Sue Liang, the person, the story, the inspiration behind Asulia, a company that brings together dumplings and charitable giving seamlessly, is quietly making dumplings with a kitchen full of ingredients in Boston. Sue Liang is not a trained chef, but her story is full of many layers, and on occasion it is those life experiences that translate into umami in a dish. Sometimes our hardships are what make us the salt of the earth and it is those experiences that somehow flavor the food. Sue Liang has had a life of many twists and turns from her personal childhood story to her professional journey from finance to today filling dumplings with a taste of her childhood.
When you think dumplings, I’m pretty sure that chickpeas, taro root and kale are not the first foods that spring to mind. But if you grew up poor, like so many have and continue to do, you know that offal might be a treat, let alone a “proper” cut of meat. It is vegetables and most likely #2’s that keep you going every day. We may have come full circle with our top restaurants serving offal as delicacies (no longer peasant food) and trendy bars and bistros serving up raw, all vegetable, or vegetable focused dishes. I have no problem with this I love peasant food and I love that offal is being appreciated on many levels. I have always ordered my dishes at restaurants either totally vegetarian or chosen based on the vegetable sides so for many reasons I am all for vegetables being the star of any dish.
Rooted in a personal history, and not a trend, comes Asulia. Sue Liang’s mother was abandoned in China after the Chinese civil war and had access to very little. No basic means. No education. As a mother in her 40’s with no education and no means Sue’s mother found herself raising Sue, another Chinese girl abandoned because of her gender. Two generations of abandoned girls that Sue is determined to put a stop to it by supporting girls in developing countries through programs like Room to Read.
Sue’s life was not her mother’s and her mother reminded her of how fortunate Sue was. Now in a time when Liang has left finance and is starting something fresh and new, she’s taking what she knows from her life experience. Good, nourishing, creative food and rising above poverty.
“I am committed to helping girls around the world who are not as fortunate as I am,” Liang said. “Education is the most powerful way to help.”
Asulia is beginning to raise money so they can buy their packaging (which just so happens to be made by a company that uses wind power). They are just starting out and although I have yet to try the vegan dumplings. I have a soft spot for dumplings and I appreciate the story and initiatives so I’m definitely watching for the start of their Indiegogo campaign. Each package of dumplings sold contributes a portion of proceeds to Room to Read. At the moment, as the company is just in its infancy, 5% is being donated, but as the company grows so will the contributions. You can support Asulia via their Indiegogo Campaign.
In addition to dumplings you might have noticed I’ve been on a smoothie kick lately. Sue has some very interesting smoothie recipes on the blog. I think I might have to be brave and try out this Taro Root stuff!