How Asian American TikTok creators are using food to talk about identity

In a recent TikTok video, Joanne Molinaro, who goes by The Korean Vegan on the social media platform, mixes spices, presses tofu, wraps them in rice paper and

In a recent TikTok video, Joanne Molinaro, who goes by The Korean Vegan on the social media platform, mixes spices, presses tofu, wraps them in rice paper and fries them. As she prepares the ricepop tofu nuggets, she shares a vulnerable story about her mother’s fear of not fitting in. 

It’s a typical video by Molinaro, who’s gained more than 3 million TikTok followers posting tutorials for a variety of vegan dishes and discussing issues like love, racism, familial trauma and heartbreak. And Molinaro isn’t alone. A wave of female Asian American creators are taking off on TikTok by talking about and offering tutorials on how to make Asian food. Many of them, like Molinaro, are then turning their popularity on the app into mainstream success, with book deals, sponsorships, music contracts and pop-up shops.

Before TikTok, Molinaro, 43, began content creation on Instagram, where she posted photos of her food. She said her plant-based diet, which she started in 2016, made learning how to cook a necessity. 

“There just weren’t enough options. There were certainly no Korean options in Chicago,” she told NBC Asian America. “So, the only way I could eat was if I figured out how to prepare it myself.” 

Once the pandemic hit, Molinaro said she needed an outlet for her feelings, and initially posted political content. “I was very angry with everything that was happening and I needed a place to channel that rage in an environment that I felt like is supportive,” she said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/popularity-asian-cuisine-empowers-tiktok-creators-share-stories-recipe-rcna31303


Post ID: fb6a169f-ef65-4519-93ca-c140e6bca92e
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Updated: 2 months ago
Chicago, Illinois

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