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Southeast Asia Got Something to Say

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 – 6:30 p.m. ET

Southeast Asia Got Something to Say


Before the pandemic, opening a Southeast Asian restaurant, bar, or food business was an uphill battle. Over the last few decades, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and other Asian cuisines have become increasingly familiar to the American palate, both at home and in restaurants. Yet the national awareness and appreciation of Southeast Asian food has transformed much more slowly from curiosity and rejection to a craving that lingers long after the first flavor-packed bite.

What makes Southeast Asian cooking and eating truly unique goes beyond the pungent flavors, colorful ingredients, and history of immigration often associated with the businesses built on these lesser-known culinary treasures. How will these cultural hubs keep their doors open during a global pandemic against doubly stacked odds, with anti-Asian racism at an all-time high? Is Southeast Asian food still on the rise? Can it maintain its pre-pandemic momentum as it approaches mainstream popularity—and, eventually, even ubiquity?

Hear from celebrity chefs and restaurateurs Jet Tila, Food Network star and chef partner in Pei Wei Restaurant Group, and Christine Hà, the first blind contestant of “MasterChef”—and winner of its third season in 2012—and owner of The Blind Goat and Xin Chào in Houston. Then follow along as Genevieve Villamora, co-owner of the award-winning restaurant Bad Saint in Washington, D.C., and Vilailuck “Pepper” Teigen, author of The Pepper Thai Cookbook: Family Recipes from Everyone’s Favorite Thai Mom (Clarkson Potter), demonstrate a recipe from the new cookbook.

Part of CULINASIA: The Future of Asian Food in America

Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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May 19 2021


Time stated in HST.
12:30 PM

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