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Expat brings love of Asian cooking to lakeside markets

As an expat living at Lakeside, Lia Krantz has found her niche, cooking up tasty Asian food and selling her popular products at various lakeside markets. Ironically, as one of four kids in her family growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia, she was the only family member who wasn’t into cooking.

Lia’s mother was a caterer, her brother owned a restaurant, and both sisters cooked for large organizations. Other than occasionally getting rounded up to chop vegetables by her mother for her catering business, cooking was not something she was drawn to – until she moved to Mexico.

“I was in Bali in 1991 when I met Marshall,” Lia says. “Two years later, just after my mother died, we married and moved to his hometown of Boston, where he was a high school teacher and adjunct professor at Anna Maria College.”

Even though her husband did all the cooking, Lia found herself missing Asian food, all the while growing frustrated at not being able to cook anything – even something as simple as soup.

On her first trip to Boston’s Chinatown, she was amazed to see foods similar to those in Indonesia. With a longing to cook these familiar foods, she would call up her sister in Indonesia, racking up high phone bills, just to ask how to make chicken soup.

“I guess cooking must be in my blood,” says Lia, “because it came rather easy to me.”

During their trips to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand, Lia would sign up for cooking classes, doing the same in Bali. “We’d buy up cookbooks wherever we could find them,” Marshall adds.

The couple vacationed in Ajijic twice during Marshall’s summer breaks from teaching. When he retired in 1999, they moved to Ajijic, having fallen in love with the area’s climate and natural beauty.

“Lakeside’s weather is almost the same as Indonesia’s,” says Lia. “The only difference being that Lakeside is less humid. Living in Ajijic, we were relieved to shed our heavy Boston clothing.”

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