Between Burma and the Bay

Sarah Oh, Thomas Fuller, Kate Leahy and Desmond Tan 

Sarah Oh, Thomas Fuller, Kate Leahy and Desmond Tan 

Four San Franciscans who have called Southeast Asia home participated in a discussion about their experience living between places on September 7 in downtown San Francisco. 

After 27 years abroad, Thomas Fuller relocated to the Bay in 2016 and wrote popular dispatches in The New York Times about his transition to San Francisco. Thomas spoke about his time abroad for The Times in Southeast Asia where he covered the demise of dictatorship in Myanmar and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s transition from political prisoner to politician and military coups in Thailand. 

Desmond Tan, who moved to San Francisco from Myanmar in 1977, discussed how he shares the culture of his former home country through food and his restaurant, Burma Superstar. In his cookbook co-authored with Kate Leahy, Desmond writes about the process of sharing Burmese culture with America, and how this has evolved through the country’s recent opening. 

Kate Leahy who spent her childhood in the Philippines spoke about her experience working with Desmond and other chefs to translate their ideas into words and cookbooks that can tell stories about other countries and communities. 

The speakers discussed their personal journeys to be present in the overlapping worlds and communities they call home, as well as their work to bring Burmese and Southeast Asian culture to the Bay Area.

This event was the first in a series of BAIL food events to bring people together for intimate and candid conversations over great food. This event series highlights cherished and emerging food businesses in the Bay Area. 

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