If you haven't been to Alexa's IG account yet, you're missing out! The delectable foods she creates is beautiful and I can almost smell them through my phone. Read on to find out more about Alexa and her work.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name's Alexa Fahlman. I'm a half-Cantonese home-cook, writer, editor, and photographer living in Vancouver, Canada. At the moment, my full-time job is working at a learning centre as the director of curriculum and education, and I also teach English! However, my real passion in life is documenting my experiences, which lately, have been mostly translated through the food at my table.
2. What does being Asian-Canadian mean to you?
Being Asian-Canadian is the identity I present first to the world, and it means so much to me as few words can truly encapsulate my experience. Being third-generation Asian-Canadian means I have deep roots in western culture that are uniquely grounded in Cantonese traditions, specifically Cantonese food. It means that I feel most at home when I'm eating dim sum, embarrassingly trying to pronounce Cantonese words with my mom, and cooking my po po's recipes.
3. How do you incorporate Chinese food therapy/Chinese herbs into your daily routine?
I regularly incorporate Chinese food therapy and herbs into my cooking, though I wouldn’t say I have extensive knowledge by any means. It comes down to what my po po taught my mom, and what my mom has now taught me. For example, when I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember watching my mom drink warm boiled water. While I happily imitated her by asking for my own small cup of hot water, it wasn’t until later in life that I realized it was under the precepts of TCM–warm water is part of an essential balance. Moreover, to this day, I’ll only ever eat jook (congee) when I’m sick, and I’ll always boil some homemade ginger tea to settle an upset stomach. These are just some of the things I’ve grown up with, but since I love to cook with Chinese dried foods, I want to dedicate more time to learning the entirety of their health benefits and memorizing their names in Cantonese!
4. As Asian culture tends to put focus on the importance of family, can you share the fondest memory you have with your family?
One of my fondest memories is spending time at my po po and gong gong’s house in Burnaby. We’d always go in the mornings and stay until the late afternoon. While I played around the kitchen, the smell of lo bak tong and white rice would fill her house. She loved to keep everything–wooden chopsticks from take out, restaurant candies, tin can lids. Anyways, she’d throw all the tin can lids into a big stainless steel bowl and give me a spoon to play chef. While she was busy in the kitchen, I'd be sitting on the floor mixing my lids as if I was cooking up the most delicious meal of my life. That’s one of my favourite memories.
5. Where can people find you?
I’m everywhere! But, people can find me cooking on Instagram at @alexacooksme, on The Plate for more recipes, or on my own website: alexafahlman.com.