REEL ASIAN FILM FEST SPOTLIGHT: ‘Off The Menu’ Examines Authenticity of Asian Food

While I haven’t done any scientific research or polls I’m pretty sure that us Asians have an obsession with food. We are often the ones who will patiently endure insane line ups just to get our hands on the hottest food craze in the city or at the popular night markets.  We will also travel and incorporate  food and restaurants as part of our itineraries just as we do with attractions, shopping and museums. We have a deep affection and connection for food… just look at Instagram….but just don’t do it when you’re hungry.

There’s a great film that’s coming to the Reel Asian Film Festival called Off The Menu: Asian America. This film gives us an interesting perspective of our culture and our food that have evolved in North America through the eyes and stomach of filmmaker Grace Lee. It questions the authenticity while finding answers through an understanding of where we where and where we are going.

The film follows four different highlighted American food insiders from the first family who introduced Sushi to Texas; New Yorkers who try to create a balance between family business in Chinatown while moving forward with the new generations; a Sikh temple that recovers from a tragic incident but remains true to the faith’s belief that everyone deserves to share in a meal; and Hawaiians who continue to cherish what nature has provided to them.

Can a Tex-Mex tofu roll be authentic? How does a sushi business thrive in Texas? Does authenticity matter anymore?  The filmmaker seeks to discover how Asian American food is being redefined and what our connection really is to food.

This film has caught my attention, not only because I’m obsessed with food, but it’s also part of a greater event during the Reel Asian International Film Festival. On Tuesday, November 10th at 8:00 pm, OCAD Open Gallery (Toronto), the screening will offer a special tasting reception (optional) featuring local food exhibitors after the screening. At the reception you can sample food and drink from Gushi, Kaiju, Momo Tea, Abokichi, My Little Dumplings, and Barefoot Wines. Link here for details and tickets.

Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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