Manaka Ogura, Contributing Photographer

“A girl in my class cooks Japanese food every week for her friends,” a now deleted Fizz post made two weeks ago read. “How do I get invited?”

The post — a screenshot of an Instagram story showing a Yale student making Japanese hamburgers for her friends — went viral. The girl in question is Naho Abe ’26, who makes Japanese cuisine for her friends in the Asian American Cultural Center and Silliman College kitchens.

“I missed eating Japanese food,” Abe said. “I also love making people food. In general, I love making people happy and I think food makes everyone happy, so it’s the easiest way to make all of my friends happy and myself satisfied.”

So far, Abe has made teriyaki burgers; oyakodon, a rice bowl dish; okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake; pork miso soup and curry rice.

Abe typically cooks at the AACC kitchen, which it is free to use and provides Asian spices, Japanese rice and rice cookers. Abe still has to buy fresh produce, but sauces like soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine are provided by the cultural center.

“She’s in the kitchen very often cooking, and she’ll text the group chat and invite us,” said Yvonne Kim ’26. “We’ll all go and she’ll feed us, which is very soothing. You get the feeling of home cooked food, so it feels really comforting. It’s also so open to people coming in.”

Abe’s cooking was posted on Fizz — an anonymous app where Yale students can see each other’s posts. She has not found out who originally posted her cooking. 

Abe quickly became a notable figure on Fizz, although she did not have the Fizz app when she was originally posted. One of her friends sent her a screenshot of the post and told her she was going viral on the app.

While the original post has since been deleted, other posts from Abe and her friends have gone viral. A photo collage of four dishes she made — oyakodon, okonomiyaki, Japanese curry and omu rice — got over 700 upvotes on the app.

Another post that said “Japanese girl strikes again with teriyaki burgers” from one of Abe’s friends also received over 700 upvotes. Abe made the burgers for the Japanese American Students Union.

“I don’t feel special, obviously, but it’s cool,” Abe said. “I only go on the app when someone posts me and one of my friends goes ‘Oh look Naho, you’re on Fizz again.’ A lot of people have talked to me that I’ve never talked to before. A lot of people in the Silliman dining hall come up to me, and that’s really cool because I get to talk to so many new people. I feel like I’m making so many new friends.”

Abe learned how to cook Japanese food at home, where she used to cook for her parents. Using the Yale kitchens, though, has posed challenges for Abe and her friends — the Silliman kitchen, for example, does not have a knife.

Abe usually invites five to six of her friends to the meals, and they sometimes bring along other friends, so her dinners end up being around 10 to 15 people. 

“I love how Naho puts in the effort to make food for her friends,” said Victor Nguyen ’26. “It means so much because I see how much time and effort she puts into making such awesome meals from her home for us. She totally deserves to go viral because her food is so good.”

The Asian American Cultural Center is located at 295 Crown Street.

Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.
Joanne Lee is on staff for the Podcast desk, serving as a lead producer for Silhouette. She is a sophomore in Silliman College majoring in the Humanities on the general track.