Asian Talk

Ken Fong gets to the heart of Asian American culture, history, and spirituality. Through interviews with culture-makers and -shapers in the Asian American community -- some you know, others you've never heard of before -- prepare to laugh, cry, and be amazed.

Ken Fong gets to the heart of Asian American culture, history, and spirituality. Through interviews with culture-makers and -shapers in the Asian American community -- some you know, others you've never heard of before -- prepare to laugh, cry, and be amazed.


United States


Ken Fong gets to the heart of Asian American culture, history, and spirituality. Through interviews with culture-makers and -shapers in the Asian American community -- some you know, others you've never heard of before -- prepare to laugh, cry, and be amazed.




Ep 390: Ryun Yu

The South Side of Chicago meets South Korea in this heartfelt play where a business partnership between an African American employee and an immigrant Korean owner plus a touch of magical realism bring these two very unlikely friends closer to understanding themselves and each other. Ryun Yu, already a favorite of this podcast, stars as "Mr. Kim" and Julanne Chidi Hill stars as "Veralynn Jackson." The play runs from September 15-October 9 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Los...


Ep 389: David Ono

Filmmaker and broadcast journalist David Ono has created something that defies well-known descriptions. His "Defining Courage" is a tribute to the courage and patriotism of the Japanese American soldiers who fought and died during World War II, even as many of their family members were unjustly imprisoned in desolate prison camps. Combining his live narration with cinematic drone footage of five storied battlefields, accompanied by a choir and musicians, Ono humanizes the stories of those...


Ep 388: Dr. Thea Pham

Earlier this year, Dr. Thea Pham posted a TikTok video that has now been viewed over 100 million times on this and other platforms. And almost overnight she went from having just 20 TikTok followers to well over 400,000. Even if you already know what it was that she talked about, I promise that my recent conversation with her will be a deep dive into why she's connected with what so many people around the world are going through, too.


Ep 387: Garrett Wong

Why has a PE teacher in NY who hates to travel started a library, a gym, and a school in Kenya? According to Garrett, it was something he heard me say long ago at a Christian conference. Even if you're not a Christian, you'll find his efforts to live out The Hero's Journey quite fascinating.


Ep 386: AADAP's Dean Nakanishi & John Saito, Jr.

In response to an alarming number of Asian American deaths due to drug overdoses during the Summer of '72 in Los Angeles, local Asian American activists banded together and started the Asian American Drug Abuse Program. New CEO Dean Nakanishi and new trustee John Saito, Jr., not only reflect on the agency's history, but also talk about its impact and dreams for the future as AADAP marks its 50th anniversary this month.


Ep 385: Dave Young Kim

Korean American Dave Young Kim today is an acclaimed and respected muralist, but he started out as an animal behavior major at UC Davis! His journey to covering gigantic exterior spaces with culturally-infused and contextually-informed art is mind-boggling. Dave is first and foremost a storyteller, and he will continue to search for creative ways to share his stories.


Ep 384: Dr. Russell Low

Earlier this year, narrative-historian Dr. Russell Low published his latest book, "The All-American Crew: A True Story of a World War II Bomber and the Men Who Flew It." Once again, Low's prodigious research and masterful storytelling has resulted in a book that not only details what it was like to serve together on a B-24 in the Pacific Theater, but also connects us to his father's and his younger brother Stan's stories. Over 20,000 Americans of Chinese descent served bravely and...


Ep 383: Amman Jordan AKA "Capnificent"

When you learn how Amman Jordan first came across my podcast, you might be shocked to hear that he initially thought I wasn't worth listening to (it had to do with what he thought I was saying about the movie "Black Panther.") To his credit, he hung in there and came to the opposite conclusion. Today, he loves my pod, and I'm so grateful to have a compadre like him in the effort to build a deep and lasting unity between African Americans and AAPIs, and with everyone else. Among things, this...


Ep 382: Mayly Tao AKA The Donut Princess

Coming on the heels of her Great Uncle Ted Ngoy AKA The Donut King, Cambodian American Mayly Tao grew up watching her parents resurrect a dying donut shop in Santa Monica, CA. After college, Mayly worked to refresh the shop's image, and pioneered all kinds of new donuts. You'll also learn how she's harnessed her "Mayly Magic" after her parents finally retired and she sold the business.


Ep 381: Thai Co-Producer and Cast of "Thirteen Lives" Movie

Director Ron Howard's engrossing new movie "Thirteen Lives" takes us back to those weeks in 2018 where the world was holding its collective breath, wondering if the young Thai boys and their coach would ever be rescued from the flooded cave in Chang Rai. This episode gave me the unique opportunity to interview several of the key Thai players who've brought this gripping story back to life.


Ep 380: Jo Koy, Lydia Gaston & Hannah-Kalea Enriquez

This episode highlights the hilarious and groundbreaking film "Easter Sunday," which opens in theaters on August 5th. Filipino American comedian Jo Koy, actress Lydia Gaston, and SIPA Director of Operations Hannah-Kalea Enriquez share why this new comedy will truly be a love letter to their community.


Ep 379: Christina Soontornvat & the "Thirteen Lives" Movie

Back in June and July of 2018, the entire world was transfixed with the drama playing out deep within the flooded chambers of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. Twelve young teens and their soccer coach found themselves trapped over two miles deep and half a mile down. Legendary director Ron Howard's newest film "Thirteen Lives" moves us to relive those unforgettable challenges, obstacles, sacrifices, and acts of heroism. And award-winning...


Ep 378: Justin Chung

In 2007 18-year-old Justin Chung was sentenced to 82 years to life for the murder of one person and the shooting of another when he was part of a Korean American gang less than two years earlier. Throughout the 15 years that he spent behind bars, he refused to affiliate with any gang, renounced all violence, earned his GED and college diploma, and deepened his Christian faith. As a result, he was granted parole and California's Gov. Newsome commuted his life sentence to time served....


Ep 377: Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Marie is a Korean American award-winning, widely published writer and author. In this episode she explains why it took her eighteen years to publish "The Evening Hero," her first novel for adults. And in the last portion of this interview, she reveals the recent astounding development in her autistic young adult son's ability finally to communicate.


Ep 376: Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Dr. McNeil has long been one of the leading Christian voices on racial reconciliation. She's spoken to tens of thousands of people, written several books on the topic, and teaches the subject at Seattle Pacific University. However, when 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, Brenda decided she would no longer mince words when in front of them. She's also taken the bold step to include queer and trans people in the mission of reconciliation.


Ep 375: The Two Kens_The End of Roe v Wade

In this latest collaborative episode you'll hear Ken Kemp share some key takeaways from his second Civil Rights pilgrimage, and then we jump right into reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to vacate Roe v Wade.


Ep 374: Dr. Kat Lieu

Relocating to the Pacific Northwest and then the pandemic prompted physical therapist Dr. Kat Lieu to begin experimenting with Asian baked desserts in her new kitchen. That was 2020, and today she oversees the Subtle Asian Baking global community and has just authored the "Modern Asian Baking at Home" cookbook.


Ep 373: Aiden Aizumi

To celebrate PRIDE Month this year I finally landed the amazing Aiden Aizumi, a Japanese American trans-male who lives and works here in the LA area. His story is not only a testament to his courage and determination, but also how crucial it is to belong to a loving and supportive family.


Ep 372: Simone Heng

All of us are hardwired from birth to seek meaningful connections, which is why we get so frustrated when we fail to make them or keep them. Singapore-based human connection specialist Simone Heng is traveling the world again, in order to help us all make better connections. She graciously shares her lessons with me in this episode.


Ep 371: Phil Yu & Jeff Yang

My conversation this episode is with Phil Yu and Jeff Yang, who partnered with Philip Wang to write and curate the first definitive book about the increasing prominence of Asian American culture from the Nineties till today. Much more than a descriptive history of this unprecedented surge, their amazing book "RISE" oftentimes gives the reader experiences of the culture itself!