NRAEF : Blog

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by | May 17, 2021 | Blog Post |

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! 

At the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, we’ve been spending the month of May celebrating the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans on the history, culture, and achievements of the United States– especially as it relates to food. 

For so many cultures, food is a means to connection. Meals can be so much more important than just nurturing your body– they can nurture your soul as well. As we expand our knowledge of the unique cultures within the Asian and Pacific Island regions, we especially love hearing about the ways that their individual dishes and traditions can bring people together. 

Below are a few of our favorite cookbooks and short stories that help expand our understanding of the AAPI community and their impact on the culinary field in the US. Best of all, we’re giving away THREE of the books below so you can honor and celebrate AAPI Month at home and in your classrooms! You can enter by commenting on our corresponding Facebook post and/or Instagram post and let us know which book you’d be most excited to receive.

Every chef needs a copy of Maangchi’s “Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine”


Often referred to as “YouTube’s Korean Julia Child,” Maangchi “explores topics not covered in other Korean cookbooks, from the vegan fare of Buddhist mountain temples to the inventive snacks of street vendors to the healthful, beautiful lunch boxes Korean mothers make for their kids. Maangchi has updated and improved the traditional dishes, without losing their authentic spirit.”


Check out the cookbook here and follow Maangchi on Instagram.

Get a taste of Thailand with the “Pepper Thai Cookbook: Family Recipes from Everyone’s Favorite Thai Mom”


We all know that supermodel and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen loves to cook, but it’s time we show some love to the woman who taught her how! In her latest cookbook, Vilailuck “Pepper” Teigen shares “80 stir-fried-saucy, sweet-and-tangy mostly Thai-ish recipes from the mom who taught Chrissy (almost) everything she knows!” 

In addition to mouth-watering recipes, Pepper shares stories about growing up in Thailand, such as how she used to sell sweet-savory kanom krok coconut-and-corn pancakes to commuters when she was a child. 

Check out the cookbook here

Learn about Japanese Cuisine from an Iron Chef! Check out Masaharu Morimoto’s book, titled “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking.”


If you’ve seen Chef Morimoto compete on shows like Iron Chef, you know that he’s a force to be reckoned with! 

In this book, “Chef Morimoto reveals the magic of authentic Japanese food—the way that building a pantry of half a dozen easily accessible ingredients allows home cooks access to hundreds of delicious recipes, empowering them to adapt and create their own inventions.”

“From revelatory renditions of classics like miso soup, nabeyaki udon, and chicken teriyaki to little known but unbelievably delicious dishes like fish simmered with sake and soy sauce, Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking brings home cooks closer to the authentic experience of Japanese cuisine than ever before.”

Snag a copy here

Dive into the Aloha spirit with “Cook Real Hawai’i,”: a cookbook by Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder


Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder work together to bring light to the true flavors of Hawai’i. 

“With flavorful recipes and poignant stories, Simeon shares the influences and recipes, like wok-fried poke and crispy cauliflower katsu, that define Hawaiian cooking.”

Get a true taste of the cookouts, homes, and iconic mom and pop shops of Hawai‘i into your kitchen here

Don’t miss Brandon Jew’s brand new cookbook, “Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food!”


If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re likely a big fan of Brandon Jew! 

“Brandon Jew trained in the kitchens of California cuisine pioneers and Michelin-starred Italian institutions before finding his way back to Chinatown and the food of his childhood. Through deeply personal recipes and stories about the neighborhood that often inspires them, this groundbreaking cookbook is an intimate account of how Chinese food became American food and the making of a Chinese American chef.

Jew takes inspiration from classic Chinatown recipes to create innovative spins like Sizzling Rice Soup, Squid Ink Wontons, Orange Chicken Wings, Liberty Roast Duck, Mushroom Mu Shu, and Banana Black Sesame Pie. From the fundamentals of Chinese cooking to master class recipes, he interweaves recipes and techniques with stories about their origins in Chinatown and in his own family history. And he connects his classical training and American roots to Chinese traditions in chapters celebrating dim sum, dumplings, and banquet-style parties.”

Check out the brand new book filled with recipes and stories! 


Don’t forget! You can win THREE of these amazing cookbooks by commenting on our corresponding Facebook post before 5/22/2021. 

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