Books·Canadian

Have You Eaten Yet?

A book by Cheuk Kwan.

Cheuk Kwan

Dotting even the most remote landscapes, family-run Chinese restaurants are global icons of immigration, community and delicious food. The cultural outposts of far-flung settlers, bringers of dim sum, Peking duck and creative culinary hybrids like the Madagascar classic 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 reveal an intricate tangle of social schisms and political movements, offering insight into global changes and diasporic histories, as the world has moved into the 21st century.

Author and documentarian Cheuk Kwan, a self-described "card-carrying member of the Chinese diaspora," weaves a global narrative by linking the myriad personal stories of chefs, entrepreneurs, labourers and dreamers who populate Chinese kitchens worldwide. Behind these kitchen doors lies an intriguing paradox which characterizes many of these 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 global Chinese migration, revealing the synergies of politics, culture and family. (From Douglas & McIntyre)

Cheuk Kwan is a writer and filmmaker. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Singapore, Kwan has lived in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Canada. His film series Chinese Restaurants explores stories from the Chinese diaspora by focusing on different family-run Chinese restaurants located all over the world.

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