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Conversations with NK Medina

Today we’d like to introduce you to NK Medina.

Hi NK, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Born and raised a Houston foodie. Through food, fun and puns, Nkmedeats for 4 years and counting has been a fun journey of sharing Houston based adventures as well as travels beyond. It’s been such a journey I never imagined possible and look forward to how it evolves in the years to come.

If someone were to ask me what food is to me, I would say it is the best storyteller. My earliest and fondest memories growing up are the heart to heart talks in the kitchen with my parents as we’d make some of my Filipino favorites: Sinigang, Tosilog, and Leche flan. Episodes of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern would play in the background, and I was fascinated with how they travelled the world and bonded with people over food. Whether it be watching it on TV or experiencing it in my personal life, it taught me that moments centered around a meal can be a powerful thing, the ability to create and connect.

I call myself an “accidental foodie” because there was no plans to be a food blogger. Back when Instagram was new and “influencers” were unheard of, I was a commuting student playing around with a phone camera, VSCO, hashtagging #nkmedeats for the amusement of friends and family to share my college adventures with. The more I drove around Houston, the more I realized the global cuisines and experiences that I longed for and only thought possible through travel were in my backyard all along. The best part of supporting local businesses has been meeting the people behind the dish. You learn of the craftsmanship, creativity, hopes and dreams that goes into making a dish and for me that’s witnessing storytelling at its best.

The Houston Foodie Community has been nothing but supportive as Nkmedeats transitioned from a hashtag to what you know it as today. My first ever food event where I met a bunch of bloggers I felt so lost as people asked me for content engagement tips, analytics, and my handle (which I later found out is asking for my username and not my handle on life haha). Sometimes it’s still a huge learning curve navigating social media and how we use it. I hope that whoever visits my page inspires people to have fun trying new foods, supporting local, cherishing the places and people that make a place home.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As I mentioned before, social media at times feels like a constant learning curve being inundated with information and news. ‘When does keeping up with the trends ever end?’ “What is your stance on this issue on your platform?’ Whenever I took a social media break, there were times I wasn’t sure if it was a mere pause or just wanting to stop altogether. I’m thankful that taking breaks gave me space to refresh, and reflect on what is truly important to me and what I want to share. I’m currently enjoying a place where I’m growing at my own pace, and my main focus is having fun creating and building authentic relationships with people on/off-screen.

The challenge of navigating the pandemic as a foodie has been an interesting one. The beginnings of it were fun, people trying their hand at banana bread and Dalgona coffee as we tried to quarantine and social distance. It was also a nice surprise to see how some businesses have started and thrived with take out and pop ups. But as this has prolonged longer than anyone has anticipated, it’s hard to hear when businesses shut down as a result of the pandemic. It’s not a matter of losing my favorite foodie spot, but this is someone else’s livelihood and dreams. As a foodie and health care worker, I’m constantly asking myself—What does it look like to continue the support of local businesses and how we do it safely? How do we do day to day things without further straining hospitals, as big as the Texas Medical Center is? As divisive as topics and opinions can be about handling COVID-19, I hope we can work together in the best interest of others to protect and love your neighbor.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?

Many followers tell me they thought the  “med” in nkmedeats was short for medical field, but it really is just an abbreviation of my last name, Medina.  However whenever I am not doing foodie adventures I am working in the medical field full time as a Pediatric MRI technologist. As I tell the kids I scan, I work with a machine that looks like a big space donut that makes really loud and long noises, haha. But if they hold still enough, the MRI Machine is like a camera that will capture pictures of the body that can help doctors and the rest of the health care team better understand the best way to treat them. I often work alongside Nurses, Radiologists, Surgeons, Anesthesiologists, Respiratory Therapists and every other healthcare worker you can imagine involved in a patient’s care. It really is a multidisciplinary team effort and happy we can work together in hopes to make a positive impact on their life.

When the age range of patients we scan widely vary as young as 1 day old to 18+ years, each MRI will differ based off size of patient. developmental stages or the critical state each patient is in. It’s a work environment that constantly pushes my critical thinking skills for the better, and teaches me to be a better advocate for patient care.

Foodie Imaging by day, Diagnostic Imaging at night.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
While Houston is a never-ending exploration for food, I’d love Nkmedeats to go global, wherever life takes me. I’d like to keep up the food puns. It’s a goofy expression of myself so I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

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Image Credits

Nikki Medina (@nkmedeats)

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