Interview with Cindy Zhou of Chubby Chinese Girl

I recently had the opportunity to meet Cindy Zhou of Chubby Chinese Girl.  Cindy is a dedicated food blogger, hitting the streets of New York City, blogging about her experiences dining at different restaurants, eateries, food trucks, and food events.  Undeterred by Momofuku’s no photo policy, Cindy brought her sketch pad and posted sketches of her meal on her blog.  Her enthusiasm for food is contagious.   She’s one of the few bloggers I take notes from and I hope you enjoy my interview with her.

What made you start blogging about food?

I’ve always loved food. My mom would always get mad and ask if I thought of anything else, which was quite funny. Plus, I organize a lot of dinners between friends and I’m always curious about anything new. Sometimes friends would ask for suggestions, so it just naturally headed that direction. I got a lot of encouragement to start one.

Does blogging about food make you seek out more food experiences or are the experiences you blog about things you would have done regardless?

I think regardless. It’s fun trying out new joints.

What is one of your favorite eating experiences to date?

I love the “hairy crab” in Shanghai (they have hairy claws).  They are only in season a couple short month during the winter. The bright orange roe is amazingly satisfying and the crab meat is super sweet. We usually eat it with a sweet vinegar and ginger. I try to go back home just for that, it’s hard to beat it. Especially if we take a day trip out to the country side, where these crabs are harvested, you can take a boat and go crabbing. Yummy! But even if we don’t get to go, eating at home is just as good. I can devour like 5 in one sitting, and that’s a lot, people usually have 1 or 2.

Do you have any food obsessions?

Anything with bacon or pancetta is a winner for me. Jamon Iberico is pricey, but so worth it. I love cured meats, actually meat in general.

What are some of your favorite eating destinations?

Shanghai has some of the best, from cheap eats to fancy places. Japan is pretty up there, I admire how they make everything really exceptional, very detail oriented.

You grew up with Shanghainese parents—lucky you!  What are some of your favorite home cooked dishes?

My mom makes the best wontons, and braised pork with egg, and this sweet soy sauce duck. I love this rice dish with veggies and Chinese ham, very Shanghainese. She also makes her own Shanghainese “chong zhi” (like a tamale), and fish balls with “fa chai” (this hair looking veggie) which are to die for. But pretty much everything she makes is amazing, even a pack of chicken gizzards turn into an exciting dish (she cuts it in a way that makes them look like blossoms). Awww, it’s making me miss home. She just makes everything look so effortless.  Unfortunately, I haven’t learned any of that.

You also grew up in Buenos Aires—what was your experience there like culinarily speaking?

Growing up there, my food choices were pretty limited. I was exposed to the Chinese food at home, and a couple Taiwanese places in the tiny “Chinatown”. Very limited dim sum, and Japanese food was outrageously priced. Mostly Italian and Spanish restaurants. But it’s where my love affair for steak started.

What’s the best thing about having a food blog?

Being able to write down meals shared with a friend or family member every time we meet up.   There’s always a little story, and a glimpse of where we are in our lives–I love how it brings everyone together. It’s amazing how taste can take you back to that time and place. Also, meeting all sorts of fun and interesting people, bloggers, restaurant owners, small businesses, usually have great stories to share.

You recently attended the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival—what were some highlights?  Where there any bloggers that you had been looking forward to meeting that you had an opportunity to meet?

The Foodbuzz Festival was awesome. The whole weekend was a highlight for me, there was so much happening, hard to pick one. I didn’t really look into who was going to be there, but it was funny to see the bloggers in person, and say “oh, I’ve been to your blog” or hear “so you’re chubbychinesegirl”.  We’ve commented on each others posts and putting a face and really getting to know them was great, especially since it’s built a relationship with fellow New York City bloggers.

Is there anything food related that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to try?

So many! Taiwan comes to mind, I’ve always wanted to visit for their famous night markets. Locally, there’s plenty of restaurants I would love to try, but just can’t seem to justify the cost, at least not right now.

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2 Responses to “Interview with Cindy Zhou of Chubby Chinese Girl”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    thanks for interviewing Cindy its lovely to know more about her rebecca

  2. An Choi: Banh Mi n’ About Me | chubby's new york food diary + some travel eats Says:

    […] her recent return from the sights and sounds of Brazil (makes me so jealous), she asked to do an interview “about me” over some “bahn mi”… get it? I know, I know, don’t worry, I’m keeping […]

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