A Taste of Home
Co-directed by Tay and Val
After being away from home (Singapore) for 5 years, Filmmaker Val settles in Seattle (America). Homesick, Val ventured into Seattle Chinatown, in search for a taste of home. Val was looking for a dish that would bring back the familiar taste of her Grandmother’s cooking. She did not find any.
Instead, her search for a taste of home brought her through 100 years of Asian American history and into the kitchens of 5 of the oldest food establishments in Seattle Chinatown. She learned and understood why the early Chinese immigrants innovated their hometown dishes and invented the Asian American cuisine. She sat with restaurant owners who stood by their 100 year-old family food businesses, to talk about their American Dreams. She walked into the ruins of a burned down bakery, and experienced a Chinatown fast loosing its glorious days.
She consulted with a local Food Anthropologist who re-created a popular dish eaten by every Chinese laborer in the early 1900s, that has now disappeared from the restaurant menus. She found a family who is still making one of her favorite childhood dishes in the traditional way, only to find out that their children have no interest in these traditional dishes.
On her quest to find her taste of home, Val was confronted with a bigger question: Are Chinatowns dying?
This question not only led her to finding her taste of home; along the way, Val found the one thing all immigrants were looking for: a place where they are included and can belong.