17 Essential Asian-Hosted Podcasts

Picks for whether you’re looking to learn something new, connect with your community, or just be told a good story.

Picks for whether you’re looking to learn something new, connect with your community, or just be told a good story.

asian hosted podcasts

by Catherine Abes
September 21, 2022

Podcasts are more ubiquitous than ever, and everyone should be listening to one. While all of the choices available in 2022 can make it overwhelming to find the perfect podcast to soundtrack your commute or tidying around the house, it also signals that there are now podcasts available that speak to a multitude of unique personal experiences.    

We can learn more about the world and ourselves through podcasts: they can make us feel seen by sharing familiar stories, helping us make sense of the world through a lens that resonates with our lived experiences. They can also make us reflect when presented with stories that challenge and contrast our own.

So whether you’re looking to learn something new, connect with your community, or just be told a good story — here are 17 Asian-hosted podcasts to check out immediately! 

1. Climate Cuisine hosted by Clarissa Wei

Have you ever thought about where your food comes from? Not just what grocery store supplied the ingredients, but where the ingredient was grown, how it was grown, and how it found its way to your local supermarket? After listening to Climate Cuisine, you’ll start thinking about your meals as part of the larger ecosystem and whether or not the ingredients you used could be more sustainably sourced. Hosted by Clarissa Wei, a Taiwanese-American freelance journalist, Climate Cuisine explores how sustainable crops—which grow and thrive naturally in a particular climate zone—are grown and cooked around the world.

Each season of the podcast focuses on a specific climate zone, profiling a specific ingredient to that zone in each episode. The first season covered how ingredients grow in hot areas around the world, discussing how each one is used and prepared, the ingredient’s connections to climate change, and its cultural significance. The fourth episode, for example, details the banana’s role in Indian divine rituals, while the tenth explores Taiwan’s centuries-old relationship with sweet potatoes. This podcast is for you if you’re looking for ways to spice up your cooking while reducing your carbon footprint. 

2. At The End of the Day hosted by Hannah Sung 🇨🇦

In March 2020, at the dawn of the pandemic, journalist and Media Girlfriends co-founder Hannah Sung sought to make sense of the overwhelming news cycle by asking herself one question: at the end of the day, what matters most? This sparked the idea for a newsletter, At the End of the Day, which provided a practical, succinct breakdown of what people needed to know to stay safe and make decisions about their lives and their loved ones. In May 2022, the newsletter expanded to a podcast of the same name. Now, Sung hosts thoughtful conversations with friends whose personal perspectives and experiences inform listeners’ understandings of broader issues. Discussion topics have ranged from breaking the bystander effect to helping kids identify fake news, with special guests including The Great Canadian Baking Show’s Ann Pornel and Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon.

3. They Call Us Bruce hosted by Jeff Yang and Phil Yu

Chinese-American writer Jeff Yang and Korean-American blogger Phil Yu (also known as Angry Asian Man) had written about Asian-American pop culture and community for decades before deciding in 2018 to bring their thoughts and expertise to a podcast. Enter They Call Us Bruce, a weekly podcast covering pop culture and current events in Asian America. For over 150 episodes, Yang and Yu have shared candid conversations on television, literature and movies, with episodes dedicated to nearly every Asian-American blockbuster in recent years. Many of these conversations welcome icons of Asian American cinema, including George Takei (Star Trek), Randall Park (Always Be My Maybe, Fresh off the Boat), directors Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) and Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and, most recently, the cast of Everything Everywhere All at Once. Alongside the star-studded episodes, though, are nuanced discussions on critical issues in the Asian American community, including representational politics, international and transracial adoption, and anti-Asian racism due to the pandemic. If anything significant has happened in the Asian American community, you can count on Yang and Yu to talk about it.

4. made in hosted by Evy Kwong and Jasmin Shim 🇨🇦

In a similar vein to They Call Us Bruce, made in also covers current events, community, and culture, but through an Asian Canadian lens. Evy Kwong, who runs VICE News’ social media, and brand manager Jasmin Shim invite listeners into a space where Asian women can share their stories and celebrate their identity, while also analyzing how critical issues in the world around them impact the Asian Canadian community and beyond. The most recent episode, for example, involved sharing secrets and recommendations for shows to watch this summer, while the previous episode discussed the Roe v. Wade decision and attacks on bodily autonomy. Every episode Kwong and Shin come in with open, honest hearts and let the conversation flow organically from what’s on their minds, making for an intimate discussion that listeners feel part of.

5. Asian Boss Girl hosted by Melody Cheng, Helen Wu, and Janet Wang 

2017 was a critical year for centring women’s voices, kicking off with the inaugural Women’s March and being punctuated with stories from the #MeToo movement. Melody Cheng, Helen Wu, and Janet Wang recognized the momentum building behind women sharing their stories, but also identified a gap in representation. As three Asian-American working women, they knew their journey through their 20s and 30s was uniquely shaped by their heritage in ways other women’s lives were not. So, they founded Asian Boss Girl, the “podcast for the everyday modern Asian American women.” The weekly podcast covers many of the same things you might chat about with your girlfriends over wine after work, from practical advice on careers, finance, raising a family, relationships, and sexuality, to more fun episodes on celebrity crushes, psychic readings, and even a game of We’re Not Really Strangers. Asian Boss Girl has also welcomed several special guests to the mic, including Turning Red director Domee Shi, Never Have I Ever star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Shang-Chi star Simu Liu

6. COMMONS hosted by Arshy Mann 🇨🇦

COMMONS is a CANADALAND podcast that takes a deep dive into issues Canadians may take for granted, inviting listeners to reconsider their perceptions of the country. Hosted by investigative journalist Arshy Mann, COMMONS tackles one topic per season, including: corruption at the intersection of money, influence and politics; Canada’s relationship to oil; the rich and powerful families running the country; pandemic deaths in long-term care homes; police and how they wield power; the dark side of real estate; the dirty business behind mining; and, most recently, Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan. 

Mann is exceptionally engaging, drawing on years of asking hard questions as a journalist while also efficiently breaking down these seedy stories in a way that makes them accessible for listeners who are new to the topic. For fans of true crime and documentary podcasts and anyone searching for timely, thorough coverage of the stories that shape the nation, COMMONS should be at the top of your list. 

7. Going Through It hosted by Jenny Yang

Season three of Going Through It opens with a voicemail from comedian Jenny Wang’s mother, berating Wang for forgetting to call her. Wang never thought of her mother as funny growing up, she explains. Still, as she got older, she realized that her mother, who had been roasting American culture (and Wang) all her life, had an undeniable influence on her life path after all. So on this season of Going Through It, Wang will sit down with fifteen guests to ask them what they learned from their elders during crucial moments in their lives, and how these lessons influenced the trajectory of their future. Guests include Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran and Yang’s own mentor, comedian Margaret Cho. When the going gets tough, sometimes all you need is a little wisdom from one of your elders—but if they’re not available, you could borrow some advice from this heartwarming podcast. 

8. Asian Not Asian hosted by Jenny Arimoto and Mic Nguyen

As many folks in the diaspora know, the third culture experience of being Asian American can be confusing, isolating and difficult to navigate. But in Asian Not Asian, a podcast hosted by “two Asian people not from Asia talking about American issues no Americans seem to care about,” third-culture kids can find solace—and a good laugh. Hosted by writers and performers Mic Nguyen and Jenny Arimoto (who recently replaced comedian Fumi Abe), this weekly comedy podcast celebrates the multiplicity of the “Asian American-ish experience.” Each episode opens with the question “What kind of Asian were you this week?”, which always prompts a unique answer, and discussions range from food to dating, social media, family, pop culture, and more. Arimoto and Nguyen are also candid about their own lives, recognizing that being Asian American is a unique experience in and of itself that’s worth sharing. Guests include Randall Park, Kathleen Kim (Sesame Street), and Mic’s Mom (for an episode featuring both “fun culture shock stories” and “piercing intergenerational trauma”—a compelling combo.)

9. The Raptors Show with Will Lou hosted by Will Lou 🇨🇦

There’s more to sports culture than the game—especially in a fan base as dedicated as Raptors Nation. Hosted by sports journalist Will Lou, The Raptors Show never runs out of things to talk about, producing several weekly episodes even in the off-season. Lou’s passion for the team and the game is clear in his dedication to the podcast, making it an engaging listen for longtime hoopers and fresh fan recruits. Writer, author and Raptors historian Alex Wong often joins Lou to unpack everything from game recaps and reactions, Raps news, and player analysis. There’s also room for more lighthearted episodes, known as ‘Banter Pods,’—these longer episodes follow candid conversations between friends, which Lou describes as 20 per cent basketball content and 80 per cent miscellaneous topics. 

10. Feeling Asian hosted by Youngmi Mayer and Brian Park

Feeling Asian has a simple premise with the potential for a plethora of conversations: two Asian people talk about their feelings. Hosts Youngmi Mayer and Brian Park, both comedians, began the podcast with the intent of being totally transparent and vulnerable about their emotions and lived experiences, challenging the feelings of shame and fear of judgment so often associated with vulnerability, particularly in Asian communities. Mayer and Park have bared their souls on the pod; they have cried, laughed, and even unpacked a personal dispute between them in a compassionate effort to open up to their listeners. Mayer and Park welcome many guests, including Korean-Canadian musician Luna Li, Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast, Ke Huy Quan (Indiana Jones, Everything Everywhere All at Once), Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), and Korean-American singer Yaeji. For anyone who enjoys deep conversations with a touch of comedic relief, add this podcast to your weekly roster.

11. Partition hosted by Neha Aziz

In August 1947, Britain finally left the subcontinent of India after hundreds of years of colonial rule, leaving in its wake two independent countries: Hindu/Sikh-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. The partition of India displaced millions of people, inciting the largest mass migration in history. Neha Aziz, a Pakistani writer who moved to the United States as a baby, is a grandchild of partition. Her grandparents made the difficult decision to move to Pakistan following the division of their nation, changing the trajectory of their family’s lives for generations to come. But Aziz didn’t know the scope of the partition of India, or its devastating, far-reaching consequences, until a family trip to Pakistan in 2017, when she explored an exhibit called “Home 1947” at the mall. The exhibit, created by Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, featured oral histories and artifacts from survivors of partition, providing testimony to the violence and chaos that followed the division of the nation.

Aziz, who was 27 at the time, was shocked and confused by what she’d learned, asking, “why didn’t I know about this?” But Aziz isn’t alone in her lack of knowledge: many people aren’t even aware of what event “partition” refers to.Now, Aziz is working to ensure the world knows what happened in 1947 through her new podcast, Partition, which premiered on August 15—the 75th anniversary of partition.  The podcast will draw on Aziz’s comprehensive research, featuring interviews from survivors, historians and filmmakers. But what makes Partition so compelling is that it goes beyond a history lesson, as Aziz can’t separate her personal life from the subject. Partition changed the lives of every single one of her family members, which is why their stories, and hers, are also a critical part of the podcast. The topic is underrepresented in mainstream media and education. but it’s never too late to learn. Partition is a must-listen.

12. Homegirl Nation hosted by Brigitte Truong 🇨🇦

Homegirl Nation is a new podcast from entertainment host Brigitte Truong discussing the challenges of womanhood and how to overcome them. Through candid, unapologetic and empowering conversations, Homegirl Nation shows that being open about our most vulnerable experiences makes us stronger, not weaker. Every week Truong makes space for a courageous woman to share her story, tackling tough topics along the way to make them easier to talk about. The latest episode, for example, discusses periods, in conversation with two of the founders of Marlow, the world’s very first lubricated tampon company. So if you’re looking for some inspiration or to just hear from another woman who gets it, this podcast is for you. Additionally, our founder and editor-in-chief, Madelyn Chung, is featured in episode one of Homegirl Nation.

13. Asian Enough hosted by Jen Yamato, Johana Bhuiyan, Tracy Brown, and Suhauna Hussain

Am I Asian enough? Am I American enough? Where do I fit in? This podcast is for you if these are questions you’ve asked yourself. From the Los Angeles Times, Asian Enough gets into the nitty gritty of cultural identity and what it really means to be Asian American. Hosted by a rotating roster of Times reporters covering entertainment, business and tech, the expert interviewers foster candid, compassionate conversations and give guests the chance to discuss their identity, an often touchy topic, on their own terms. Every episode, Asian American guests are asked to share their “Bad Asian confession”—a moment in their life when they felt, or were made to feel, not Asian enough—and unpack why they felt that way. Guests also share the joys of being Asian American and how their identity informs their work. Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Drag Race legend Jujubee, and even Vice President Kamala Harris have graced the mic of Asian Enough, showing that even the most recognizable and established Asian Americans have wondered if and where they belong. This podcast is perfect for anyone looking for a comfort listen and the reassurance that they are, in fact, Asian enough. 

14. Shit We Don’t Tell Mom hosted by Kristy Yee and Angie Yu 🇨🇦

Vancouver-based millennials Kristy Yee and Angie Yu aren’t reporters, writers, or academic experts. But they are experts in their mental health journeys and are willing to be vulnerable and authentic about the most challenging times in their lives. This makes their podcast, Shit We Don’t Tell Mom, a critical resource for millennials—particularly ones in the Asian diaspora—who may not have a safe space to discuss mental health. Yee and Yu bravely share their experiences managing anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder and how these conditions have shaped their lives and everyday reality. They don’t have all the answers regarding mental health, adulting and identity, but the podcast invites listeners to join Yee and Yu on their journey to figure it out. Mental illness is so often an isolating experience. Still, through open, unfiltered conversations, Yee and Yu strive to show people that they aren’t the only ones who feel “ugly” feelings and have permission to talk about them. 

No topic is off limits: episodes have covered therapy, failed relationships, sexuality, intergenerational trauma, the challenges of being the children of immigrants, and more. The conversations can get heavy, so it’s important to check the trigger warnings on each episode, but Yee and Yu’s unscripted camaraderie also makes room for laughs, joy, and healing, making this podcast a real gift to listen to.

15. Dear Seekers hosted by Sasha Xiao 🇨🇦

Created by writer and former broadcast reporter Sasha Xiao, Dear Seekers is a ruminative podcast chronicling Xiao’s search for answers in conversations with creatives. In each episode, Xiao “pours her existential pondering and melancholic feeling all over her guest in the hope of getting something in return.” 

She enters each conversation with some guiding questions about the artist’s practice and career path, allowing the conversation to flow organically, drawing out the most intimate of reflections and advice. Many award-winning authors have shared their wisdom on Dear Seekers, including Carley Fortune (Every Summer After), Rachel Yoder (Nightbitch), Jen sookfong Lee (The End of East), and Ashley Audrain (The Push). Also, Xiao is currently hosting a segment called “The Write Way to Mother” which explores the intersection of art and motherhood. For the creative and reflective soul, this podcast will give you lots to think about.

16. The Backbench hosted by Fatima Syed 🇨🇦

For those who enjoy sharp political commentary and want to hear a variety of viewpoints on Canadian federal politics, look no further than CANADALAND’s The Backbench. This podcast is uniquely structured by its host, Fatima Syed, who is joined every other week by a rotating roster of panellists from across Canada: Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Jason Markusoff, Drew Brown, Emilie Nicolas, Jaskaran Sandhu, Murad Hemmadi, Leena Minifie, Caroline Elliott, Riley Yesno and Stuart Thomson. From shady leaders to proposed policy and Canada’s reconciliation efforts, Syed asks critical questions, leads engaging discussions, and provides her incisive analysis to make sense of what (on Earth) is happening in the House of Commons. Sadly, Syed hosted her last episode on August 23. Still, her past episodes are more than worth a listen to get informed on Canadian politics (and to prepare yourself in the event of another snap election).

17. The Reheat hosted by Sadaf Ahsan and Sarah Sahagian 🇨🇦

Billed as the podcast that would happen “if a Gender Studies Class and your favourite gossip blog had a baby,” The Reheat unpacks the biggest pop culture stories of the past and analyzes them through a contemporary, often feminist lens. Writers Sadaf Ahsan and Sarah Sahagian have shone a new light on many of the pivotal celebrity dramas from the past decades, from a discussion on rise and fall (and subsequent re-rise) of Bennifer (Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck), to a deep dive into the history of the celebrity sex tapes. In reviewing how these stories could be handled differently by the media and the court of public opinion of today, Ahsan and Sahagian draw important conclusions on how we as a society have grown—or, where there’s still room for improvement in celebrity culture. Thanks to The Reheat, we can all become more ethical and educated gossipmongers.