Lunchbox is a collection of photos and stories of 13 Asian-owned food businesses across North Carolina. From Asheville to Carolina Beach, these pages tell the stories of immigrants, families, mothers and fathers, and communities—united and sustained by their shared love for food and the rich fabric of Asian and Asian American culture. These interviews reveal not only the founding and histories of beloved Asian restaurants across North Carolina, but also the past, present, and futures of the people behind each dish.
The restaurants featured in this book include Lang Van, Kashin Japanese Restaurant, Momo's Master, Taipei 101, Boba Baba, Chai Pani, Toyo Shokuhin & Gifts, MOFU Dumpling Shoppe, Ida Thai Cuisine, Binki Cafe, Seoul Garden, Oriental Store & Gifts (Filipino Express Restaurant), Gourmet Kingdom. This project was started by Cynthia Liu and Yukiko Nakano in their junior year of college at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media. The project was part of North Carolina Asian Americans Together's inaugural Asian Solidarity and Action Project cohort.
Since its initial limited publication in August 2022, Lunchbox has since partnered with organizations including the UNC Asian American Center and Visibility Forward, an organization that provides high school educators across the U.S. with diverse lesson plans, literature, and digital resources to educate students about Asian American history and culture. Copies of Lunchbox can be found in local libraries, UNC Hospital waiting rooms, SECU Family House, the Carolina Asia Center, and the NC Japan Center. All proceeds from the project's initial release were donated to Asian organizations: the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and North Carolina Asian Americans Together.