KSW Presents | San Francisco | Feb 7, 2020

KSW Presents: Meng Jin and Mimi Lok. The books Little Gods by Meng Jin and Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok on a white surface. There are small yellow flowers in a clear bud vase.

Thrilled to be reading at Kearny Street Workshop in celebration of two new books: Little Gods by Meng Jin and Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok. This reading honors powerful stories about Asian women that bend time and place in their journeys to seek answers and connection in the aftermath of grief, displacement, and diaspora.

Friday, February 7, 2020, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
KSW Presents: Meng Jin & Mimi Lok
Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco
$8 – $20 | Get tickets

Readings by: Emily Yamauchi, Melissa Hung, Rowena Singer, Grace Li, Sheri Park, C.E. Shue, and Lia Dun.

Featured artists: Meng Jin, Mimi Lok

Curated by: Michelle Lin and Kazumi Chin

What I Wrote in 2019


It has been a goal of mine to be published in Longreads, and it happened this year! I wrote a personal essay about my relationship to Cantonese, my mother, and Chinatown.

For the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about the myth of authentic cuisines and how Tex-Mex is my comfort food.

For Pacific Standard (RIP), I wrote about how the People’s Kitchen Collective preserves cultural memory and carries on the legacy of the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast program through free community meals.

It was also my pleasure to interview two authors: Tayari Jones and Esmé Weijun Wang.

Artwork by Olivia Waller for Longreads

Fall 2019 Events

An installation made of bamboo by Tanabe Chikuunsai at the Asian Art Museum

August 31, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Interdisciplinary Writers Lab 2019 Fellows Reading
Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco
Free with museum admission, RSVP at Facebook or Eventbrite

2019 Instructors: Tongo Eisen-Martin, Elaine Castillo, Marga Gomez
2019 Fellows: Amber Butts, Cesar Cadabes, K-Ming Chang, Paula Mirando, Naihobe Gonzalez, Melissa Hung, Sarah Matsui, Jenna Peng, Damali Robertson, Dena Rod, Golda Sargento, Karthikraman Sethuraman, Maya Sisneros, Raia Small, J. Xiang

October 19, 2019, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Wabi-Sabi, 888 Valencia, San Francisco
Free, Details here

Potluck Club: Women writers of color reflect on the idea of home.
Featuring: Grace Hwang Lynch, Michelle Villegas Threadgould, Shikha Malaviya, Sabina Khan-Ibarra, Melissa Hung, and Jenn Chen

October 24, 2019, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Five Ruby Readings: Works in Progress by San Francisco Arts Commission Grantees
The Ruby, San Francisco
Free, RSVP required

Join Ruby writers and San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission grantees Celeste Chan, Melissa Hung, Shruti Swamy, Virgie Tovar and Michelle Wallace for an intimate reading of works in progress. 

Image is of Connection: Tanabe Chikuunsai IV at the Asian Art Museum

What I Wrote in 2018

Journalism / News
Chef Chu's. Photo by Michelle Min. A cooked fish on a platter with cucumber slices artfully arranged around it. A hand holds a jar of seasoning over the platter.

A look back on some of the things I wrote this year:

I wrote about my grandparents’ immigration story (and their grocery store that sustained our family) for Southwest the Magazine.

Shondaland let me write about various obsessions, such as why I have a soft spot for the Filet-O-Fish, the only fast food my immigrant family would eat. I also wrote about the calming experience that is shopping at Muji and how pajamas help me feel like I’m properly adulting.

Journalism-wise, some of my favorite stories were food-related. The new publication Popula published my story about a local farmer, culture, and climate change.

For the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about three immigrants who opened up a hole-in-the-wall Uighur restaurant. They way they put everything into their business reminded me of my grandparents putting everything into theirs.

I also wrote about Chef Chu’s in Silicon Valley, how it began as a take-out counter and became the power-lunch establishment it is today. The story, for Eater, touches on the migration of Chinese food in America and ideas of authenticity.

Not a fun story, but an important one that ran in Pacific Standard: How Airbnb is contributing to gentrification in Boston Chinatown.

Another Chinatown story, this one in San Francisco. I learned so much about the history of the Chinese New Year parade and how it’s a story of immigrant survival in the face of discrimination and racism.

I also interviewed novelist Celeste Ng, director Jon M. Chu, journalist Bernice Yeung, and Hollywood legend Nancy Kwan.

Photo by Michelle Min

Artist Talk | San Francisco | Oct 30, 2018


I’m reading at a short and sweet event with artist Headphone Record this upcoming Tuesday.

Artist Talk
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Arion Press, 1802 Hays Street, San Francisco. It’s in the Presidio near the 14th Ave and Lake street Presidio entrance.

Two San Francisco artists will present on their recent works on the theme of persisting. Nathalie Roland, a visual artist, will talk about works in progress and her collaboration with other artists as a strategy for surviving in a changing city. Writer Melissa Hung will read from her essay “To Swim is to Endure.”

Kindly RSVP by October 29.

Update: Thanks to everyone who came to see us! Nathalie has added notes and links from the talk to her website.

Image by Nathalie Roland

Lit Crawl San Francisco | Oct 20, 2018

A program for Litquake 2018 next to a cup of coffee and a plate with a cookie. The cover of the guide has an illustration of 5 people, who appear to be women, with books

I’ll be reading inside a vintage clothing store at Lit Crawl San Francisco, the massive one-night literary crawl through the city’s Mission District. Lit Crawl is part of the weeklong Litquake festival, which starts on October 11.

Stirring the Pot: Women writers of color reflect on food, migration, and culture.

Saturday, October 20, 2018, 5 – 6 p.m.
Wallflower, 1176 Valencia St, San Francisco

Featuring: Melissa Hung, Grace Hwang Lynch, Sabina Khan-Ibarra, Shikha Saklani Malaviya, Michelle Villegas Threadgould, and Thy Tran

Hosted by Jennifer Ng

Free admission

Hella Asian | Oakland | July 13, 2018

Flyer for HELLA ASIAN, A night of diversity in storytelling, Friday, July 13, 7-10 pm, Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland"

I’m speaking at HELLA ASIAN, a storytelling event featuring Asian American and Pacific Islander media makers and creatives. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Asian American Journalists Association’s San Francisco chapter. There will be small bites and beverages too.

Friday, July 13, 2018, 7 – 10 p.m.
Impact Hub Oakland

Storyteller Line-Up:
Melissa Hung, Writer; Founding Editor, Hyphen
RJ Lozada, Filmmaker
Michelle Le, Director of Photography, Anxy Magazine
Sinduja Rangarajan, Data journalist, CIR
Robert Handa, Reporter, NBC News Bay Area
Leo Jung, Creative Director, California Sunday Magazine
The Ho’omalu Family from the Academy of Hawaiian Arts, hula dancers

Tickets available here

How My Family Ended Up in Texas

Literary / News
A magazine open to a spread. There is an illustration of a man behind a counter and the text reads, "Counter Revolution. My grandparents from China risked everything to start a humble grocery store in an unlikely place and changed by family forever."

If you fly Southwest Airlines, check out the April issue of their magazine. I have an essay about my grandparents’ grocery store. It’s also the story of my family’s journey from a rural village in Southern China to El Paso, Texas.  (I would like to take a moment to say: Yay print magazines!)

You can also read it here.

Immigrant Love for the Filet-O-Fish

Literary / News
A photo illustration of a Filet-O-Fish against a background of yellow, green, and blue.

Shondaland has published my essay on a very important topic: my love of the Filet-O-Fish — and why it was the only McDonald’s item my immigrant family would eat (besides the fries, of course). I loved hearing from so many people after this piece ran about their own McFish memories. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a fast-food favorite of many immigrants: Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Somali, Filipino, and more. I was moved to learn that this fish-and-cheese combo connected us all.

Illustration by Brianna Ellis-Mitchell for Shondaland

What I Wrote in 2017

A reconstructed guard tower at Manzanar. In the distance are snow-capped mountains.

As I look back on 2017, I wanted to share a few things that I wrote this year.

I wrote about my relationship with swimming and how it helps with chronic pain and writer’s block. It was my first published personal essay, thanks to editor extraordinaire Nicole Chung.

In April I wrote an essay about visiting Manzanar, site of an internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II.

In August, in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, I penned a love letter to Houston, my hometown, in Vogue.

Journalism wise, I reported on gentrification in Chinatowns across America for NPR.

I interviewed educators, parents, and kids about how youth and schools are coping with the political climate after the presidential election.

I talked to education experts about whether colleges and universities are ready to serve the increasing number of students of color.

I got to do some uplifting stories too, like this one about a 70-year-old immigrant woman who ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents.

I interviewed actor Danny Pudi about his childhood and his first romantic lead role in a film.

And I talked to novelist Lisa Ko about her debut novel, “The Leavers.”