Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875

09 Nov

Book release: Asian Flavors

by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer

The Minnesota Historical Society would like to invite you to the take a culinary tour to the cuisines of Asia as they have appeared on Minnesota tables over the decades, the distinctive flavors of faraway homes with a midwestern twist.

It’s hard to believe there was a time when you couldn’t go out for Chinese food in Minnesota, but there was—until brothers and entrepreneurs Woo Yee Sing and Woo Du Sing opened their Canton restaurant (later called John’s place) in Minneapolis in 1883. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and Cambodian immigrants have left an indelible and flavorful mark on our collective culinary history. Many cooks sought not only to make a living but also to preserve the memory of their homeland through the dishes set before family and patrons alike, to the great benefit of diners from the metro area to Duluth to St. Cloud.

Asian Flavors includes interviews with pioneering chefs, features on beloved restaurants, stories of farmers and food businesses, and, of course, more than 150 treasured recipes that have nourished and inspired Minnesotans. Try Dar Cheen Chicken from Wing Ying Huie’s Chinese Lantern in Duluth, or Supenn Harrison’s egg rolls made famous at her state fair booth beginning in 1976, or Reiko Weston’s sukiyaki from the original Fuji Ya in Minneapolis.

Let Asian food experts Phyllis Louise Harris and Raghavan Iyer take you on a tour through this comprehensive history, lavishly illustrated with historical and contemporary photography, from the Philippines to South Korea to Nepal, from the 1870s through today.

Book signings:
Saturday November 24th at 3:00 pm
Taste of Little Mekong Restaurant Tour
Mai Village

Saturday December 1st Cooks of Crocus Hill
11:00 am-12:30 pm St. Paul store
2:00-3:30 pm Edina store

Phyllis Louise Harris teaches Asian cooking and was food editor of Asian Pages for two decades. Collaborator Raghavan Iyer is author of Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking, The Turmeric Trail, and 660 Curries. They are cofounders of Asian Culinary Arts Institutes in Minneapolis. Visit their blog at

For more information on the Minnesota Historical Society Press blog and how to get the book, click here.

Watch for the companion documentary on Asian Flavors to air on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in Spring 2013!

1 Comment

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875

  1. Donna

    November 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Just reading this is making me hungry!

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