Thank you so much, Heart of Dinner Family!! #lovingchinatown
What initially began in 2015 as a supper club to kindle deep conversations over home-cooked meals, we are now a pop-up relief efforts hub providing meals for those most vulnerable in our Asian communities with a heavy focus on the homebound elderly.
In current society, everyone is so caught up with technology, social media, and fancy dinner outings, rarely do we come across people who invest time in heart-to-heart conversations over plates of soul-filling home-cooked meals. The idea of "Heart of Dinner" is to intentionally create time for those conversations we need to feed our hearts in a city that is saturated with surface-level noise. It's a two person team: my partner and I. We both love cooking, hosting & meeting awesome people. We cook what we feel like cooking, sometimes the dinners are interactive so be ready to get your hands dirty, many times they're recipes I learned from my mom, or a recipe I want to experiment with. Nothing fancy schmancy, just good food and good people. I love experimenting with craft beer, tea, and cocktails so expect lots of that. Sometimes we'll have our chefs friends guest-cook (but we usually just want them here to relax, take a break from the kitchen and enjoy.) Our dinners are hosted in the privacy of homes and we take great care in cultivating an interconnected atmostphere of comfort and intimacy. We hope to have each dinner guest leave with their belly, heart, mind, and soul filled with a deepened connection through the heart-to-hearts and the food. The bi-monthly dinner gatherings will be hosted in the intimacy of a home in Downtown Los Angeles where we'll convene over a table that's technology-free, and consists between 8-10 guests. The dinners are donation based. Throughout the year, we will be partnering up with non-profit organizations in the LA area where portions of the donation will be going. Hope to meet you soon!
Culinary Team: Moonlynn Tsai & Yin Chang
Thank you so much, Heart of Dinner Family!! #lovingchinatown
Thank you so much in advance for your help! #lovingchinatown
Hi Heart of Dinner Family, we’ve been grief-stricken by the atrocities happening, and have been happening, to the black community. We urge you to have those crucial conversations with your loved ones about the violence inflicted upon our friends and our neighbors, race should never define how we are treated and it’s been like this since the birth of the U.S. Enough is enough. We are hurting and we are hurting hard for the black community. If you have the monetary means, please support organizations and small businesses that are committed to dismantling the racism. Thank you for all of your support in upholding our values as humans and speaking up for the human life. All lives can never matter until black lives matter. We love you all and are so proud that our Heart of Dinner community stands together🙏❤️ [repost @aoc]
It was a punch to the gut— Back in March, hearing that those who remind us of our own grandparents were alone, lonely, and hungry because of the pandemic. When and *if* there were meals delivered to the elderly, we were learning that these “meals” provided by the government were items like canned tuna. Not only are they difficult to open for those with arthritis and barely enough to prepare a full nutritious meal with, they are the farthest thing from being culturally appropriate.
With each meal pickup, it’s been heartwarming to hear how much happiness the hot meals have brought. We’ve been hearing stories of how seniors were in shock after holding and feeling the heat from the meals, in utter disbelief that strangers would take the time to think of them and take care of them. 😢
This most recent Wednesday, combined with our care packages of produce and pantry essentials and the hot lunches/dinners, we collectively reached 8884 meals to date!!!
🙌 We are humbled and honored to continue this work with the collective efforts of our entire #heartofdinnerfamily
THANK YOU SO MUCH for volunteering! For those of you who are interested in picking up a bulk of brown bags (250) to bring home with you (and Moonlynn will also pass you a bag/package that contains 130 handwritten notes from our community, a black sharpie, a stapler, and strings) to help us staple the notes, write “Heart of Dinner”, and double bag—please watch the video for directions, sometimes the bags will tear so please be gentle! For the final step, after you’ve double bagged and flattened the bags (view video for reference), please tie the bags into one stack using the red strings provided. If you are able to pick up and bring home with you today MONDAY MAY 23RD anytime between 11am-3pm, and are able to drop off the completed stack to us tomorrow Tuesday May 24th anytime between 11am-3pm, please DM us. Please do not come by to pickup unless you receive a confirmation from us via DM to minimize crowding and to protect the health and safety for everyone. (Pickup/drop off address is 151 EAST BROADWAY) We have several people already confirmed and looking for a few more people for today! Will update you about our next round of pickup/drop offs for the next week! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU🙏❤️#lovingchinatown [Breathtaking illustration and calligraphy by @calligracrafty, thank you so much for sending over your GORGEOUS notes of love and pouring so much time and heart into each and every one of them!💕]
NEW GOAL FOR HANDWRITTEN NOTES: 20,000! Thank you for the thousands of notes you’ve all passed on to us. Receiving your notes has been the highlight of our days. We are grateful for your efforts and the amount of heart you pour into each and every stroke of the Chinese characters, your uplifting doodles and illustrations, watercolor skills, all the bright cheery colors, origami folding, and your incredible taste in stickers! Because of our collective efforts, we’re able to provide comfort and cheer for the elderly during a much needed time by stapling the notes to each care package. We’ve been hearing from the social services organizations just how touched and moved the elderly have been to see that people are thinking of them. Thank you for making this happen. Please keep them coming so we can continue to pair each meal with a handwritten note of encouragement. Please read below for more instructions on what to write and where to send the letters👇
🔥 GOAL: 20,000 handwritten notes
Our goal is to provide 20,000 meals for the elderly in our Asian communities. We include handwritten notes of love and encouragement with each meal so let’s reach that 20k goal of handwritten notes too!
✏️If you’d like a template, we like to write “We are thinking of you and we love you” and translate. Please make sure the characters are legible and clear to read, and include any colorful illustrations or doodles that are uplifting! Please write your notes in Chinese AND in English to cover all basis.
📬MAIL NOTES TO:
Kopitiam c/o Heart of Dinner
Moonlynn Tsai & Yin Chang
151 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002
📍Or you can also drop off at same address anytime between 11am-3pm, everyday except for Wednesdays. We’re so grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤️
#heartofdinnerfamily #lovingchinatow Heart of Dinner!
Moonlynn Tsai preparing hot meals for the elderly under the care of University Settlement. Moonlynn made a childhood dish that reminded her of her grandparents in Taiwan and substituted some ingredients for even more nutrients-- Brown rice porridge with kabocha (Japanese squash), fresh oyster mushrooms, and tri-colored green beans! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUs0CQp2Ocs
Many thanks to Jesse Ash for capturing the timelapse videos. Check out his work here:
Moonlynn Tsai preparing hot meals for the elderly under the care of University Settlement. She made a childhood dish that reminded her of her grandparents in...
Did you know that the origin of Heart of Dinner is deeply ingrained in our love story? We started dating back in 2015 and brought Heart Of Dinner to life about a year into our relationship. It was born out of a place of yearning for comfort in Los Angeles, the city where we met and a city where transplants often feel isolated and lonely hoping to provide that feeling of familiarity through home-cooked meals and heartfelt conversations with kind strangers and acquaintances. We hosted Heart of Dinner’s technology-free supper club dinners in LA, NYC, and San Diego, adding as many touch points of “heart” and thoughtfulness as possible. We planned to bring it back to NYC when we made the cross-country road trip move from CA to NY, but time got away from us as we found our new pace in Manhattan. Little did we know, we’d resume Heart of Dinner at a time where social gatherings are on hold, turning it into a temporary relief efforts providing that same kind of comfort at a time where isolation and loneliness has been exacerbated for the elderly in our Asian communities.
Deeply honored that Michelle Kim chose to highlight our story for them.'s new series “Welcome to Out on the Frontlines” highlighting LGBTQ+ people “holding their communities together during the coronavirus pandemic”. A heartfelt thank you to Michelle for writing such a thoughtful piece💕
Footnote about Yin’s mom’s initial reaction to her coming out— though her mom first criticized her, it’s crucial to us to note the whole picture that her Mom came around in a day and has been fervently supportive of Yin and Moonlynn’s relationship, always looking out for Moonlynn like her own daughter providing needle-moving influence and impact in pivotal career/life decisions and milestones. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, educating fellow parents to be accepting and encouraging of children who identify as LGBTQ+. For anyone who might be struggling with their identity and fearful of coming out, not all coming out stories are the same and sometimes people, like our very own parents, are capable of making the most inspiring and beautiful changes.
Moonlynn Tsai, owner of Kopitiam and Yin Chang, founder of 88 Cups of Tea have created a food relief hub called Heart of Dinner. The couple created this initiative to combat the hunger crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. “It's not just a meal that we're providing. It's love, it's support, it's encouragement. It's an uplifting feeling. That is the most important thing. So many of these people are more afraid of dying than the virus itself.” Read their story: https://bit.ly/363Dez2
Heart Of Dinner
Alongside our hot meals and pantry and produce essentials for the elderly, we’ve been providing care packages with your handwritten notes attached 💌 These care packages contain enough food to last a full 2 days-- last week included bananas, tofu, brown rice, carrots green cabbage and a bottle of our favorite Red Boat Fish Sauce (that they so kindly donated 100 bottles of!) It’s our mission to not only provide sustenance but to also provide nutritious and culturally familiar ingredients that are age-appropriate (avoiding ingredients that would be hard to chew, hard to handle for those who have arthritis, non-fried, non-oily, etc.) ❤️Grateful to our angel volunteers who helped us distribute our care packages to the elderly under the care of the Chinese-American Planning Council's Manhattan branch. #lovingchinatown (Photo credit: Chinese-American Planning Council, Meghan Nguy, and Heart of Dinner)
We're grateful to add Nowon NYC to the Heart Of Dinner Family alongside Saigon Social NYC Partybus Bakeshop Haema in Brooklyn Golden Diner Bessou. Collectively with our hot meals and care packages of pantry and produce essentials, we provided 1200 meals to homebound elderly this past Wednesday. A heartfelt shoutout and our most sincerest gratitude to our family of nourishers for pouring so much love and thought into each dish.
We’ve had the honor of teaming up with Hamilton-Madison House, Chinese-American Planning Council's Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn branches to provide meals for their homebound elderly and special needs group home. The staff and team from these social services organizations maneuver through all of their own hurdles to pickup our meals and assure that they arrive safely with the po-po’s and gong-gong’s. It always feels like a family reunion seeing them each week!
A huge shoutout and thank you to all 200+ of the kind people who took the time to fill out our volunteer form!! Because of your submissions, we were able to sort through and find Kind Folks who fit the specific needs of one of the organizations we provide meals for these past two Wednesdays. Dianna Lee, Flora Leung, Vanessa Hong, Meghan Nguy, and Oliver Szeto (who volunteered 2x in a row!) reserved their days to help us distribute hot meals and care packages to the Chinese-American Planning Council's elderly in Lower Manhattan, the CPC were so thrilled they mentioned that our Heart of Dinner volunteers are “rock stars and have great interpersonal skills”!! Thank you for bringing warmth and your uplifting energy to the homebound elderly, it’s heartwarming for them to see new faces. 🙏❤️
With the two of us (Moonlynn & Yin) arranging and prepping meal pickups on our only day off during the week, we feel deeply hopeful that with the entire support of our community, we can continue to keep this light burning. 🙏 To date, we’re proud to have provided 3700 meals of hot comfort dishes and our care packages of pantry/produce essentials— almost 1/5th of our 20k meal goal!!
Your words of encouragement, your generous donations & fundraising on our behalf, beautiful handwritten notes from around the world, spreading the word about our cause, and efforts in volunteering your time—we're able to do this meaningful work because of you. ❤️ (📸 Photo credit: the Chinese-American Planning Council in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Hamilton-Madison House, Meghan Nguy, and Heart of Dinner.)
Heart Of Dinner's cover photo
We’ve been awestruck by the response to our cause, reading about your personal ties and stories as to why the work we do here at Heart Of Dinner means so much to you. We feel hopeful and a deep sense of purpose to continue pushing for our loved ones who are often forgotten. Thank you for giving us a chance to continue nourishing our elderly with your love and support. We are deeply honored that together as a community we’re able to keep going. Pictured in the The New York Times are us (Yin & Moonlynn) preparing roughly 200 hot meals along with hundreds of servings of pantry/produce essentials lined up against the window just outside of frame for the elderly residents under the care of Hamilton-Madison House.
Our goal with each dish is to provide a healthy, nutritional meal that reminds us of our roots, always with the intention of passing on the comfort of familiar flavors and fond memories. Moonlynn Tsai whipped up the most delicious and popular Taiwanese egg omelette with scallions and preserved radish, with a side of mixed greens over a bed of brown rice porridge with yams that her mom would make for her as a child. With each ingredient, we're constantly finding ways to pack in as much nutrition as possible while making sure to keep it low in sodium, gentle on the teeth, and avoiding any ingredient that might be difficult on the hands as many elderly have arthritis. After scooping the portions into each lunch box, Yin Chang combed through each one to arrange the dishes nicely in case anything fell out of place, and taped the handwritten letters from our community of supporters onto the top of the to-go containers for the final touch to our presentation of love and comfort. It truly takes a village.
So many thank-you’s to Melina Delkic for taking the time to interview us, write about our efforts for the NYT coronavirus live blog updates, for perfectly capturing what we are about, and spreading the awareness about our beloved generation before us. #lovingchinatown [Footnote for our community— though we are very involved in each other’s individual careers, we are not business partners. Whenever the word “partner” is used, it means romantic partners.😍❤️]
Heart Of Dinner's cover photo
our tri colored carrot and mini heirloom tomato salad to combat the heat
Nasi Kunyit (tumeric sticky rice) in the steamer that we used as stuffing for the roast chicken
Tablescaping and last minute touches
[update: holy moly. Thank you NYC 😍We aim to keep our dinners intimate/under 10 guests and am thrilled to say that the Nov. 5th dinner is now full. That was less than 12 hours! We'll try and throw another before we head back to the West Coast, will keep you updated! See you soon! ]
Hello everyone! We're so excited to have an autumn inspired Heart Of Dinner in NYC on 11/5/16! email me at [email protected] if you'd like to join!
Pretty excited to share this dish with you guys at a future Heart Of Dinner 😀 it's pretty damn tasty, trust. It's hard to go wrong with uni, ikura & eel but having them all together? 💣.com
Yin & I could not stop gushing about how amazing the energy was at Thursdays dinner. No joke, we couldn't sleep till about 3 because we were just so 'happy high' (in the most G rated way).
The dinner encapsulated the everything I was hoping a Heart Of Dinner would be. Thanks for sharing your stories. I loved the range we had: political, lost twin, proposals(Im digging the idea of proposing at the same time), family boundaries, challenges, Burning Man to the jokesand just being open to meeting new friends and creating a safe space to share all of it.
It was really a magical night, I can't wait to see you all again soon!
03.03=Southern meal, Asian style.
-Bleu cheese & Asian pear crostini
-Char siu ribs
-grilled romaine heart
-miso mashed potatoes
brûléed homemade dan ta (egg custard)
Paired with a cranberry sweet tea w/ some 4 roses bourbon & Rosemary honey simple syrup 🍷🍺🍹🍴🍽☕️
Join us at a future dinner: heartofdinner.com
We love playing with fire 😉Brûléeing some homemade egg tarts for tonight's dessert & it was bomb dignity. Thank you @itskenton for the vid!
& we're back! Next @heartofdinner + @nokidhungry dinner on 03.03.16 before we head off to NYC. 8 seats, see you soon 😀. Email: [email protected] 🍴 #supperclub #dinnersociety #nokidhungry #heartofdinner
Touche! We're back from Asia and sooo excited to see you guys for dinner & chats in February!
Downtown Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
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