Back before hippies and health nuts discovered cultured soy. Before Portland, Oregon gave the world the Gardenburger, a man from Okayama, Japan opened a tofu shop there in 1911. The United States was filled with racism and fear. But even after the Ohta family was released from WWII internment camps, Ota Tofu never stopped making their nigari-style tofu. It remains some of the best in the country.
Colonialism may have introduced football to what is now Sialkot, Pakistan, but local craftsmanship and ingenuity turned the town into the world’s leading producer of soccer balls and other lucrative exports.
Radio Alwan is the independent station that broadcasts important daily news and activism in war-torn Syria. After radicals forced the station out of Syria, it made its secret home inside an Istanbul apartment in a residential neighborhood, because truth is an endangered commodity in Assad’s Syria, and because those who run Alwan are still not safe.
Sichuan peppercorns are famous for their citrusy, mouth-numbing heat — and for being one of the hardest-to-find spices in the U.S.
War has killed 10,000 people in Ukraine since 2014, but in a culture where bread is life, the loaves and sweet buns keep rolling out of this bakery on the front lines.
How Detroit techno was born — and continued to thrive — amid financial and social strife.
Lebanon has produced wine for thousands of years. When Lebanese farmers started growing cannabis and opium poppies in the 1940s, the region became one of the world’s largest narcotics trafficking hubs, and the US wanted it stopped. Some farmers have been converting their fields to grapes, and reinvigorating Lebanon’s wine culture.
Between 150,000 and 750,000 bunkers were built throughout this tiny eastern European nation by an extreme Communist regime. Now people use the retired structures as restaurants, museums, underground farms and toilets. Doesn’t sound like a problem to me.
Japan’s high-end fruit market elevates produce to works of art.