Have You Eaten Yet (Cheuk Kwan)

Have You Eaten Yet?: Stories from Chinese Restaurants Around the World

From Haifa, Israel to Cape Town, South Africa, Chinese entrepreneurs and restaurateurs have brought delicious Chinese food to cities across the globe. Unravelling the complex history of cultural migration and world politics, Cheuk Kwan narrates a fascinating story of culture and place, ultimately revealing how an excellent meal always tells an even better story.

Dotting even the most remote landscapes, family-run Chinese restaurants are global icons of immigration, community and delicious food. The cultural outposts of diasporic peoples, bringers of dim sum, fortune cookies and creative culinary hybrids like the Madagascar classic, hot soupe chinoise, Chinese restaurants are a microcosm of greater social forces—an insight into time, history and place. From Africa to South America, the Jade Gardens and Golden Dragons of Chinatowns and beyond reveal the intricate tangles of social schisms and political movements, offering insight into global changes and diasporic histories, as the world has moved into the 20th and 21st centuries.

Author and documentarian Cheuk Kwan, a self-described “card-carrying member of the Chinese diaspora,” weaves an unexplored global narrative by linking the myriad personal stories of chefs, entrepreneurs, labourers and dreamers who populate Chinese kitchens world wide. Behind these kitchen doors lies an intriguing paradox which characterizes many diasporic communities—how Chinese immigrants have resisted—or often been prevented from—complete assimilation into the social fabric of their new homes, maintaining strong senses of cultural identity, while the engine of their economic survival—the Chinese restaurant and its food—has become seamlessly woven into cities all around the world.

An intrepid travelogue of grand vistas, adventure and serendipity, Have You Eaten Yet? charts a living atlas of the Chinese diaspora, revealing the synergies of politics, culture and family.

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