A Wicked Welcome to Jennifer J. Chow

by Julie, summering in Somerville

I love discovering new series, and am thrilled to welcome Jennifer J. Chow to the blog today so that she can tell us about her new LA Night Market series. The premise is wonderful, and Jen lets us in how it all started.

Canai and Chai

By Jennifer J. Chow

Roti is best when there is more than one

It all started in Malaysia. My family and I loved eating the flaky flatbread, roti canai, for breakfast. You could order them with egg or other toppings, but our go-to was the plain version with a side of savory curry sauce. To add to their allure, roti canai was super cheap to buy. And who doesn’t love a deal on tasty food?

That’s when my brother, along with my hubby, came up with their café idea. They tossed around different names, wanting to pair something alliterative with the starting ch-sound found in canai. That’s how Canai and Chai was born. (Spoiler alert: Great name but poor execution since the café never came to fruition.)

What kind of drink did we get to go with the roti? Hand-pulled milk tea, also known as teh tarik. Nothing really beats its warm and frothy combo. If only we could take all this back with us to the States…

When I embarked on writing a culinary cozy series, I knew I needed to include their stellar idea. That’s why the two cousins in my new L.A. Night Market Mysteries run a food stall with the same name. It happens that they sell their food and drinks not at breakfast time, but in the evenings. Why?

Well, I’ve had experience checking out various night markets in East Asia, the United States, and in Canada. They’re like nighttime festivals filled with good eats, exciting entertainment, and trinkets galore.

I have a strong love for good food and a fondness for fun activities. I’m still amazed that I can combine these two joys in my newest mystery books.

Share your fave foods and festivities with me!


Lefty Award-nominated author Jennifer J. Chow’s most recent cozies are the Sassy Cat Mysteries and L.A. Night Market Mysteries. Mimi Lee Gets A Clue was one of BuzzFeed’s Top 5 Books by AAPI authors. She serves as VP of Sisters in Crime and is active in Crime Writers of Color.

Website: www.jenniferjchow.com

Book Summary:

Two cousins who start a food stall at their local night market get a serving of murder in this first novel of a delicious new cozy mystery series by Jennifer J. Chow, author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine’s career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she’s just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.

Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine’s surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They’re quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit—literally—when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they’ll be serving is time.

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19 Thoughts

  1. Congratulations on your July 5th release of Death by Bubble Tea! Ripe avocado on whole wheat toast with sliced boiled egg and a dash of garlic powder is my favorite during these hot summer days. The ingredients and textures make your taste buds explode.

  2. You’re making me hungry, Jennifer! When I lived in Japan, I happened across an O-bon summer festival, There was drumming and dancing and SO much good food.

  3. I’ve never heard of hand pulled milk tea, but I love trying different teas! And canai sounds like a fun bread to try. This time of year, I like the fresh strawberries available.

  4. Congrats again on the new series, Jennifer. Top of my list are chai lattes and lately I’ve had a thing for waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

  5. I LOVED this book — lucky me reading an early copy! I remember after finishing writing you and asking if it was a real place because I wanted to move there immediately. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you so much, Sherry, and very grateful for the early read! Sadly, the community is only inspired by local places…although that might be a good thing. We don’t want too many murders happening around here!

  6. Congratulations on your new series! Looks like so much fun. I’ve never heard of a night market. Sounds like a place I would have been a regular at when I lived in NYC! My favorite festival – also in NYC The Feast of San Gennaro – Oh, those sausages with peppers, to die for. They never taste as good at home. Must be the atmosphere.

  7. Yeah Jennifer! CONGRATULATIONS! Your article is fascinating and evokes memories of or last trip to Malaysia, where we celebrated our 48th. honeymoon 5 years ago. We love Asian cuisine, and especially love the night markets, where you can sample so many different cuisines in one place. The last night market we experienced was in Penang, and it was extraordinary! An added bonus was the crafts market along the same street that went on for blocks and blocks. We were there a few nights, and went every night. Malaysian cuisine is so delicious, and unfortunately we don’t know of any Malaysian restaurants in our area of the world, but my wife tries to reproduce some of the dishes like nasi lemak. Can’t wait to get your latest book, and hope there will be many more! Thank you so much!
    luis at ole dot travel

    1. Thank you, Luis! I have fond memories of Malaysia (my dad’s from there). On my last visit, we went to a few different places but never made it to Penang–now I wish we had! Also, CONGRATS on your many years of marriage!

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