Serving Resistance on the Menu: The Cultural Politics of Filipino Cuisine in Winnipeg and Ottawa

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Manuel, Gazelle




This thesis explores the cultural politics of Filipino cuisine in Canada. Filipinos are the fourth largest visible minority group in Canada yet their cuisine remains underrepresented in the Canadian foodscape compared to other Asian groups. By comparing Winnipeg and Ottawa’s contexts, I explore how Filipino cuisine entrepreneurs “do” Filipino cuisine through their establishments. I also examine potential explanations as to why Filipino cuisine is not mainstream. The findings suggest that the underrepresentation of Filipino cuisine can be attributed to structural barriers (colonialism and institutional racism) and the low incidence of Filipino entrepreneurship. Through culinary entrepreneurial practices, Filipino cuisine entrepreneurs engage in a politics of resistance and identity work. For some, the production of Filipino cuisine is implicated in the struggle against cultural assimilation. For others, it is an act of cultural pride and a politics of representation that seeks to disrupt the “hypervisibility” and “invisibility” of Filipino-Canadians and Filipino cuisine.


Ethnic and Racial Studies




Carleton University

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