More than a Menu is a multimedia project about Asian food and its meaning in select cultures across the U.S. It was completed between January and April, 2021 by students in the Digital Journalism and Media program at Biola University in southeast Los Angeles County. It is the tenth in a series of cross-cultural book/media projects - all of them long-form journalism and media work - published through Biola Avenue Press, an imprint of the School of Fine Arts & Communication.
This project was unique in that it was completed during a global pandemic; instruction and collaboration could not be done face-to-face. The book's celebration of Asian food and the faith experiences and rituals of hospitality embedded in it, was aimed at serving as a stepping stone to better cross-cultural dialogue. It will go to press as the world emerges from the worst of the pandemic and what we hope is an ebbing of an era of national divides over race and ethnicity. Chapters in the book include a look at what it means to be Asian, and how Asian food serves as comfort food (in Thai cultures, in particular); the project also includes deep dives into the ways food holds particular meaning in the homes and restaurants (and food trucks) of people from Korea, Thailand, India, and China. Cultural fusion in food gets particular attention in the overall project.