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Award-winning, Toronto-based Chinese Trinidadian filmmaker Richard Fung presents and discusses his latest film, Dal Puri Diaspora, a fascinating exploration of food, migration, and culture with NYU Professor Krishnendu Ray (The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households).
Curated by A/P/A Visiting Scholar Chi-hui Yang.
Dal Puri Diaspora, 2012, Richard Fung, 80 min., HD video, Canada,
The recipe for dal puri traveled with indentured workers from India’s Gangetic plain to southern Caribbean colonies in the 19th Century. In the 1960s the wrapped roti migrated from Trinidad to North America, where it is known as Caribbean roti and is popular in cities like New York and Toronto. As the dish moved from home fire to street stall to restaurant chain, and from festival to fast food, the flat bread was radically transformed in ingredients, cooking method, ways of eating and, importantly, identity. Shot in Toronto, Trinidad and India, this documentary tracks dal puri’s remarkable passage across space and time, linking colonialism, migration and the globalization of tastes.
Richard Fung is a Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist and writer. His award winning tapes, which include My Mother’s Place (1990) and Sea in the Blood (2000), have been widely exhibited and collected, and his essays have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He is co-author, with Monika Kin Gagnon, of 13: Conversations on Art and Cultural Race Politics. He teaches in the faculty of art at OCADU University.
Krishnendu Ray is an Associate Professor and the Chair in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. Before that he taught for a decade at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households (2004). Most recently, he is the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012). He is currently working on a book-length project titled “Taste, Toil and Ethnicity: Immigrant Restaurateurs and the American City.”