Essential Cooking: Third culture is a creative superpower for Jon Kung

Jon Kung, a Detroit chef, has exploded in popularity with their TikTok cooking lessons. Kung joins Ann Delisi to talk about third culture cuisine and the success he’s found in recent years.

Photo credit: Gerard Belevender

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Chef Jon Kung has found their niche on TikTok in recent years making approachable and entertaining cooking lessons in a bite-sized 60-second format. 

A central theme to Kung’s cooking lessons is built on what he calls “third culture cuisine.”

In a recent TikTok video, Kung describes third culture as when your home is different from the culture of the country that you live in.


Third culture food, fashion, and art will be greatest expressions to come out of the younger American generations.

♬ kiss me more (lofi) – luvbyrd

“Basically, you cross a cultural divide every day just by walking through the doors of your home,” Kung says.

“Those challenges are unique to a lot of people regardless of their ethnicity and the culture they come from,” Kung continues. “But I’m here to tell you it can be a creative superpower, too. What you have is in-depth and nuanced knowledge in two cultures, when most people around the world only have one.”

Bridging cultural divides and finding belonging through cooking has resonated with people, vaulting Kung’s TikTok (@chefjonkung) to over 1 million followers.

They are working on a cookbook and toward their dream of opening a small Chinese dumpling shop in Eastern Market.

Follow Jon Kung on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram: @chefjonkung.

In this episode:

  • Jon Kung explains what third culture food means to him
  • A peek behind the scenes at how Kung makes their TikTok videos
  • Kung’s dream of opening a small Chinese dumpling shop in Eastern Market

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.