ROCHESTER — How are milkfish heads eaten? What do they taste like?
What are the distinguishing features of Taiwanese sausages compared to other Asian sausages? How do you order Taiwanese sausage in Taipei? How about in St. Paul?
Tiffany Alexandria would like to be your guide for those answers and other food adventures.
The food blogger and promoter launched a video series about food and travel this year.
She said it’s a natural evolution of her work to promote food with a focus on Minnesota BIPOC makers. Alexandria said she hopes she can bridge cultural gaps to help people better enjoy new experiences and foods.
“When you don’t educate the customers, you get misunderstandings,” Alexandria said.
With her cooking skills, and enthusiasm for food and help she has offered some of
Alexandria said she sometimes gets asked when she’s opening a restaurant of her own. However, she’s more interested in helping people learn about the food that’s out there than to create (and stick to) one menu.
“I’d rather be a platform for culture and food education,” she said. “I love food but I want to share food in other ways.”
That’s what led her to establish her food blog,
However, with other projects, she found writing thorough but timely posts wasn’t always easy to do.
“I find that I’m a lazy writer,” she said. “So blogging is probably not the best medium for me.”
While Alexandria was in Taiwan earlier this year, she decided to try switching to a video format.
“It’s fast to get the points I want to get across,” she said.
That shift came with a bit of reluctance.
“Generally, I prefer to be behind the camera,” Alexandria added. “I still don’t really love seeing myself in the videos.”
Alexandria said the format is good for getting ideas and thoughts out quickly, but it also takes more forethought going into shooting a video.
“It’s more pressure, you get one shot,” she said. “You have to have all your ideas and thoughts sorted out but also you need to be able to say it in the moment.”
The idea of doing a video series came to her while she was in Taiwan earlier this year. Street food and other cuisine in Taipei gave her a rich environment of topics, she said.
“Being in Taiwan, there are just so many stories,” Alexandria said.
Her first video is all about a Taiwanese street food staple — sausages.
Alexandria walks a viewer through ordering and explains the differences in types offered by street vendors.
It’s a topic she’ll return to here in Minnesota as well when she features Taiwanese Sausages, of St. Paul, an Asian-owned business that makes traditional Taiwanese sausages.
The project is also helping Alexandria learn more about the food culture she grew up with and, for a time, she says, took for granted.
“People sometimes ask me about specific Taiwanese foods or specific questions and I realize sometimes I don’t know as much as I’d like,” she said.
Trying to find that information, Alexandria said she didn’t find much good information in English. That’s a gap she said she plans to fill with the video series. She said she seems to be reaching the right audience.
“A lot of them are people who are interested in Asian food and Asian cuisine and want to learn more,” she said. “I think a lot of them are American-born Asians.”
Alexandria acknowledges starting a video blog isn’t a new concept.
“I’m definitely behind on the trend,” she said. “But I think in a lot of ways it’s more engaging than reading a blog.”