If, like, me you’ve also fallen down a pit of TikTok cooking vids you’ve likely stumbled upon gaming_foodie. Alissa Nguyen cooks up delicious recipes ranging in various skill levels and cuisine types. Her voice-over is charming, informative, and a little bit goofy — making her recipes seem approachable and achievable.
Many of her recipe videos culminate in the delivery of her mouth-watering dishes to her husband, who is often seen focused on his PC where he spends his free time gaming. We got the chance to ask Alissa about her adventures in cooking and found out what inspired her to start sharing her recipes online, her favorite thing to order in when she’s not taking the reins at dinner time, and more.
What inspired you to start sharing your recipes online?
I started getting heavily into cooking because I got pregnant and all my friends were out at bars over the weekend. Before, I was only posting photos of what I cooked. Friends started asking me for my recipes and instead of sending them to multiple people, multiple times, I would post online where everyone had access to them.
Why the name gaming_foodie?
I started Gaming Foodie as a joke to poke fun at my husband. He’s the gamer and I’m the foodie so it went hand in hand. I came up with the name almost immediately. It wasn’t something I sat down and thought about for a long time.
We often see your husband in the background of your vids. Do you guys ever play games together?
We do not play games together. We always talk about playing games together but our schedules are quite opposite. He works during the day whereas I am tending to our son during the day. I have the luxury of working from home so at night is when I start work and that’s when we switch responsibilities. He tends to our son up until it's his bedtime.
We know you've got the cooking skills, but when you want to let someone else do the work, do you have a fave place to get takeout or delivery from?
I absolutely love all types of hot pot and I can eat it in any weather. My favorite is shabu shabu which is Japanese hot pot.
What's your go-to snack when gaming or Netflixing?
I will always have room for boba milk tea. My favorite is the milk tea with boba and custard pudding. Oh! And I also like Cool Ranch Doritos.
After speaking to Alissa and salivating over her food photos for this piece, I just had to try one of her recipes. I landed on the Garlic Soy Party Wings seen above and headed to my local grocery to pick up the few ingredients not already stocked in my pantry.
First up we had to marinate the chicken. I can’t tell you how pumped I was to find this bag of peeled garlic from Wholefoods. Look, I know fresh garlic is a delight but holy smokes this saves time and frustration of those tiny garlic flakes sticking to your fingers. I’m not a fan of chicken on the bone so I swapped out the wings for chicken breast that I chopped into nugget-sized pieces.
I mixed together the chopped garlic, soy sauce, and Chinese Five Spice with the cut-up chicken breast and let marinade. Chinese Five Spice is available from the baking aisle in most major supermarkets. It’s a little bit pricey at about $8 for a small bottle, but you need this for both the marinade and the sauce so don’t skimp on it.
After about 30 minutes of marinating, it was time to get cooking! To get that crispy exterior we need to coat the chicken in tapioca starch. This was another ingredient that was new to me. My regular supermarket didn’t have it but thankfully Wholefoods did.
Look where specialty flours like almond are located, it comes in a small bag. Tapioca flour, sometimes called starch (same thing), is slightly sweeter than traditional white flour.
After you fry your chicken pieces, drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Alissa’s recipe suggests frying the chicken twice but I was starving at this point.
After you’ve gotten all your chicken real nice and crispy, it’s time to coat in that delightful soy garlic sauce. Forgive me for not snapping a pic of this, I was exhausted from frying all the chicken pieces (holy smokes I made so much) and the sauce heated up fast because of the sugar. I quickly coated all my chicken pieces and garnished with green onion and sesame seeds.
I served my chicken with some Japanese-style potato salad. As Alissa would say, this dish is "bomb.com" and I have to agree. This recipe was quite a bit of work though, so probably best to attempt when you're not starving (Mandie, you fool) and when you have time in the kitchen to commit to all the steps.
Additionally, Chinese Five Spice has a pretty distinct flavor that was a bit too salty and earthy for me but my husband loved it so to each their own! Overall I give this a 4/5.
Now if you'll excuse me I have more leftover chicken to eat.