Anna Mindess

My passion is exploring the connection between food and culture. I write regularly for Oakland and Alameda Magazines and Berkeleyside's NOSH. My blog, East Bay Ethnic Eats, gives me an excuse to track down the only Bay Area baker making fresh filo dough or learn to stuff a dried eggplant with help from a Turkish immigrant. Culture is the thread that ties together my several careers. As a sign language interpreter, educator and author, my study of Deaf culture has taken me around the world, where I fell madly in love with seed-strewn Danish bread, attacked platters of French shellfish with a small arsenal of tools and sampled a Japanese breakfast so fresh it wiggled. I'm also an epicurean concierge for Edible Excursions Japan town tours (that I lead in either English or ASL). And when I conduct in-depth cultural trainings for foreign workers being transferred to the Bay Area, I am sure to discuss the delights of doggie bags and the mystery of American restaurants serving ice water in the dead of winter. I can be found tweeting @EBEthniceats
Monster Pho's Tee Tran.

Tee Tran’s Monster Pho Conquers Oakland with Traditional Vietnamese Cooking

Tee Tran's Monster Pho defies expectations. Tran, who opened this Oakland Vietnamese eatery last year, was warned repeatedly that as a first-time restaurant-owner with no previous experience, that his plan was "impossible" and "doomed to fail." He has proven his critics wrong with simple, traditional dishes from his mother's recipes, served in a hip, family-friendly atmosphere (that is also 100% peanut-free).

Serenade’s shrimp and chive dumpling and pan-fried pork buns.

Dim Sum Delights in their Hong Kong Homeland

Dim sum in its homeland, Hong Kong, is flourishing in a culinary balancing act of tradition and innovation. Every day, cozy family-run spots, all-vegetarian teahouses and elegant dining rooms create over a hundred varieties of steamed dumplings, baked buns, and deep-fried delicacies.


This Lunar New Year, the Horse Gallops in with Traditional Foods of Tết

Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of Lunar New Year, encompasses a range of traditional foods: from thick wedges of sticky rice filled with peppery pork to candied kumquats and nutty cookies. For the Year of the Horse, Son Tran, owner of Oakland's aptly named Le Cheval Vietnamese restaurant, shares details of these essential holiday dishes and other cultural traditions.


Icy or Spicy? Cooling Foods Across Cultures

While the Bay Area doesn't get the swoon-inducing heat and humidity of Japan, Peru, India or the Philippines, we can still partake of their edible solutions for cooling relief. Some like it cold and icy with mounds of shaved ice doused with syrups, while others turn to peppers and spice to induce a natural cooling response.