Minnesota cooking influencer Vivian Aronson—better known as CookingBomb on social media—has made several videos about how to shop at Asian markets on her popular TikTok page that boasts over 2 million followers. But now she’s revealing her ultimate guide to authentic Asian recipes and how to shop for them in her much-awaited new book, The Asian Market Cookbook.
In addition to her takes on Chinese cuisine, Aronson has included Japanese and Korean recipes in her new book—plus her much-asked-for pickle recipe—to help her American audience make authentic Asian food at home.
“The version you may be cooking now is probably Americanized, and my version is more authentic,” Aronson says. “This is what people eat in China, back in my home.”
Originally from Shengdu, China, Aronson moved to Minnesota in 2005 and frequents Asian markets around the Twin Cities to find the best ingredients to make Chinese food inspired by recipes from her parents and grandparents. Her favorites are in Eden Prairie, where she lives with her husband and four children, but she often visits United Noodles in Minneapolis to get a larger selection of meat and seafood.
Aronson originally started posting photos of food on her Instagram page, but when TikTok came around, she realized she could share how she actually makes dishes like sesame chicken, bok choy, and Chinese dumplings.
Aronson’s bright personality, sense of humor, and delicious recipes garnered her an audience of millions of followers across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Her success sharing her recipes online has led her to be featured on season 10 of MasterChef and on the Drew Barrymore Show, where she showcased her culinary talent and the inspiration she draws from her heritage.
When Aronson also started making videos about how she does her shopping at Asian markets in Minnesota, including which staples she buys to make her famous dishes, many viewers commented that they wanted to cook more authentic Asian food. However, they had trouble navigating Asian markets because they felt overwhelmed by brand options, language barriers, or are simply getting started learning how to cook Asian food.
To combat this issue, Aronson realized she could provide a resource for her followers and other foodies with a cookbook.
“Whoever loves Asian food or Chinese food would benefit from this book,” Aronson says. “The recipes are fairly easy. But for some of the ingredients, you do need to go to an Asian market to get it.”
The Asian Market Cookbook features Aronson’s mouth-watering photography and a few recipes that will be familiar to her followers. But she also made sure that the vast majority of dishes will be new for her fans.
The cookbook is organized by staple ingredients, including sauces, condiments, noodles, rice, spices, and preserved foods, accompanied by recipes showing readers how to use these cooking staples to create 60 different recipes, inspired by Aronson’s favorite recipes from China and fan favorites from her social media videos.
“It’s a lot more detailed. It’s a real guide on how to shop Asian markets,” Aronson says, “There’s a story about each dish and why we use the ingredients.”
Her favorite recipe is her Lion’s Head Meatballs, which she also made for her appearance on MasterChef. In her book, Aronson says her mother learned the recipe for this braised pork dish while working in Shanghai, where the dish originated.
For CookingBomb fans and foodies alike, The Asian Market Cookbook is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and Walmart as of last week.