NüVoices Podcast #81: Food journalism & Taiwanese cuisine with Clarissa Wei

This week, veteran food journalist Clarissa Wei joins us on the NüVoices podcast! Clarissa was previously a senior reporter for Goldthread – a publication incubated by the South China Morning Post – where she created over 100 videos about Chinese food, culture, and cuisine. Now based in Taipei as a freelancer, Clarissa has recently reported on cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China for VICE, the end of Zero-Covid in Taiwan for The New Yorker, and the sustainability of food systems for her Whetstone Magazine podcast entitled “Climate Cuisine”.

Clarissa’s forthcoming book, Made in Taiwan: Recipes From The Island Nation, is expected for release in 2023.

On the pod, Clarissa talks about how she first got into food journalism, finding stories while backpacking in China, and her current freelance projects while based in Taipei. She also discusses her thoughts on authenticity discourse around diasporic cooking and her passion for elevating Taiwanese stories for international audiences.

This episode was hosted by journalist Solarina Ho, who is based in Toronto, Canada. This is her NüVoices podcast hosting debut!

About Clarissa: Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, VICE, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Monocle, Eater, Bon Appetit, Nikkei Asian Review, CNN, NPR, among others. She has field-produced videos for VICE News Tonight, Vox, and SBS Dateline. She is also the host and producer of Climate Cuisine, a podcast part of the Whetstone Radio Collective that explores how sustainable crops are used in similar climate zones around the world.

Her award-winning videos have been syndicated on Discovery Asia-Pacific and were nominated for a Webby in 2021. In 2015, her VICE piece on working conditions in a rum factory led to an industry-wide boycott of the company, which sparked major systematic changes to the sugarcane industry in Nicaragua.

Clarissa has visited and filed stories from 23 provinces in China and once worked a short stint as a volcano hiking guide in Central America. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in Taipei with her husband, where they are tending to a subtropical food forest called Arcadia.

About Solarina: She is a freelance reporter and writer with more than 15 years of journalism experience, most of which was spent at one of the world’s largest and oldest news agencies, Reuters. She currently writes on a broad range of health, general, and business news for CTVNews.ca and other various publications and organizations, with a particular focus on COVID-19. Her personal areas of interest include topics related to China, women’s issues, media/journalism, parenting and children, immigration, the environment, space exploration, technology, and pop culture (mostly television).