I thought I would be. I consider all of these to be successes.

The one thing I really did miss eating though, was a big bowl of chewy, carb-y noodles. If you know me, you’ll know that I fucking love noodles. A lot. So much so that I would probably eat a bowl of noodles in one form or another every day if it was socially acceptable. Enter: Send Noods, a series in which I’ll highlight some of my absolute favorite noodle strongholds around town (and there are a lot), as well as new discoveries in New York and beyond. It’s also kind of an excuse for me to force my family and friends to eat noodles with me all the time..not that I have much of a problem doing that already.

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Brown Rice Jook with Shiitake Mushrooms


I was really struggling last week. After finally succumbing to the relentless cold that has been plaguing the office (and all of New York City, it seems) for weeks, I took two days off. Sometimes, when you’re body is running on fumes, you just have to listen to it and slow down.

Growing up, whenever I felt under the weather my mom, grandmother and aunts were always armed and ready with an arsenal of random traditional Chinese remedies. There was always a specific cure for whatever ailed me at the time. Their repertoire included pungent antidotes like Tiger Balm (an old-school, Chinese Vick’s vapor rub on steroids) for when I was congested,  and “Dit Da Jao”, a soy sauce-colored herbal wine used to rub on my many bruises (I was a clumsy kid).

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The Ritual of Dumpling Making with Tanya Chen of Buzzfeed


The other weekend, Ryan and I took the trip to Astoria to visit our friends Tanya and Billy. The agenda? Dumplings.

I’ve known Tanya (@tanyenorth) since we were freshmen in college. She’s currently the Deputy Social Editor at Buzzfeed and is and when she’s not on the hunt for the latest breaking news sourced via the internet, she’s usually rock climbing or debating current events with our friends over far too many bottles of red wine (Cotes du Rhone, SVP).

For a self proclaimed “non-cook”, Tanya makes some pretty damn good dumplings. Here, we try to make them like her mom did growing up. That proved to be no small feat, as asian moms never seem to use exact, if any measurements (“just a little bit of that, a pinch of that, you’ll know when it’s right”).

More after the break on our day making dumplings together, and why the ritual of making them is so special to Tanya.

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