Sean Wai Keung | Dish of the Week
Dish of the Week is a project residency at CCA Annex with poet, performance-maker and foodie Sean Wai Keung. Sean engages with community groups around the Garnethill area of Glasgow, inviting them to teach him a recipe. He then documents his attempts to recreate these recipes in his own tenement kitchen, presenting the resulting footage alongside information about the communities he collaborates with and his own poetry inspired by his time with each recipe. The project aims to look at the broad history of migration, community and cooking in Garnethill, as well as to celebrate connection and communication between people in the local area.
Week 1 | Wood Ear and Okra Salad
"one of my favourite fast dishes to make, with the combination of slimy textures and different vinegars being perfect for a warm summer, or as a side dish at a community sharing event."
This dish came about as part of Sean's experimentation whilst putting together a dish for the 'Being Mixed' community potluck. Substituting okra rather than the more common cucumber found in a wood ear salad. In this entry Sean speaks to his relationship with food, his family, and his thoughts on traditional recipe books. These pieces include a video a video where you can watch him prepare the dish in his little tenement home kitchen, as a look into the place food has in his life and an invitation to try it at home.
As part of Food Art Film Festival event Taking Root Sean will gave an artists talk and shared his wood ear and okra salad in their pot luck dinner.
Week 2 | 叉燒 Char Siu
"a type of 燒味 (siu-mei), or Cantonese roasted meat. Traditionally, strips of boneless pork would be seasoned with a mixture of five spice, hoisin sauce and honey and then skewered on long forks before being placed in an oven." ... "a food to be cooked and served for special occasions or as part of a larger gathering."
A recipe Sean learned from Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Group, a space which caters specifically to the elderly Chinese community groups in Glasgow. Sean speaks to the issues of isolation and loneliness which affect older migrant generations, the social contexts they live in, and the place of this dish in Chinese culture.
Week 3 | DAD’S PRAWN LINGUINI
"people had to think beyond the traditional methods of recipe-writing. Instead of including every bit of information they could, instead they only had space to write the most important things." ... "I had no idea how many tomatoes to use, for instance, or what the ideal prawn-to-sauce ratio should be. I also had no idea about the history of the recipe, whose Dad the title referred to for instance, or what its significance would be for the author."
Following the Food Art Film Festival event 'Taking Root' on 7 October 2023, people filled Common Ground for their Community Potluck. Each guest was encouraged to bring a dish of their own, with Sean sharing his Wood Ear and Okra Salad and a version of 叉燒 (Char Siu) prepared with halal chicken. In addition to their food, guests were invited by Sean to write a recipe on a sticky note anonymously, which Sean would pick at random to feature as part of his residency.
An exercise in openness, anonymity meant the recipe writers were free from judgement, and the limited information given meant Sean had to guess and shape the recipe to his own taste.
Sean Wai Keung
Sean Wai Keung is a Glasgow-based food, performance and poetry maker. His work is often centered around community, migration and hospitality, and he loves to play with the idea of economics/exchange in his work. He has worked with organisations including the National Theatre of Scotland, Dandelion Festival and Magma Poetry, and his debut poetry collection, ‘sikfan glaschu’ was published by Verve in 2021 and subsequently shortlisted for the 2022 Kavya Prize. He loves arranging potlucks and talking about the history of takeaway food in the UK, and he can be found online via his website at seanwaikeung.carrd.co
This project is part of CCA Annex’s commissioned projects.
CCA selected 4 artists, writers and collectives, Lauren La Rose, Joey Simmons, Rosie Disobedient Press and Sean Wai Keung from an open call early in 2022 seeking research-based, process-led work not necessarily aligned with exhibition-making practice. Each of these projects seeks to explore and think critically about the modes of presentation and dissemination offered by the digital space.