Jamie Chung talks cooking, rice and starting her twins on solids
Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what’s on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
As the child of Korean immigrants, Jamie Chung grew up eating a variety of Asian dishes. The California-born actress tells Yahoo Life that hot pot (a cooking method where a heat source on a dining table keeps broth simmering for ingredients to be cooked) is one of her family’s traditional meals, always served with a heaping bowl of rice.
“When my parents were growing up during the Korean War, white rice was really hard to come by,” says Chung. “They called it ‘white gold’ back in the day. For us to have white rice growing up was quite the privilege and so every meal had to have rice. It was eggs, Spam and rice. It wasn’t spaghetti bolognese, it was rice bolognese — which sounds weird, but it’s delicious.”
Her favorite comfort food is the classic Korean spicy tofu soup, Sundubu-jjigae, with rice, of course. Chung says it’s a dish full of “nostalgia,” that reminds her of home. But her go-to potluck meal it is without a doubt Mandu, a Korean-style dumpling with savory filling. “It’s so time-consuming, but that means I love you if I bring it,” she says. Her versions of the dumplings are filled with kimchi, tofu and usually beef or pork. “It’s just made with so much love and it tastes damn good,” she adds.
The new mom of twin boys, who turn 1 at the end of October, explains they’re at the age where parents are supposed to introduce them to a lot of different foods. She’s noticed one of her children has more of her husband Bryan Greenberg’s palate, enjoying potatoes, mac and cheese and meats, while her other son loves everything, but has a serious hankering for Asian-inspired foods. The boys devour classic Korean Chinese dishes like Jajangmyeon (a black bean noodle dish) or Jjamppong (a spicy seafood noodle soup) and love tofu and avocados. The only things they’ve shied away from are Mandarin oranges or anything “super sour.”
Her perfect food day would begin with breakfast in Paris, with a fresh croissant and an espresso or latte on a good street corner café. Next up: lunch in Bethlehem, Israel for “yummy Middle Eastern food,” followed by an omakase dinner in Japan and a little hop over to Korea for a red bean dessert.
Chung’s favorite pizza toppings are pepperoni and jalapeños, but sometimes she likes pineapple on a pie. “Don’t judge,” she warns.
Her favorite fast food is West Coast staple In-N-Out Burger, specifically their protein-style burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. When on a road trip, Chung adds you can’t go wrong with the “delicious” Impossible Whopper at Burger King.
The 39-year-old actress says her go-to snack during long days on the set is peanut butter on a rice cake with banana and honey, further solidifying her love of all things rice.
Halloween is quickly approaching and it’s one of Chung’s favorite holidays. In fact, she married her husband, Bryan Greenberg, in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Halloween in 2015. She gets a kick out of seeing people dressed up as characters she’s brought to life, like “Amber” from Sucker Punch or “GoGo Tomago” from Big Hero 6. “It’s really fun to see how creative people get with their costumes and we love it,” she says.
Chung chatted with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Shipt, the same-day grocery and product delivery company, and its inaugural Halloween Trend Report. The report predicts the most popular Halloween costumes this year will include characters from Thor: Love and Thunder and Top Gun, and says that, thanks to Netflix, quite a few people will dress like serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The millennium is also “shockingly back in style,” and a circa-2000 Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake costume is a great option for couples. As far as group costumes, Chung says be on the lookout for girls recreating outfits from the classic 1995 film Clueless. And for candy? M&Ms are the most popular Halloween candy nationwide and Minnesota residents buy the most chocolate in the country to hand out.
For her twins’ first real taste of Halloween, they’ll be dressing up as Star Wars characters. “I got a Mandalorian and a Baby Yoda [Grogu] costume from Target via Shipt and I ordered [supplies] from Office Depot to help make the Baby Yoda floating bassinet,” says Chung. “I’m going to turn one of their strollers into a little Baby Yoda capsule. My dog already has a Chewbacca costume.”
Chung is not a fan of going to the supermarket and says she loves using Shipt to get groceries. “I have my shopper on Shipt, which makes it easy,” she say. “You can save your preferences of what you like, how you like it and they will go above and beyond to make sure you have what you need.”
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