Meet & Eat: Joan Fang, Serious Eats Intern

Note:It's time to meet another member of the Serious Eats summer intern squad. Joan joined us in May and has been responsible for all the quizzes you've been taking lately. She may have stumped you on tropical fruits, french fries, and ramen. Now she's headed off to Hong Kong for the rest of the summer, then back to Harvard in the fall, but will still be chiming in with those weekly quizzes, so don't put away that digital #2 pencil. Say hello to quizmaster Joan!—The Mgmt.

20100621-meeteat-joanfang.jpgName: Joan Fang
Location: NYC; Cambridge, Massachusetts
Occupation: SE intern; student

Guilty pleasures?

One of my favorite foods is the fatty skin on top of red braised pork shoulders, luscious and rich. That along with the crispy skin off Peking duck, pork cracklings, and the crunchy skin on grilled fish are pretty serious indulgences.

Describe your perfect meal.

Hotpot. I'd start it off with a few slices of sashimi of every sort—Spanish mackerel is my absolute favorite type of sashimi. Then a pot of boiling stock and herbs with some lamb, taro root, tofu and rice cakes. It's the absolute perfect meal, especially because the multiple hours it takes on end to finish gives me time to relax and talk with friends and family.

What food won't you eat?

Bitter melon. Sorry grandparents. I know it's healthy and all that jazz, but I definitely get more than enough vitamins and minerals.

What would you like to try but haven't yet? Everything?

Nothing specific in mind but I'm game to try anything new.

Favorite food person?

Alton Brown. I love listening to him talk science about food. It's the big dork in me coming out.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater?

When I was in first grade, I would eat 20 some homemade dumplings in one sitting. I'd watch my grandparents mix the filling and I'd grab the wrappers, stick some filling in it, and then press the dumpling shut with a plastic mold. Of course, I'd stop making them once boiling dumplings started coming out of the pot. My favorite sauce: vinegar and chili paste and roughly chopped raw garlic!

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions?

A little concerned. My mother would rather I stop spending so much money on food. My friends don't always enjoy the foods I ask them to try. In general though, all of my friends love food so they're pretty understanding, and possibly even crazier about it than I am.

Favorite food sites or blogs?

I am a huge sucker for beautiful photos, so Eating Asia, Ulterior Epicure, and Eat, Drink & Be Merry.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours?

A friend who checks into Yelp a little too often.

And what's the best recommendation she's ever given you?

Basta Pasta in Cambridge! Ridiculously incredible homemade fusili. Ask for extra garlic in your sauce.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it?

Lunch. I could eat sandwiches forever. I love making my own—the crunch of toasted bread against various cuts of deli meats and a (not so carefully) chosen spread of fresh vegetables.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make?

At school, I make a kickass ramen. I take my Korean Kimchi Ramen, pour hot water in, let it soak for three minutes and then proceed to stick it in the microwave to get the noodles fat and fluffy. At home, my favorite dish is stir-fried tomato and eggs. The tomato juice gets soaked up thoroughly into the scrambled eggs and then I get to pour it all over white rice (my favorite carb!).