We Share Interests

Documentary – Cheuk Kwan’s Chinese Restaurants Around the World

May 24th, 2016  |  Published in FASHION, FILM & MUSIC, FEATURE


| The Chinese have throughout history travelled near and far from their homeland in the pursuit of opportunity. Combined numbers of the diaspora are in the realm of 40 million. Many of these are scattered in places we might not expect or even have heard of. At weshareinterests, we thought we’d introduce you to some of these stories if you didn’t know them already.

Cheuk KwanI first came upon Cheuk Kwan’s 15 part documentary series Chinese Restaurants when I was scanning the Lynn Valley library’s unusually vast DVD collection. At that time it had — and may still have — the widest selection of video content out of any library in the city. For that, I am grateful. I watched Kwan’s series a number of years ago and only until recently I thought I would go online to see if it was available so that I could easily reference it and share it with the world.

Culture Unplugged had the series up for a while but appears to be in transition. I found Link TV currently has all the episodes online and clicking on the image below will take you to their site.

The restaurant is a well-known symbol of Chinese migration. It is an interesting unifier for all the storylines in this series. While it is titled Chinese Restaurants, tales focus less on food and more about history and the people who run the establishments.

This ambitious and successful project took 4 years and 200,000 kilometres of travel to complete and provides glimpses into a number of lives that many of us could very well have found themselves in if their ancestors, like mine, had not decided to go to wherever they did. What would life have been like if my ancestors had not been merchants in Fiji and Canada and I grew up Cuban, Norwegian, Turkish, Madagaskarian instead?

Below is my favourite episode, part of the volume On the Islands, which takes us to Mauritius, Trinidad and Cuba. I knew nothing about the Chinese in these parts of the world going in! Enjoy and keep sharing!

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