Jason Anderson: Chinese take-away
A complimentary bowl of house soup arrives within moments of Cheuk Kwan sitting down to a table at Kom Jug Yuen, a bustling Chinese restaurant on Spadina Ave. “They treat me nice here,” he says. “I’ve been eating here since 1976.”
Kwan is very particular when it comes to Chinese restaurants. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, he was a seasoned traveller well before he came to Canada the same year he first ate here. In his career as an engineer and social activist (he co-founded the Toronto action group that would become the Chinese Canadian National Council), he travelled extensively through the US, Europe and Asia. Everywhere he went, he would check out the local Chinese food. What he discovered about the people who served it eventually inspired a documentary project called Chinese Restaurants — the third feature-length instalment of which, Three Continents, makes its Canadian premiere at the ReelWorld Film Festival this week. But as Kwan explains over tea and barbecued pork with fried noodle, his primary attraction has always been culinary.