Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Get Cultured, Food Style

Food is more than nourishment — it is a way to share a piece of our identity for all to enjoy.
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Too often we overlook the balance of nature — Cordle’s words remind us not to.

Do you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with friends and family? Do you love Asian food? Well, I know just the thing for you! On March 1, the 28-year-old founder and CEO, Andrea Xu, launched her very own online Asian grocery service, Umamicart. This company delivers hundreds of your favorite Asian products and ingredients right to your doorstep. Although Downtown Greenville offers a lineup of excellent dining options, here is a fun alternative to put in the books when you’re looking to spice up a Friday night in. Not to mention, it’s so convenient – especially for a busy college student that does not have the time to grocery shop during the week.  

Xu considers herself a first generation, third-culture kid. Born in Spain to Chinese immigrant parents, she grew up eating Asian food at home yet found very little of her culture in the places or people around her. Growing up in Spain, Xu was often the only Asian person in the room, which made it hard to connect with others. With that being said, food brings all different people together. No matter what culture, food is eaten and enjoyed by everyone at the table. It is part of our identity and how we share our culture with others. We can all relate to this — we have all bonded with friends over our favorite foods or shared laughs with peers over a meal. Food is a universal love language.  

So, you can imagine how excited Xu was when she went to the U.S. for college and discovered a part of herself, her identity, that had been missing. She found friends that truly understood what it felt like to be bicultural and celebrated her heritage of Asian foods. Still, Xu noticed how challenging it was to find Asian ingredients and products that she craved as a kid and decided to use her drive and passion to make Asian food options accessible for everyone. Thus, Umamicart was born. As of now, the business ships to only a select set of states in the mid-Atlantic region, but don’t fret, they intend to expand their shipment locations shortly, so be on the lookout!  

90% of Umamicart’s products are bought and sold from Asian and Asian American owned businesses, and about 50% are procured from Asian American women-owned and run businesses. Xu made it a priority to build relationships with and highlight distributors that are immigrant-led or Asian/Asian American-led.  

The ultimate goal of Umamicart is to celebrate the rich heritage of Asian and Asian American culture and cuisine. Even though Umamicart does not currently ship to South Carolina, go ahead and spread the word about this bright, up-and-coming Asian and woman-owned business. It’s so important for all of us to show our support to businesses like these now more than ever. Even a word-of-mouth compliment can make a world of difference.

I bet you’re now craving some delicious Asian food. Well, there are numerous great Asian restaurant options near campus you should check out. Furman students claim that must-try spots include Menkoi Noodle House, Red Bowl, Yellow Ginger, Yama and Takosushi. If you’re looking to whip up something in the kitchen, there are several Asian supermarkets that will cater to your needs: Asian Market, Asian Supermarket, and Saigon Market (only a 12-minute drive from campus) are crowd favorites. If you do venture to the supermarkets, try the recipe below. It is my favorite homemade recipe that is traditionally made to celebrate Chinese New Year. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!  

Chinese Rice Cakes [Nian Gao]:


  • 2-3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil  
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced  
  • 1lb of ground turkey or chicken *tofu substitution if vegetarian    
  • 1 package of rice cakes
  • A handful of dried Chinese mushrooms, soak in hot water before adding to dish
  • A generous serving of bok choy and/or napa cabbage  
  • A handful of scallions 
  • A handful of bean sprouts 
  • 2 tbs. of tamari or soy sauce *any low sodium version works!  
  • ¼-½ teaspoons of toasted sesame oil 
  • White/black pepper, to taste


  1. Add 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  
  1. Place 2 cloves of minced garlic in the pan.
  1. Place choice of meat in the pan and ground up well.
  1. After a few minutes, add in bean sprouts, scallions, mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. 
  1. Now, get out another pot and bowl some water. (I recommend that you complete this step when the meat has about 5 minutes left to cook)
  1. Once the water is boiled, turn off the heat and add in the rice cakes to the hot water. (they will be ready after soaking for about 2 minutes)
  1. Once the rice cakes are fully cooked, add them into the pan of meat/ingredients.
  1. Once you have well-combined the meat/ingredients + rice cakes, add a touch of sesame oil.  
  1. Ready to serve!  
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