(Image courtesy Planet Takeout
It’s hard to go to any neighborhood without finding at least a couple of Chinese takeout places, where the familiar smells of pork fried rice and crab rangoons waft out of their doorways. These institutions are often a staple in a neighborhood, and the Plant Takeout documentary project wants to hear your stories about your favorite takeout.
Val Wang, the director of the nine-month long multi-media project through WGBH, has been traveling around Boston visiting Chinese takeout establishments in neighborhoods like Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan to capture the story of the restaurants and their important place in the fabric of a neighborhood.
“I am really fascinated by these takeouts. When I was in New York it seemed like there was one in every neighborhood,” said Val Wang. “Everyone who goes to a specific takeout has these relationships with the people who own the restaurants and their role in the area.”
Although the food may be delicious, Wang hopes to captures the neighborhood's flavors and how people interact with their takeout restaurants through the documentary.
“We’re looking for people to tell their stories, everyday stories,” explained Wang. “When do you go? Who do you go with? Why do you go back? When was the first time? We really want to see how the takeout fits into people's everyday lives and what that can tell us about the neighborhood.”
Wang has visited over 25 takeout establishments from Dorchester to Jamaica Plain since March and although she will never get sick of a good spring roll or scallion pancake, the project depends on participation from those who know the neighborhood and their takeouts the best.
“We really want to find out the mystery of why these places have appeal and why people go back to them,” said Wang. “We want to know what draws people back? What makes them and their food part of their life and the neighborhood?"
Eventually once the plates have been sampled and residents interviewed, Wang and her team will create a website dedicated to the art of Boston Chinese takeout with interactive maps, multi-media stories, and possibly one of the most comprehensive looks at the world of Chinese takeout.
To find out more about Planet Takeout or to share your own story visit Wang’s site by clicking here.