‘Bling Empire’ star Kane Lim and Fil-Am pastry chef Sally Camacho discuss uplifting Asian excellence – and that viral candle halo-halo –
As summer draws to a close and temperatures start to drop (despite climate change), it’s time to step out the summer favorites, which Filipinos like Heart Evangelista are all too familiar with.
On August 21, the Filipino actor and socialite posted a photo of the summer essentials Hello Hello, but it wasn’t just regular Hello Hello: It was a chic, gold glitter encrusted version of the classic frozen treat, served especially for a tight-knit group of friends.
Served at a dinner party in Los Angeles last month, the dish was the Rolls Royce of Hello Hello. This is a creation of award-winning Filipino-American pastry chef Sally Camacho Mueller who custom-made the dish for party co-host Dion Ugbebor, managing director of home-based care agency Intra Care. in Los Angeles.
“Hello Hello is just an amazing end of meal because it is very simple but really refreshing with the ice cream and the flavors mixed together, be it tapioca buko pandan, this is what I used, or gulaman (gelatin), ”Camacho – who is currently a pastry chef at Tesse in West Hollywood – told the Asian Review in a Zoom interview on Tuesday, September 7.
What makes the sumptuous of Camacho Hello Hello Perfectly suited to a high-level crowd, it’s not just the flakes of gold that effortlessly glaze the dish, but the careful presentation and understated elegance of the dish, which is generally quicker in preparation and flamboyant in color. .
Hello Hello – which is literally “mix-mix” in Tagalog – comes from Japanese cuisine, in particular from kakigori (crushed ice) category of desserts.
The beta version of the beloved dessert consisted of porridge mongo (mung beans) cooked in syrup and served over crushed ice and milk, but over time more indigenous Filipino ingredients – coconut sport, jackfruit, ube, plantains, ice cream, leche flan and guinea pig (roasted rice) – have been added to create a colorful concoction which is very versatile to suit a wide range of palates, diets and of course, budgets.
“What touches me is thinking about the way our mothers and aunts used to cook at home,” Camacho said of his approach to Filipino cuisine. Special sound Hello Hello was vegan and included ube ice cream that she made herself, coconut milk and cashew nuts, coconut nata, azuki beans and, of course, the gold flakes.
Even among deep-pocketed members of the international Asian community, Camacho’s blingy Hello Hello was the star of this modest but luxurious rendezvous. Evangelista – who is the daughter of a Chinese-Filipino restaurant tycoon, heir to a sugarcane plantation and creator of cultural tastes in her own right – is just one of many distinguished guests at this event. having dinner.
Netflix’s charismatic “Bling Empire” co-star and entrepreneur Kane Lim, who is close friends with Camacho, Ugbebor and Evangelista, also attended the dinner which brought together his own mix of Asian cultures and origins.
“[The halo-halo] kind of reminded me of a globe, like a blingy shape of the earth, ”Lim told the Asian Review.
And Lim’s perspective on Camacho’s Hello Hello is not far from what the world actually looks like through the prism of its many traditional cohorts.
Since the film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” in 2018, portrayals and portrayals of incredibly wealthy Asians and people of Asian descent have become more in demand, showcasing the opulence of money. old and new through reality shows like “Bling Empire”. “Singapore Social” and “The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives”.
What separates these crazed real-life rich Asians one percent from the others is that there is no sense of passivity or careless swaddling of wealth. Lim, 33, is the son of an oil tycoon who raised him to become self-reliant.
In an interview with Travel LA, Lim said that advice and a “small loan” from his father enabled him to invest in stocks and found Kix Capital, an international holding company that says it has “investments in the real estate, biomedicine and renewable energy. “
But what Lim is perhaps best known for is his personal investment in fashion, a move he used to become a luxury influencer. A quick scroll to the bottom of Lim’s Instagram page yields a lush lookbook of Alexander McQueen, DSQUARED, Christian Louboutin, Hermes, and other names that belong to Rodeo Drive.
Likewise, the contemporary Filipino food scene in Los Angeles falls under the rubric of “boba liberalism,” a larger strain of Asian-American elitism that engages in trendy liberal socio-politics but only translates into by passive and superficial solidarity.
Images awash in Asian wealth and luxury appeal to the wider appeal for Asian portrayal in mainstream media, but it’s impossible to ignore the other side of the Asian-American experience in 2021.
Fashion and food are effective gateways to Asian culture, but what are the effects of these ports being overtaken by the richest of the rich? How does the idea that all Asians are “rich” ultimately affect the large communities of Asians who are not?
The unfathomable wealth displayed through the onslaught of content featuring jet set and high fashion reality stars – along with the myth of the model minority – belies the reality of a vast majority of Asians , especially Asians who live in the United States.
At a time when the country has its history (and present) of discriminating against the Asian American community, finally recognizing and defending the invisible masses of the community has never been more urgent.
Income inequality has grown globally since the 1970s, but this wealth gap is largest among Asian Americans, according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center, which analyzed available government data.
The standard of living of Asians at the top of the economic ladder has skyrocketed over the past 50 years as Asian Americans have gone “from being the most equal to the most unequal among major racial groups and American ethnicities, ”a trend coinciding with the vast displays of luxury propagated by things like media portrayals of incredibly wealthy Asians, gold encrusted desserts, and the persistence of the model myth of the minority.
The income of Asian Americans at the 90th percentile doubled from 1970 to 2016; Middle-class Asian Americans saw their incomes increase by 54%, while Asians in the 10th percentile increased by only 11% over the same period.
The surges of Asian immigration in the second half of the 20th century brought an overwhelming diversity of cultures, religions, languages and circumstances. In addition to family reunification programs, refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam and other oppressive regimes have flocked to the United States with little or nothing to their name.
Asians now have the largest wealth gap among other racial groups in 2018 – and data has yet to be collected from Asian Americans and Asian immigrants affected by the pandemic and the dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes.
To date, more than 9,000 reports of anti-Asian harassment, assault and discrimination by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have been recorded on the Stop AAPI Hate tracker since the start of the report. pandemic, a move that has accelerated long-ignored concerns. of the entire Asian American community.
“I think as a culture of generations past we don’t really talk and I think it’s time to talk,” said Lim, who in the past year and a half of the pandemic has used his platform to support health caregivers and campaign for the Stop AAPI Hate movement.
Lim, who shared that his grandparents were poor migrants from China who came to Singapore “with nothing,” admitted that the wealth gap between Asian Americans was a blind spot in his work, but that ‘he felt motivated to use his platform for inclusion among Asian Americans. of all income levels.
“This is when I have to remember how we can help [our community] plus, like I just talked to my developers the other day and I’m like, “Hey, what about Asian communities?” How can we include them more in our projects? ‘ ”Lim said.
“I think it’s a new era where people stand up and say, ‘No, that’s enough. It’s time to stop and talk about it and tackle this and find solutions, ”Lim added.
When it comes to unifying the Asian American culinary community, Camacho explained that among Filipino cooks, chefs and restaurateurs, there is an active understanding of their place in the rich history of Filipino cuisine.
“I think we all know the hardships and what our food has been through and what it can be and what we are all trying to do,” Camacho said of the “brotherhood and brotherhood” of Filipino chefs. . “From my experiences, I believe that everyone tries to uplift and help each other the best that we can, whether through collaborations to promote each other. “
And one of the ways the community of chefs and restaurateurs have collaborated is through dinners like the one Ugbebor hosted in 2020.
“Everything I do with my culinary talent always comes from the heart, it’s always with passion,” said Camacho, who also teamed up with other LA bakers for a Stop Asian Hate fundraiser in April. . “I am so blessed for individuals like Dion and Kane and to be on this platform to cook a dinner like this; it’s these relationships that really help raise awareness in our communities and remind us that we need to use our talents to give back.