DALLAS — Amy Zhang is always hungry.
At least, that’s how the Dallas resident describes herself.
“I'm actually six feet tall, so I have a huge appetite,” Zhang said laughing. “My friends would joke (and say), ‘Oh, I bet you Amy’s still hungry.’ And I would still be hungry.”
That’s how Still Hungry Dallas -- Zhang’s foodie Instagram account (@still_hungry_dallas), featuring delicious dishes from her favorite restaurants, got its name.
Zhang was born in China and came to the U.S. when she was four years old. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, which is where her parents still live.
But in March 2020, COVID-19 put an end to eating in restaurants, which is where Zhang was getting all her content for her Still Hungry Dallas Instagram page.
So she decided to teach herself how to cook.
“I didn't really know where to start cuisine-wise,” Zhang said. “So I was like, OK, maybe I'll start somewhere that I'm very familiar with, which is Chinese food.”
Zhang relied on recipes, YouTube videos, and Google to learn. Once a dish is selected, she documents the entire cooking process on Instagram and then takes all of the mouth-watering pictures users see posted to Still Hungry Dallas.
“I usually place myself in the shoes of other people who don't have that cultural reference or language,” Zhang said. “So I would basically take the time to show step-by-step processes and then also detail out what each ingredient is, what it's used for, why it's used, and what it brings to certain dishes.”
For Zhang, context is always important, especially in light of recent attacks on the Asian American community.
“If you can connect with something, then you immediately also feel safer around a certain type of people or culture that you've never been familiar with,” Zhang said. “So to educate people and make them feel safe with the knowledge that they have, is really important for me.”
More than 13,000 Instagram users follow Zhang’s Still Hungry Dallas Instagram page. Her new love of cooking and step-by-step videos inspired others to get in the kitchen, too, Zhang said.
It’s a foodie family Zhang hopes is hungry for even more in 2021.
"A personal goal of mine this year is to go even deeper as to, 'here are some great resources, this is why you should care, and these are ways to support your Asian community,'" Zhang said.