A Time of Pure Invention

Jen is currently working on a fictionalized memoir about her time in Cuba.


 Before the #MeToo movement, there was On the Noodle Road. This travelogue about being newly-wedded but not ready to lay down roots takes readers on a culinary journey. From the back alleys of Beijing to the cobblestone squares of Rome, Jen and her husband take the adventure of a lifetime -- to discover truths about women, breakfast, and love on a six thousand mile journey between Asia and Europe.

In the mid aughts, Jen was working as a foreign journalist in China but daydreamed of becoming a cook in a Chinese kitchen. Defying her Chinese-American parents, she enrolled in a cooking school in Beijing and embarked on a culinary adventure through China. Recipes and chopping techniques aside, Serve the People describes China’s history and the sweeping changes since the economic opening through Jen's cooking mentors, the beloved Chairman Wang and the streetwise Chef Zhang. 


Jen founded Black Sesame Kitchen, a private kitchen and cooking school in 2008 with two cooking mentors featured in her memoir Serve the People. In the decade since opening, BSK has become a culinary institution in Beijing and has been featured in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die