Melting Pot Cookbook Giveaway and Quick Bites Samantha Mui

Enter our worldwide giveaway to win a signed copy of Samantha Mui’s Melting Pot: Stories and Recipes from a Chinese American Daydreamer.

Samantha Mui is a native of California (Bay Area). A former culinary student and current food blogger, she has worked in and out of the food industry for more than a decade. Her cooking style is inspired by her travels abroad where she has experienced culture through cuisine. She has been a guest on the Bay Area TV show Check, Please! You can see what she’s cooking daily by following her Instagram account.

Melting Pot, Samantha’s debut cookbook, was released independently in August. I ordered my copy from Celia at Omnivore Books and fell in love with it as soon as I opened it. Filled with beautiful photographs, delicious dishes, and Sam’s voice – it is a book not to be missed.

You will find recipes from Chorizo cornbread stuffing to Hoisin sticky ribs. Sam’s supplement section includes DIY charcuterie board info, everyday drinks, party drinks, game plan menus, and more. I have a number of recipes that I cannot wait to try including Garlic roast pork, Jajangmyeon noodles, Spicy cold Korean noodles, Lomo saltado (a Peruvian steak dish), and Hapa fried rice. Sam’s dishes are full of flavor and very approachable.

Samantha was gracious enough to provide a Quick Bites Q & A for our members that shares more details about this title.

Q: What first triggered your interest in cooking and do you remember your first cooking memory?

I was an odd kid growing up – while some kids were watching cartoons, I would watch cooking shows. I especially remember Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Nigella Lawson. I was inspired by Lydia’s Italian kitchen and the way that she turned simple fresh ingredients together into these wholesome family-style Italian dishes. My imagination spurred me to pretend to be the star of my own cooking show, with limited utensils and ingredients in my apartment kitchen, and repeating her signature word “carmelize.” My other celebrity idol was Nigella Lawson. She’s posh, maybe it was the allure of her British accent. I mostly appreciated the way she cooked – her kitchen counter clutter was relatable, like every other home chef’s kitchen. 

Truth be told, I made many inedible dishes before I made an edible dish. In my book Melting Pot, you’ll read about some of these cooking disasters. In the chapter Cookie Clog, you’ll learn how I would fake sickness to avoid going to school because of bullying. I would cook when everyone was gone. I was eight when I tried to make Peanut Butter Cookies. It was a disaster and it resulted in a dough so chunky it clogged up my sink. Funny thing is, I’ve quit many activities when I was younger, but no matter how much I sucked at cooking, I never gave up and eventually went to culinary school. 

Q: If you had to describe your cooking style, what would it be?

I call myself a freestyle chef in the kitchen. That is also why I am a terrible baker. I believe that cooking is an art while baking is a science. I’ve always operated more on the right side of my brain and tend to enjoy using my intuition in the kitchen instead of relying on rigidity and recipes. In short, I like taking a classic dish and putting my own spin on it. I also cook with the motto “make more out of less.” This has been passed down to me watching the resourceful women that I was surrounded by. I wrote a chapter “Scrappy,” which is about my maternal grandmother and how she was always sustainable before it ever became a popular trend in the states. She grew potato roots in jars, dehydrated meats and fruits, kept all the ketchup, condiment packets from our trips to McDonald’s – she even ripped out pages from magazine catalogs to use to discard seafood bones to avoid wasting napkins. 

Q: Are you a cookbook collector? What you look for in a cookbook?

I’m not so much of a collector but I flip and skim read tons of cookbooks at a time. Prior to the pandemic, I would go to the library or bookstores and spend half a day sitting in a corner and flipping through cookbooks and getting inspired. I’m very thrifty so sometimes I will wait to buy used cookbooks at my local library. On my own bookshelf, I probably have less than 10 cookbooks (maybe more if you include my textbooks from culinary school). Currently, I am reading more BIPOC cookbook authors. I recently picked up a signed copy of Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin at Omnivore Bookstore. My favorite authors include my childhood favorite, Nigella Lawson, and my adult favorites, Ayesha Curry and Chrissy Teigen. These women are down-to-earth, authentic in who they are and it reflects in their recipes. 

Q: What is the best part of your job? Do you sometimes feel like working with food all day keeps you from wanting to get creative in the kitchen?

Fun fact: I don’t work in kitchens or in the food industry at the moment. Even though I went to culinary school, I later went to school and received a Bachelor in Communications and a Masters in International Studies and Business. When I was in grad school, living overseas in Shanghai, China, I saw such interesting food culture, almost opposite to the western world and it became a springboard in having the desire to tell the backstories of people all around the world, be it a chef, a restaurant owner, or a mom and pop stall. Everyone in the food world that I’ve worked with has had an amazing “why.” I don’t think people realize how hard it is to work in the food and beverage industry. I plan to share more of those stories in the future, whether it’s through my blog or producing short videos or using a streaming platform. Who knows?!? 

Q: What is your go-to for a quick dinner?

Something with eggs. Growing up, eggs were a staple. My mom who hated cooking loved to quickly whip up eggs for any meal of the day. I don’t know if it’s a Cantonese thing, we just make eggs when we can’t think of anything else to make. I love poached eggs, ombre-scrambled eggs, poached egg on crusty bread, soft boiled egg over rice, microwave steamed eggs (oh, and always with drizzles of sesame oil on top of eggs.) I am one of those people that don’t like to wait to eat when I’m hungry and eggs are fast and so tasty! P.S I grew up eating eggs but later learned that in my culinary journey that eggs are essential and key in so many dishes. I now love eggs, so much so, I even have a whole chapter in Melting Pot dedicated to it, titled, Eggcellent. 

Q: What projects are you working on?

At the moment, I’m working on getting Melting Pot as much reach as I can. I’m using this time to bring entertainment and community together – whether it’s hosting virtual cooking events or just mentoring individuals to share their stories fearlessly. 

Since I’ve published my cookbook, I have received many messages from other people who are interested in sharing their story in print. The general question: is how did I make Melting Pot without a single publishing deal? I hope to divulge more of that information in the future so that others can have access to share their stories and be able to dispel the truth, that you don’t always need a publisher to make a beautiful product worth reading! 


Special thanks to the author for offering one autographed copy of her book in our worldwide giveaway.  Entry options include answering the following questions in the comments section of this blog post.

From the recipes I’ve mentioned above which one sounds like something you would like to try?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 13th, 2020.

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98 Comments

  • rchesser  on  September 12, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles.

  • cbrowne  on  September 12, 2020

    Definitely jajangmyeon noodles!

  • Kristjudy  on  September 12, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • matag  on  September 12, 2020

    Garlic roast pork,

  • jayw  on  September 12, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • riley  on  September 13, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • iza27  on  September 13, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • lean1  on  September 13, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles.

  • PeavineBlues  on  September 13, 2020

    Sticky ribs

  • Mtetpon  on  September 13, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • MarciK  on  September 13, 2020

    Lomo saltado

  • stepspior  on  September 13, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • lauriesk  on  September 13, 2020

    Spicy, cold Korean noodles.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  September 13, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • ravensfan  on  September 13, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles

  • mcrimmins  on  September 13, 2020

    Garlic Roast Pork

  • fujirw  on  September 13, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs.

  • dbranigan27  on  September 13, 2020

    The Garlic roast pork or the Jajangmyeon noodles sound like great recipes.

  • Mariarosa  on  September 13, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • southerncooker  on  September 13, 2020

    I’d definitely love to try Spicy cold Korean noodles. I had the pleasure of having some cold Korean noodles in a restaurant while in California and they were delicious.

  • ginatus  on  September 13, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles!

  • Dannausc  on  September 14, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • Sbst  on  September 14, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • Laura1  on  September 14, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • hbakke  on  September 14, 2020

    Chorizo cornbread stuffing

  • sarahawker  on  September 14, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • gilmonster  on  September 14, 2020

    hoisin sticky ribs

  • moralla  on  September 14, 2020

    Lomo saltado

  • grindabod  on  September 15, 2020

    Hapa fried rice!

  • Jewby  on  September 15, 2020

    Can’t wait to try Spicy cold Korean noodles!

  • kmn4  on  September 15, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodle

  • jd5761  on  September 15, 2020

    spicy cold korean noodles for me

  • maci234  on  September 16, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • youngsvnnhrs  on  September 16, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • chezlarios  on  September 16, 2020

    hapa fried rice!

  • bryanmurphy  on  September 16, 2020

    Hoisin Sticky Ribs

  • NaomiH  on  September 16, 2020

    I’d like to try anything from the egg chapter. I love eggs!

  • Isis1981uk  on  September 16, 2020

    The Hoisin sticky ribs

  • cinefemme  on  September 16, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs would be a hit in our household

  • Siegal  on  September 17, 2020

    Sticky ribs

  • sgreiff  on  September 17, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • Dendav  on  September 18, 2020

    Sticky ribs

  • ElizM  on  September 18, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs sounds fabulous

  • LeMinou  on  September 18, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • hrk  on  September 18, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • Roosta  on  September 18, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • kaivulagi  on  September 18, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • RuthHarwood  on  September 19, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • LauraJon  on  September 19, 2020

    Hapa fried rice.

  • calguire  on  September 19, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • LaurenE  on  September 19, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • vhfvhf  on  September 19, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • Maria.luiza  on  September 19, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • stacymarkow  on  September 19, 2020

    Lomo Saltado

  • littleminxgirl  on  September 20, 2020

    Garlic roast pork- Yum

  • Sand9  on  September 20, 2020

    Hoisin Sticky Ribs x

  • Blackeyedsusans  on  September 20, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • debbiehb  on  September 21, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • qchu204  on  September 21, 2020

    Garlic roast pork!

  • debs913  on  September 21, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • MaggieMaggieMae  on  September 24, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  September 24, 2020

    the one thing I love as much as chicken wings is ribs, so the Hoisin Sticky Ribs

  • luccio  on  September 26, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • mga  on  September 26, 2020

    Lomo saltado

  • virjeania  on  September 26, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • ktpotat  on  September 26, 2020

    ombre scrambled eggs

  • ang709  on  September 26, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • t.t  on  September 27, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles

  • foodie16  on  September 27, 2020

    Lomo saltado

  • Pizzacat13  on  October 2, 2020

    spicy cold korean noodles…mmmmm.

  • Sanyo12  on  October 3, 2020

    poached egg on crusty bread

  • RickPearson54  on  October 3, 2020

    hoisin sticky ribs

  • janv  on  October 3, 2020

    Spicy cold Korean noodles

  • nvernon  on  October 5, 2020

    Lomo saltado

  • Sfgordon  on  October 5, 2020

    I love lomo saltado and would like to try making it at home!

  • MeerkatSilverleaf  on  October 6, 2020

    Hoisin Sticky ribs

  • Shelmar  on  October 7, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • Steben  on  October 9, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

  • hisforhome  on  October 9, 2020

    Hapa fried rice sounds interesting

  • bookmark77  on  October 10, 2020

    Sticky ribs

  • bookmark58  on  October 11, 2020

    Garlic Roast Pork

  • lydiasa  on  October 11, 2020

    I would love to try the Jajangmyeon noodles.

  • lils74  on  October 12, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs or garlic roast pork both sound amazing to try

  • lpatterson412  on  October 14, 2020

    Garlic roast pork

  • swankysweetpotato  on  October 14, 2020

    spicy cold Korean noodles!

  • antpantsii  on  October 19, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles

  • Lora724  on  October 20, 2020

    Hapa fried rice.

  • ceejayen  on  October 21, 2020

    Jajangmyeon noodles sounds interesting

  • debra24  on  October 22, 2020

    Garlic Roast Potatoes

  • Ishtar  on  October 24, 2020

    I’d love to try the Peruvian steak dish: Lomo saltado

  • EmilyR  on  October 26, 2020

    jajangmyeon noodles

  • hwg3141  on  October 26, 2020

    sticky ribs

  • katiefish  on  October 26, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • Onlyhumanjelly  on  October 26, 2020

    Lomo saltado sounds heavenly

  • shahedc  on  October 26, 2020

    Hoisin sticky ribs

  • banba1  on  October 27, 2020

    I’ve always wanted to try making Lomo saltado

  • Belene  on  October 27, 2020

    ombre-scrambled eggs

  • silversand  on  October 27, 2020

    Hapa fried rice

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