Food & Drink

Breaking Bread Introduces New Yorkers to the Cuisines of Countries on Trump's Travel Ban

One of the best things about living in New York City is that you only have to take the subway to enjoy cuisine from every corner of the world. Now, a group of local tour guides is working to give even greater exposure to the cuisines of seven specific countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The project is called Breaking Bread, and its mission is to foster acceptance, understanding, and a sense of community for restaurants owned by immigrants or refugees from those seven nations. The effort is a direct response to President Trump’s controversial executive order banning immigrants and refugees from each of those countries.

Each week, Breaking Bread will release maps of NYC restaurants that feature cuisine from the countries included in the president’s order. In addition, the guides will host walking tours and events all around the city to help New Yorkers understand these cultures through their food.

The first event, which drew 80 people, featured Yemeni and Syrian restaurants in Downtown Brooklyn. This Saturday, Breaking Bread is hosting a dinner at Somali restaurant Safari in West Harlem. Chef Shakib Farah, who came to America as a refugee 15 years ago, will lead the dinner and a discussion about Somalia and its food.

Breaking Bread also has upcoming events in the Bronx, Bay Ridge, and Sephardic Kings Highway. Proceeds from these events will benefit the International Rescue Committee.

Originally planning to run this project for the 90 days the president’s immigration order would be in effect, the organizers of Breaking Bread have decided to host events indefinitely as the legality of the ban is currently being debated in Washington.

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Ciera Velarde is an editorial production assistant at Thrillist who believes you don’t truly know a culture until you’ve had their food. Follow her on Instagram.