'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin


Entertainment culture

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

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Entertainment culture

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

Entertainment culture

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

Published By:   •   December 31, 2023

'Soul Of A Banquet' Revisits San Francisco's Renowned Restaurant The Mandarin

Published By:

December 31, 2023

Entertainment culture


Soul Of A Banquet

Cecilia Chiang became an "accidental restauranteur," when she opened San Francisco's The Mandarin in 1961.

In Soul Of A Banquet, now on M/LUX, the director of The Joy Luck Club plunges into the world of Chiang, who changed the course of Chinese food in America.

"I was born ... near a small town in Shanghai, when I was four years old ... we moved to Beijing. I'm from a very big family. We have 12 children. Nine girls, three boys. I'm the number seven daughter in the family. We lived in a big house, and we [had] a big kitchen. And when we were small, we're not allowed to go to the kitchen to do the cooking," Chiang said of her childhood.

Restauranteur Alice Waters (pictured above with Chiang) and food critic Ruth Reichl appear to dive into the story of Chiang's influence.

"Cecilia is one of the last of the old school," Reichl said. "She's one of the last people who really grew up in Chinese splendor in a very traditional family."

She grew up probably at a very rare moment in Chinese history where she spanned the old traditions and the coming of the new," Reichl added.

Watch the documentary below:

Photography by:

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