Food For Thought: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Food For Thought
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Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions are celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Month. Join us on 94.7 The Wave’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT as we pay tribute to inspiring Asian American and Pacific Islanders who have made innovations in the food industry.

Momofuku Ando was born in 1910 into a wealthy family. With Japan still suffering from a shortage of food in the post-war era, the Ministry of Health tried to encourage people to eat bread made from wheat flour that was supplied by the United States. Ando wondered why bread was recommended instead of noodles, which were more familiar to the Japanese. The Ministry's response was that noodle companies were too small and unstable to satisfy supply needs, so Ando decided to develop the production of noodles by himself. Ando went on to found Nissin Food Products Company and is known as the inventor of instant noodles and the creator of the brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.

Yuan Longping was born in Beijing, China and was the second of six siblings. Yuan was known for developing the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s, part of the Green Revolution in agriculture. Hybrid rice has since been grown in dozens of countries in Africa, America and Asia - boosting food security and providing a robust food source in areas with a high risk of famine. This allowed China to sustain 20% of the global population on 9% of global arable land, an achievement in food security that won Yuan the 2004 World Food Prize. For his contributions, Yuan is known as the "Father of Hybrid Rice”.

Joyce Chen was born in China and discovered her passion for cooking at a very early age. During the Chinese Communist Revolution, Chen and her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where she began cooking for local students who missed authentic Chinese food. She operated several popular Chinese restaurants and was credited with popularizing northern-style Chinese cuisine in the U.S. - coining the name "Peking Raviolis" for potstickers, inventing a flat bottom wok with handles, and developing the first line of bottled Chinese stir fry sauces for the US market. Chen introduced Chinese food to the American public and was a pioneer in promoting healthy Chinese cooking. Her accomplishments and influence were honored by the US Postal Service.

Hanaya Yohei was born in what is present day Tokyo, Japan. He was a restaurateur and chef who developed a new type of sushi, nigiri sushi, which was different from the already existing oshizushi, in the early Bunsei era . Hanaya's cookery was a departure from Japanese eating habits of the time as in the early years, a chef only made sushi part-time. Inexpensive sushi stands emerged, but after the government outlawed these questionable food stands, sushi restaurants became mainstream. Yohei is widely regarded as the inventor of modern sushi that is recognized around the world, and was the founder of the Hanaya sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

Robert R. Taira was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, the ninth of eleven children of Okinawan immigrants. After his discharge from the Army, Taira attended baking schools in Hilo and Chicago, and then founded the company, then called Robert's Bakery, now known as Kings Hawaiian Bread, in Hilo, Hawaii. He got his big break when he figured out how to extend the shelf life of this sweet bread, which he could then sell in large volumes to supermarkets as shelf-stable "Hawaiian bread". In 1963, the company moved to Honolulu and changed its name to King's Bakery, and in 1977 the company expanded to the mainland United States by opening a bakery, King's Hawaiian Bakery, in Torrance, California.

Food For Thought and 94.7 The Wave invite you to come into any local Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions locations to experience food differently.

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