Saturday, September 01, 2007
Chinese Restaurants Around The World - Individual Stories
One of my favorite programs on the air is a series on "Link TV" (see I do watch left leaning media sources) called "Chinese Restaurants". (www.chineserestaurants.tv)
In the series the host of the show travels around the world to investigate various Chinese Restaurants. The key point of the show, however, is to document the narrative regarding how the Chinese immigrant owers of the restaurant have found their way from their home nation into the country at hand and to sample how the local cultural forces have altered the Chinese fare that is served in the restaurant. Another unmistakable angle is the impact of interracial marriage and procreation upon the descendants from China.
In two recent shows in Madegascar and Cuba, for example, there were so few Chinese people to intermarry with each other that a sizeable portion of the Chinese descendants were of mixed race or Mestesos as they are called in Madegascar.
I found the idea of the series to be grand and thought provoking. I happen to do the very same cross referencing regarding Jamaican restaurants, Sushi restaurants and Chinese restaurants. For me I compare the "jerk chicken recipe", the quality of the sushi and the tastiness of the "shrimp with mixed vegetables" between each resturant respectively in order to do a comparative evaluation of these specific restaurants when I travel the United States.
The segment based in Madegascar was of particular interest to me because of some comments made by a Chinese restauranteur and then a Mesteso. The owner of the Chinese restaurant in question made note of the fact that all of her kitchen staff were "African locals". She told of the process of teaching them about how to make authentic Chinese food since many of them had not ever tasted it prior to seeking employment in her restaurant. In essence she was teaching them how to cook her particular cuisine as well as educating them in how to operate a restaurant. The key point is the CULTURAL EXCHANGE that was taking place as transfered from the Chinese to the people of Madegascar.
Secondly the comments made by the Mesteso - he was a brown skinned, Chinese looking man. He said that "the Chinese are the 'elite minority' mainly due to their superior skills at managing commerce". Of course this was his opinion but it pointed to what is clearly obseverable all around the world. Certain "merchant cultures" are able to settle in various places around the world and "set up shop" as the key focus of their daily lives.
(to be continued)