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An odyssey to find the truth of grains

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-03 07:42
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Embarking on a new mouthwatering journey, the latest season of the popular documentary series, Once Upon a Bite, features a variety of staple foods, such as fried gluten puffs. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Because of the pandemic, we couldn't travel abroad, so we had a total of 10 international teams to help shoot the stories in their respective countries," reveals Deng.

Coordinating with foreign teams amid a complex international situation has been one of the biggest challenges. Deng recalls that the film crew was forced to suspend shooting four times while producing the tale of freekeh, a cereal food made from green durum wheat, in Burqa, a village located northwest of Nablus in Palestine.

When the green durum wheat was harvested in 2021, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis were escalating, making the filming difficult, Deng explains.

But most of the international cooperation went smoother than anticipated.

When the Chinese producers were planning to shoot a tale about manoomin (wild rice), a staple food for Minnesota's Native American population, a female director residing in the US state, who has been in close contact with the ethnic groups in the country, was recommended to the team.

The director has a profound knowledge of the Ojibwe, one of the largest groups of Native Americans in North America, and a comprehensive understanding of the tribes-people's cherishing of lakes and the local wild rice, injecting the footage with delicate emotion, according to Deng.

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