Two documentarians set out to find and taste the perfect bowl of ramen. They believe they’ve found the real deal at a non-descript neighborhood ramen joint in Tokyo, but everything is derailed when they discover that the proprietor uses MSG in his ramen. What follows is a global search for the meaning of authenticity in food, taking us from Tokyo back alleys to Korean pig farms to the innovative food labs of Bangkok. Through their travels and through hundreds of interviews with food world luminaries — chefs, critics, scholars, writers — the filmmakers learn about the complex, evolving, labyrinthine world of “authentic” global cuisine, full of real flavors and fake dishes.
Today, when we’re hungry, we turn to our connected screens and devices and expect to be able to access a dizzying array of diverse global cuisines. For many of us, this is undoubtedly a good thing, but for those who become obsessed with discovering the next hidden gem — that authentic new dish that few have tasted — the hunt for lunch becomes a bigger game. What is really at stake when we insist on authenticity above all else in our food? SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE KIMCHI critically examines the recent rage for consuming, documenting, and sharing the foods of other cultures. These unexamined and seemingly innocent practices conceals a deep and troubling history that links together the human zoos of the 19th century, the quasi-science of social biology, modern food TV,, and the very origins of ethnographic documentary.