What better time to highlight the diverse cultural history of Detroit than May? After all, it’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI). Not to mention, there are rich stories of the success behind these Detroit chefs that sometimes span the globe, but aren’t always made known verbally or respected properly when you grab bite at your favorite Asian food restaurants in Detroit.
The best chefs in Detroit share their experiences with the world! To celebrate the cultures of the Asian continent, we’re sharing some exceptional Asian Detroit chefs that are pros at cooking in top notch restaurants, food trucks, and even at-home. Some have shifted gears towards digital platforms like TikTok and Instagram, but the content has only garnered more attention with wider, meaningful connections.
Detroitisit rounded up a list, highlighting a few of the many incredible Detroit chefs that are also chefs of many colors in the cultural sense. See what tricks, tips, and delicious tastes they’re cooking, and follow Asian food in Detroit to kick off your summer plans and Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2023.
Detroitisit rounded up a list of Detroit chefs/business owners, and restaurants to know about Asian American
Learn more about how many have gotten involved locally to combat Anti-Asian hate crimes with organizations like Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate.
CHEF GENEVIEVE VANG
Chef Genevieve Vang, owner of Bangkok 96 (Dearborn), Bangkok 96 Street Food (Detroit Shipping Co.), and now CEO of a newly launched company Thai Feast – makers of Asian spices, and prepared products now in Meijer’s stores. How did the now James Beard Award-nominated Chef arrive at the Detroit food scene? Her story begins as a Hmong refugee born during the Vietnam War who immigrated to Europe- learned to cook, became a French-trained chef, and then later settled in Detroit. She’s found success just as much as pleasure in constantly giving back to the communities where her restaurants are.
CHEF JONATHAN KUNG (INSTAGRAM: @JONKUNG)
From Kung’s Kung Food Market Studio space in Detroit’s Eastern Market to going viral on TikTok during the pandemic and becoming an author, Jonathan is now considered a Content Creator with a focus on food, cooking, and health. Kung soon broke 1.5 million followers on the TikTok platform and has since been a star of showing others how easy cooking fun food can be. Moreover, the attention has allowed Kung to share experiences from growing up in Hong Kong and Toronto as well as a cultural exchange, plus identity themes. Stay tuned on Jon’s socials for specialty tricks and hacks like getting “that restaurant quality stir fry at home”. (Instagram: @jonkung).
CHEF TOM LIN (IG: @FORTUNECOOKING)
This star-quality list of Detroit chefs to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month expands to the wider Southeast Michigan as well. Chef Tom Lin is no stranger to the culinary scene as you can see from the Szechuan Empire Restaurant website. Chef Tom Lin was born in Taiwan and has lived in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and New York City. He currently resides in SE Michigan. A chef with 30+ years experience, Chef Tom is a restauranteur, culinary instructor, and food truck guru! His specialty includes S.E. Asian cuisine. Restaurateur. Culinary instructor. Food Network. Learn more about his food truck service, Fortune Cooking and Chef Tom HERE and follow Tom Lin (fortunecooking) on Instagram to see home-cooked Asian fusion recipes on Instagram.
CHEF GARY HYUNGH
The Goblin Chef Gary Huynh was apart of Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate takeout dinner series in his hometown of Detroit in May 2021 at a crucial time. Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate is a grassroots coalition raising awareness and funds to stop hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through unique takeout and dining experiences. There are more opportunities now to stand up for injustices than there were for Gary growing up in Detroit with no social media to expose what he witnessed. Jennifer Jackson and Justin Tootla of Bunny Bunny asked Huynh to be a part of this series that would bring awareness to all generations. Traditional cultural food not only brings people together, but it brings relief and compassion.
CHEF PING HO (IG @PINGSTER)
A list of amazing Asian Detroit chefs wouldn’t be complete without Marrow founder & CEO, Chef Ping Ho. Formerly known as the co-owner of Mink as well as the magnificent owner behind wine shop and bar The Royce in downtown Detroit and newly opened restaurant Marrow in West Village. Hailing from Singapore, she spent much of her adult career in Asia. She calls Southwest Detroit home. Chef Ping Ho is making the world of chefs more diverse as a powerful woman with Asia-pacific and US experience. She continues to inspire people at Marrow to return to old world practices of buying direct and supporting small local producers.
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