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Have you eaten yet? Celebrating our identities through food

Join us as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by sharing stories from our colleagues in the API Employee Resource Group. Hear from the leaders of the ERG, Charise Frias, Gavin Tsutsumi, and Ashley Lee, and they share their favorite dishes connected to their heritage. 

“Have you eaten yet?” This is a question we get from our families as a form of greeting whenever we get together. The question is really asking if our health is good and if we are happy because they assume as long as we’ve been eating well, all must be fine. It’s a very special kind of love language. In Asian culture, food is what centers family and builds community.

In our Asian & Pacific Islander ERG at OpenSesame we open a lot of conversations inquiring what the other person ate or is planning to eat. Many of the events we throw tend to be focused on a dish we all love. For example, we’ve hosted dumpling folding classes and an okonomiyaki tutorial for OpenSesame. We’ve shared some of our favorite foods from our heritages below.

Charise Frias | Senior Curation Specialist, Wellness

One of my favorite sweet treats growing up in a Filipino family is Turon. Turon is traditionally a street food snack in the Philippines made of ripe plantain banana and jackfruit wrapped in lumpia (egg roll) wrapper then deep fried with latik (coconut milk). My dad has a big sweet tooth, so he would make it a lot for us when I was a kid. Now, Filipino food is starting to trend in my current city of Portland, Oregon and I’m always thrilled to see Turon included in menus of nearby Filipino pop-ups, carts, and restaurants. It’s the perfect way to give me a small taste of home.

Gavin Tsutsumi | Associate Product Support Engineer

There’s nothing quite like a nice, hot bowl of Japanese curry. Compared to other curries, this particular flavor of curry is typically mild with a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with fresh rice, but it is also very adaptable and can be found with tonkatsu and even in udon broth. Japanese curry is a quintessential comfort food, warming you from the inside out, leaving you full and satisfied (and in my case, ready for a nap). This is the sort of dish that reminds me of my grandma’s house, where she’d have a huge pot of curry on the stove and always wanted us to eat just one more bowl.

Ashley Lee | Product Support Team Lead

One of my earliest memories of riding in a car is when my Dad would make me ride with him to pick up Chinese take out. The smell of my favorite dish, chicken chow mein, would be wafting throughout the car and made the ride wonderful yet also miserable because I would be so hungry. Whenever I eat this dish, I think of the car rides home and how happy I was to be in a place that just smelled like crispy noodles covered in deliciousness.

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