Skip to main content
This program is over. Hope you didn't miss it!

"Fast, Casual, Ethnic": Asian Food Beyond Misnomers and Myths

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

Evening Program on Zoom

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0408
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
Select your Tickets
Gen. Admission
Powered by Zoom

Clockwise: Kim Pham, Katsuya Fukushima, Sana Javeri Kadri, and Dale Talde, 

(Photo: Deanie Chen, NA, Aubrie Pick, and NA)

NOTE: Free program, registration required.

Today, critically acclaimed Asian restaurants, food brands, and other food spaces in the United States are carving new paths forward, transforming both fine and casual dining. These cultural destinations receive both accolades and criticism in equal parts, yet their existence was unimaginable even 10 years ago.

While past Asian American generations may have seen fast food as simply a means for entry-level job opportunities, children of Asian immigrants are flourishing in the fast-casual and food-brand spaces. Is this a trend, or a lasting opportunity for advancement for Asian communities here and abroad? What lessons have fast-casual and food-brand entrepreneurs learned pre- and during COVID? How can Asian American restaurateurs and entrepreneurs ensure their survival while also sustaining their family traditions and legacies?

A national panel of Asian American food professionals explores the pervasive, harmful, and persistent myth that so-called “ethnic” food is supposed to be cheap and fast. The panel includes Kim Pham, a first-generation Vietnamese-American and co-founder of proud, loud Asian pantry staple company Omsom; chef Katsuya Fukushima, co-owner of Washington, D.C.’s Daikaya, Bantam King, and Haikan; chef Dale Talde, a three-time contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” chef/owner of Food Crush Hospitality and Goosefeather in Tarrytown, New York; Sana Javeri Kadri, a third-generation Mumbai native and Diaspora Co. founder and CEO working toward a more equitable and delicious spice trade; and Food and Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah, whose primary interests include the foodways of the South Asian Diaspora.

How have Asian American food establishments evolved from immigrant ownership as social advancement to second- and third-generation entrepreneurship rooted in a desire to promote and preserve cultures? Speakers examine the origins of long-held assumptions about Asian food and challenge us to grapple with how we might collectively move beyond them.


Asian foods and cooking have long been an indelible part of America’s food culture, and yet we also harbor complicated relationships with the people who prepare our meals.  Earlier this year, Asian American activists carried signs reading “Love Us Like You Love Our Food” as they denounced a surge of anti-Asian racism in communities across the United States during the global pandemic.

CULINASIA is a dynamic, free series of virtual conversations that explore food legacies and the ways in which Asian Diaspora cuisine continues to change and enrich our lives. Join chefs, food writers, food entrepreneurs, home cooks, cookbook authors, and other participants whose heritage and experiences span the complex spectrum of Asian Diaspora identities in the United States as they discuss the successes, challenges, and future of Asian food in America.

CULINASIA is curated by Burmese American restaurateur and cultural connector Simone Jacobson.

The series received federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Recordings of these programs will be posted on the Freer and Sackler Gallery's YouTube channel within the next few weeks:

Additional CULINASIA programs

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.