the chinese diaspora

here’s another cool infographic. this shows you there is a chinatown in almost every neck of the world. some bigger cities have more than one. here in chicago there are two but the one on the northside is really made up of south east asians than ethnic chinese. some chinatowns are prim & catered as a tourist attraction and some are truely where the chinese community actually lives & work. i’ve been to a few throughout my travels. i guess sometimes stepping into the labyrinth of chinatown in a different country can feel as comfortable to me as an american having a hamburger at a McDonalds in a different country. see the interactive version here.

even if there isn’t a chinatown per se, somehow one can always find a chinese restaurant in every country. ok, maybe i didn’t see one in the faroe islands but still that’s only one out of the 15yrs+ of my travels. one of the best documentaries to showcase this diaspora is cheuk kwan’s of chinese restaurants. i saw the first series “song the exile” at a film festival many years ago. i can’t help but remember the woman & her family actually trekked all the way from china to turkey by foot! its a 15 part documentary based on Kwan’s travel in search of a chinese restaurant in 13 different countries. amazingly, he found most of his connections through six degrees of separation. not only does the film show the diversity of chinese culture, its just incredible to see how the human spirit can overcome the adversity and hardship in a new adopted country through will & determination.

experts from Madagascar

“Where ever I travel, I always search for Chinese Restaurants. I know that not only will I get delicious Chinese food, but inside every restaurant I will discover a personal story, a unique story of courage, survival and hope.” – Cheuk Kwan

excerpts from Cuba: abel lam grandfather's passport

**images taken from chinese restaurants production stills


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