Interview Guide: Asian American Voices in the Making of Washington D.C.’s Cultural Landscape
By Crystal Rie and Dave Walker
The Narrator: Jane Doe
Jane Doe’s son is a chef and co-owner of two Korean restaurants in Washington, D.C. In 2006, he opened his first restaurant with his mother, Jane Doe. The restaurant is one of the pioneering Korean restaurants that has been serving traditional-style Korean cuisine before the recent Korean cuisine boom. His second restaurant is a Korean-Chinese fusion fast-casual restaurant that demonstrates modern interpretation of traditional Asian culinary techniques and flavors.
This story is not only an entrepreneurial story, however it speaks to the integration process of im/migrant individuals and communities to their new homeland. The Korean/ Korean American communities have been getting recognition and distinction after a decades long invisibility or conflation into other East Asian ethnic communities in the mainstream media and culture. Along with Doe’s story, their stories show the generational change of im/migrant communities and their effort to become part of the DC community. In macro-level, I also hope to understand how the globalization of Korean culture known as Korean Wave shapes the livelihoods of transnational subjects.
1. What was it like to be an international student in Illinois?
2. When did you move to the U.S.? Did you come by yourself?
3. What degree did you pursue in a graduate school in Illinois? Can you describe your experience as an international student and being Korean in Illinois?
4. What was it like coming to the U.S. and living in America for you? Was it similar to what you expected?
1. What motivates some individuals/communities on the margin to blend into the mainstream?
2. How did you get into the food and restaurant industry? Where did you learn to cook? Who taught you?
3. Why did you decide to open a Korean restaurant in the District instead of Annandale or another neighborhood that has Korean community?
4. What were the challenges of starting a Korean restaurant? Many people doubted the success of a Korean restaurant. Did you feel nervous? Or were you confident about the success of your restaurant?
5. How did you ‘Americanized’ your food to cater to the clientele in DC?
Here is a great resource for planning interviews: Smithsonian Folklike Festival Interview
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