Brian Zhang

9 posts

Masochist: A Father’s Day essay for a dad who didn’t want me

  • The clearance rack feels a little lonely tonight. I would mark myself down by 10% every day for you, never hitting zero — hoping that you would finally choose me and my melted crayons over your cheap champagne and Heineken. But you never do.

Somewhere in downtown Brooklyn, my future father is ironing his only nice dress shirt and practicing pulling out the chair for a girl he hasn’t met yet. He thinks about calling one of his older brothers for some last-minute kissing advice, having never locked lips with anyone before, but ultimately decides against it. He has very little hope for his mother’s weekly arrangements anyway.  


Toothy takes: In defense of Asian fusion cuisine

If American Chinese food isn’t authentically Asian then neither am I 

Growing up with the privilege of nightly access to fresh, homemade Chinese food, I have always taken its Americanized cousin for granted. At best, American Chinese food was a guilty pleasure. At worst, it was an orange stain on Chinese tradition — a cheap knock-off of the recipes my ancestors passed down for generations, watered down and commercialized for Western palettes.  

But I have come to realize that the very notion of authenticity within a cuisine revered for its cacophony of diverse culinary styles is completely outrageous. Sichuan cuisine is famous for its extensive use of the Sichuan peppercorn, which gives its dishes their signature “mala” (numbingly spicy) taste. Meanwhile, the cuisine of the Jiangsu Province is far more cosmopolitan, favoring artistic presentation and more aromatic flavors. 

Ma, Ba, may we talk?: The East Asian dinner table conversation, and what it says about mental health

At 14, you were braiding your younger sister’s hair into a Chinese ladder when Mom called both of you downstairs. It is dinnertime, and your grandparents, parents and older brother are already seated around the table, the thick aroma of pork potstickers and fresh jasmine rice wafting through the kitchen air. And just like an alarm set for 7:15 p.m. every night, Grandma asks your brother if he is ever going to bring home a girlfriend so he can finally give her the great-grandchildren that she has always wanted. You look at your brother, and the two of you laugh nervously. The entire table follows suit, erupting into a light chuckle.


Simu Liu and Tesher take over Juno Awards stage with rousing bhangra dance to ‘Jalebi Baby’

Simu Liu Juno Awards
  • Simu Liu showed off his bhangra moves to the hit song “Jalebi Baby” during the 51st Juno Awards at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto on Sunday.
  • The Marvel star opened the evening with his powerful “I am Canadian” speech before artists such as Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne and even Liu himself performed.
  • He then joined Indian Canadian singer-rapper Tesher onstage and stunned fans with a Punjabi-style bhangra dance sequence.
  • The excitement even went beyond the stage. Liu and Tesher’s performance captured the hearts of several South Asian fans, inciting discussions on social media about how Canadian the whole performance was.
  • “Now that’s how we celebrate Asian Heritage Month,” Liu said at the end of the performance.

Simu Liu showed off his bhangra moves while dancing to Tesher’s “Jalebi Baby” at the 51st Juno Awards on Sunday.

Following a three-year hiatus of in-person celebrating, the Juno Awards returned this past weekend with audience members crowding outside the Budweiser Stage in Toronto as they awaited an exciting lineup of award recipients. 

Carry your favorite BTS members everywhere you go with new TinyTan Tamagotchi

bts tamagotchi
  • BTS and Bandai Namco have collaborated to create new Tamagotchi digital pets featuring BTS band members.
  • Tamagotchi have mood and health barometers that need to be met daily through player interaction and participation in mini-games.
  • The BTS Tamagotchis are currently available for pre-order ahead of their official release in October.

Thanks to a new partnership between BTS and Bandai Namco, fans will soon be able to carry around their favorite K-pop idols amid a revival of the 2000s Tamagotchi “egg watches.” 

The digital pets, small enough to keep in pockets or backpacks, have mood and health meters that need to be attended to daily, as well as interactive features like mini-games and music. 

Netflix drops trailer for ‘Samurai Rabbit’ series based on Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo

samurai rabbit
  • Netflix released its official trailer for “Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles” on April 1.
  • The animated show is an adaptation of Japanese-American cartoonist Stan Sakai’s 1984 comic book series — “Usagi Yojimbo.”
  • The trailer features a misfit team of anthropomorphic animals saving their city from ancient monsters from another dimension, including a protagonist in the form of a teenage samurai rabbit called Yuichi Usagi.
  • The series is scheduled to premiere on April 28.

Netflix has released its official trailer for “Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles,” an animated adaptation of Stan Sakai’s 1984 comic book series “Usagi Yojimbo.” 

The new Netflix show follows a team of anthropomorphic characters as they find themselves in a flurry of battles against ancient monsters from a different dimension. The show’s protagonist, teenage samurai rabbit Yuichi Usagi, is a descendant of Miyamoto Usagi, the great warrior and protagonist of Sakai’s original comic book series. Yuichi is joined by other warriors such as bounty hunter rhino Gen, pickpocketer fox Kitsune and ninja cat Chizu. Together, they embark on a quest that involves more than just saving their city from evil — viewers will be taken on a literary hero’s journey, standing alongside the characters as they embrace friendship and discover what it means to be true warriors. 

Changing Hollywood landscape welcomes increased South Asian representation at Oscars

priyanka south asian excellence
  • This year, 10 South Asians walked down the Academy Awards red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, making history as the largest group of South Asians to be nominated for Oscars. 
  • Priyanka Chopra co-hosted a pre-Oscars celebration last week alongside Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani, Anjula Acharia, Maneesh K. Goyal, Shruti Ganguly and Bela Bajaria to honor South Asian excellence in film and entertainment.
  • Chopra looked back to her early days in Hollywood, sharing a personal story of how she was once one of only two South Asians at a Golden Globes after-party. 
  • Twice-nominated Riz Ahmed emphasized that the movement to increase minority representation — and the challenges that come with it — is a communal one, citing the event as a “platform” for both solidarity and celebration. 

This year, 10 South Asians walked down the Academy Awards red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, making history as the largest group of South Asians to be nominated for Oscars. 

Among this year’s South Asian nominees were Pawo Choyning Dorji from “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom;” Aneil Karia for “The Long Goodbye;” Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei for “Three Songs for Benazir;” Joseph Patel for his documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised);” Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh and Anurima Bhargava for the documentary “Writing With Fire;” Suroosh Alvi for “Flee;” and Riz Ahmed, who was nominated twice for “Flee” and “The Long Goodbye. 

‘Welcome to the challenge’: Female stunt artist wows TikTok with virtuoso nunchuck tricks

A video recently uploaded to TikTok has left viewers in awe of fiery nunchuck tricks, paving the way for a new TikTok challenge while sparking conversations on the importance of female self-defense. 

In the video, uploaded by user @mysteriou91, a female stunt artist uses nunchucks to extinguish fires, ignite flames and remove cards stuck between two bottles placed on top of each other. A variety of everyday objects, including candles, textbooks and Coca-Cola bottles, make appearances as well. Several of the challenges in her video were even completed blindfolded. “Welcome to the challenge,” @mysteriou91 wrote in the TikTok’s caption.