Illustrator Linda Yi’s recipe for “smacked cucumber,” a classic summertime Chinese snack, is more than a list of ingredients and instructions. It’s a full-color comic strip, complete with speech bubbles offering supportive cooking advice, sound effects (“SMACK!”) and a cat and panda beating up a cucumber.
When it comes to telling stories about food, “there’s so much that you can do with both words and pictures,” Yi says. Across North America, a generation of Asian cartoonists have come to the same conclusion. The last decade has seen a flurry of illustrated Korean cookbooks, one-panel satirical comics about South Asian chai,