The Racist Sandwich Podcast

84 EpisodesProduced by

Chef Soleil Ho and journalist Zahir Janmohamed interview chefs and purveyors of color and tackle food's relationship to race, gender, and class in their bi-weekly podcast from Portland, Oregon.

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EP68: This Is Not A Goodbye (w/ Soleil Ho & Zahir Janmohamed)

February 20th, 2019


We have big news. Our beloved hosts are starting amazing new chapters in their lives: Soleil is settling in as food critic for The San Francisco …

E67: Talking Toronto Food Justice (w/ Vanessa Ling Yu, Paul Taylor & Hywel Tuscano)

February 6th, 2019


In the final installment of our Toronto series, producer TK Matunda sits down with three community organizers to unpack Toronto's food justice scene. This episode, we hear from Vanessa Ling Yu, Director of caterToronto;

E66: I'm Not Leaving (W/ Ruben Ramos, Karla Quiñones, Abner Roldán, and Tony Ayala)

January 23rd, 2019



In this episode, Juan travels to Puerto Rico and interviews people affected by Hurricane Maria. He reminisces on his own encounters with hurricanes and how Hurricane Maria’s destruction reminds him of these …

E65: Los Angeles is Brown (w/ Daniel Hernandez)

January 9th, 2019


Happy new year, everybody! You know what they say…new year, new episode. New hosts? Producers Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez take over the mic this week to bring you this episode on the diversity of food media in Los …

E64: Toronto Truths (w/ Foodies of Colour) 

December 26th, 2018


Producer TK Matunda sits down with four Foodies of Colour to unpack what's going on in Toronto's food scene. 

The Panel: 

Eden Hagos – Founder of

E63: Eating our way through Toronto (w/ Suresh Doss) 

December 12th, 2018


Producer TK Matunda tours the Toronto suburb of Scarborough with food and drink writer Suresh Doss. They talk about Toronto's food scene, being seen by food media and the difference between the downtown core and the …

E62: Sugar, Spice and Bananas with Rice (w/ Hamdi Ahmed)

November 29th, 2018


This episode is all about Somali food: sambusas, bananas with rice and...pineapple upside-down cake? In part one, Soleil sits down with Hamdi Ahmed …

E61: The Memory of Za’atar and a Free Palestine

November 15th, 2018


In this episode, we dive headlong into how the relationship between Israel and Palestine intersects with food politics. In our first segment, Food …

E60: Sheet Pan Chicken With a Side of Social Justice (w/ Julia Turshen)

October 24th, 2018


For our 60th episode, Soleil speaks with the inspiring Julia Turshen, author of “Now & Again,” about how cookbooks can be an effective vehicle …

E58: Erasing Black Barbecue (w/ Johnny Walker, Adrian Miller, Daniel Vaughn and Brent & Juan Reaves)

September 26th, 2018


Hey y’all! We’re back in Texas with producer Stephanie Kuo, as she takes us on another tasty, tasty trip across her home state. This week, we’re talking barbecue. It’s delicious, it’s trendy, it’s decidedly American. …

The Kundiman 2018 Series, Pt. 4

September 19th, 2018


This is our final installment of the Kundiman Series, featuring poetry and prose recorded at the Kundiman writer's retreat at Fordham University over the summer. Each year, Kundiman brings upcoming Asian American …

E57: Chicago? Wine Not! (w/ Joseph Hernandez)

September 12th, 2018


In this episode, Zahir sits down with Chicago Tribune’s Deputy Food Editor Joseph Hernandez to talk about moving to Chicago from Southern California, …

The Kundiman 2018 Series, Pt. 3

September 5th, 2018


This is our third installment of poetry and prose that Soleil recorded when she stopped by the Kundiman writer's retreat at Fordham University this …

E56: The Most Interesting City in America (w/ Dan Q. Dao)

August 29th, 2018


For this episode, we welcome back producer Stephanie Kuo as guest host. She’s setting out on a journey to unpack the culinary legacy of her home …

The Kundiman 2018 Series, Pt. 2

August 22nd, 2018


On this bonus episode, you’ll hear the next installment of poetry and prose that Soleil recorded when she stopped by the Kundiman writer's retreat at …

E55: Louisville’s Super Chef (w/ Darnell Ferguson)

August 15th, 2018


Guest interviewer Roxanne Scott chats with chef and television fixture Darnell Ferguson about what it means to be the only Black executive chef in Louisville, Kentucky. In this frank interview, Ferguson reveals his …

The Kundiman 2018 Series, Pt. 1

August 8th, 2018


This summer, Soleil stopped by the Kundiman writer’s retreat at Fordham University to record snippets of poetry and prose from this year’s writing …

E54: What the Duck (w/ Lillian Li)

August 1st, 2018


In today’s episode, Zahir interviews Lillian Li, the author of the critically acclaimed novel “Number One Chinese Restaurant.” Lillian discusses her relationship to the food she grew up eating, what she learned working …

E53: Eating Intuitively (w/ Heather Armstrong & Kimberley Wilson)

July 25th, 2018


In this second episode of a two-part series on mental health, Soleil speaks with Heather Armstrong and Kimberley Wilson on the links between diet and …

Rerun: History on a Plate: The State of Filipino Cuisine (w/ Sarahlynn Pablo & Natalia Roxas)

July 19th, 2018


To commemorate our producer emeritus’ upcoming podcast for and about Filipino Americans, we’re re-releasing this great interview with Filipino Kitchen on the history of the cuisine. We want to send a big warm …

E52: Tasting Something Other Than Shame (w/ Ijeoma Oluo)

July 4th, 2018


Today's episode is an important one for us at Racist Sandwich. We talk a lot about the intersection of food, race and culture, but we're also a …

E51: Keeping It Together In The Kitchen (w/ Hannah Howard & Casey Rebecca Nunes)

June 21st, 2018


This is the first of a two-part series on mental health. Soleil sits down with author Hannah Howard and chef Casey Rebecca Nunes, who both open up …

E50: Detroiters are Fighters (w/ Devita Davison, Malik Yakini & Serena Maria Daniels)

June 6th, 2018


We're in Detroit for our 50th episode! And we're talking about the city's enduring food legacy. While a lot of food media often likens Detroit's food scene to a "Renaissance" of sorts, led predominantly by white chefs …

E49: Fighting Occupation with Food (w/ Reem Assil)

May 23rd, 2018


In this episode, we hear the morning keynote address at the La Cocina food conference delivered by Reem Assil, the founder of Reem’s Bakery and the newly opened restaurant Dyafa. Reem speaks about the targeting of …

Bonus Episode: Racially Conscious Wallah Bro (w/ Khaled Beydoun)

May 16th, 2018


We have another special bonus episode to mark the start of Ramadan! Zahir travels to Dearborn, Mich., to sit down with Khaled Beydoun, a law professor and author of the newly released book, “American Islamophobia: …

E48: Food Stories That Don't Pay the Bills (w/Francis Lam)

May 9th, 2018


We're thrilled to have one of Soleil's food icons on the podcast this week! Francis Lam, host of The Splendid Table and food writer extraordinaire, …

Bonus Episode: The Cure for Yellow Fever (w/ Dakota Kim)

May 2nd, 2018


Surprise! We have a special bonus episode for you after several requests to unpack the “Yellow Fever” debacle on Twitter. Writer and restaurateur …

E47: Bird’s Nest (w/ Liana Aghajanian)

April 25th, 2018


In part one, Soleil, Zahir, and Juan meet for the first time at La Cocina Conference in San Francisco and Soleil shares some exciting news.

In part …

E46: Kitchen Spanish (w/ Emily Hunsberger)

April 11th, 2018


It’s our first reported episode of the season! Emily Hunsberger, who hosts the Spanish-language podcast Tertulia, brings us this great story about …

E45: Becoming an American Writer (w/ Alexander Chee)

March 28th, 2018


In this episode, Zahir interviews the award-winning writer Alexander Chee about his new essay collection “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.” …

E44: Hell in a Bread Basket (w/ Samin Nosrat)

March 14th, 2018


In this episode, new producer Stephanie Kuo joins Zahir to discuss an op-ed she wrote for the Dallas Observer about her complicated relationship with …

E43: Eat Pickles Get Ripped (w/ Carmen Maria Machado)

February 28th, 2018


We are excited to kick off season two of our podcast! In part one, Soleil and Zahir talk about missing Taco Bell and gush about our roller coaster …

E42: Break Time

December 16th, 2017


After a long and popping first season, we’re taking a short break to recharge, relax, and raise funds for season two! Thank you for listening to …

E41: Only White Men Get to Be Geniuses (w/ Jen Agg)

December 6th, 2017


Today’s guest is the one, the only Jen Agg—the Toronto, Canada-based restaurateur who, in a lot of ways, has been imposed with a sort of Cassandra …

E40: The Pav to Success (w/ Preeti Mistry)

November 29th, 2017


Soleil catches up with Oakland chef and restaurateur Preeti Mistry, and they chat about culinary school, how the food industry falls short of its …

EP39: Namaste Motherfucker (with Mitali Desai and Naben Ruthnum)

November 15th, 2017


In this episode, we address the politics of the word “curry.” In part one, Barnard College student Mitali Desai shares her poem “Chicken Tikka …

EP38: Ice Cream vs Anti-Semitism (w/ Jared Goodman)

November 1st, 2017


Zahir interviews Jared Goodman, the founder and director of Morgan Street Theater, which organizes ice cream theater events in Portland, Oregon. Jared talks about him about his Jewish identity, his anxieties about …

Bonus Episode: F**k the Patriarchy

October 25th, 2017


BONUS EPISODE: FUCK THE PATRIARCHY. Soleil and Zahir discuss the sexual harassment allegations against the famous restauranteur John Besh, as well as …

EP37: Minnesota Nice (w/ Amalia Nicholson, Aubry, and Kale Walch)

October 19th, 2017


How much do you know about Minnesota? In this episode, Soleil digs into the state, going both on and off the beaten path.

She talks …

EP36: Eating Big Macs in Qatar (with Omar El Akkad)

October 4th, 2017


Zahir interviews Omar El Akkad, author of the critically acclaimed novel "American War," at an Egyptian shawarma stand in Portland, Oregon where they talk about sci-fi literature, what Ramadan means in a time of …

EP35: Puchica in the Midwest (w/ Victor Interiano & Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik)

September 20th, 2017


Soleil and Zahir meet in the Midwest—sort of. They catch up on their adventures as Soleil prepares to depart to Mexico once again.

In this episode, …

Bonus Episode: Waking Up From The Dream; A Post DACA Conversation

September 10th, 2017


The day after President Trump announced his plans to rescind the DACA program, the three of us--producer Juan, co-hosts Soleil and Zahir--recorded a …

E34: Queering and Melanating the Comic World (w/ Taneka Stotts)

August 31st, 2017


When was the last time you saw yourself reflected in the art that you love? For Portland’s Taneka Stotts, comic writer and editor, the answer was never. So she co-founded Beyond Press, a small-scale publisher that …

E33: Southern Food and the Table of Brotherhood (w/ John T. Edge and Amanda Yee)

August 11th, 2017


Who owns Southern food? In this episode, we tackle the concept of cultural stakes, ownership, and the character of Southern regional cuisine. Zahir …

E32: Because I Don't have Papers (w/ Armando Ibañez)

July 27th, 2017


Juan speaks with Armando Ibañez, an undocumented queer filmmaker who produces Undocumented Tales, a web series that is loosely based on Armando's experience as a waiter in LA. Armando talks about what is like to be …

E31: Lose Hate, Not Weight (w/ Virgie Tovar)

July 12th, 2017


This episode, which features author, activist, and fat discrimination expert Virgie Tovar, continues our conversations about body image, fatness, and thin privilege in the food world. We discuss the complexities of …

Bonus Episode: Pride month

July 1st, 2017


"In part one, we interview John Birdsall, the acclaimed food writer who is working on a book about James Beard and specifically Beard's queer identity. Birdsall also opens up about why he made the decision to talk about …

Episode 30: Squid and Prejudice (w/ Viet Thanh Nguyen)

June 21st, 2017


RS interviews Pulitzer Prize winning author and USC professor Viet Thanh Nguyen about his new short story collection, what it was like working at his …

Bonus Episode: The Pushback against White Supremacy in Portland

June 11th, 2017


Racist Sandwich covers the recent white supremacist rally in Portland; in part one, we interview people of color at the counter-protest, as well as a …

E29: Anh Luu Gives You Wings

May 31st, 2017


Zahir starts off with some thoughts on the recent deadly white supremacist violence in Portland, and talks a bit about his thoughts on Portland in …

E28: The Cacahuate Diaries (w/Daniela Perez and Soleil Ho)

May 18th, 2017


Katherine Quince interviews Daniela Perez—a mentor gardener based in Portland, Oregon—and chat about the successes and failures of gardening. Also,

"Bonus Mother's Day Episode: Zahir interviews his Mom."

May 14th, 2017


Zahir's mom dishes on Indian food in Tanzania, how she defines fusion food, and why she mischievously leaves out ingredients when people ask her for recipes.

E27: Planting Seeds Among Concrete (w/ Wanda Stewart) 

May 3rd, 2017


We celebrate our first anniversary by having guest producer Cristina Kim takes us to Oakland, Ca to talk with Wanda Stewart on the joys and challenges of teaching gardening and community farming at Hoover Elementary. …

E26: Coffee Level Over 9000 (w/ Nick Cho)

April 19th, 2017


Nick Cho will teach you how to make coffee—we won’t say in the “best way,” but certainly with way more knowledge and control than you’re used to …

E25: Do What You Wanna (w/ Ruby Tandoh)

April 6th, 2017


The theme of this episode is food and all the ways people use it to mess with us. Well, it’s about a bit more than that, but that’s the gist of it. …

E24: Stop Asking Me About Kabobs (w/ Persian cookbook author Yasmin Khan)

March 21st, 2017


Yasmin Khan’s Twitter bio reads: “Challenging stereotypes of the Middle East, one pomegranate at a time.” With her new cookbook, “The Saffron Tales,” …

E23: Combating Hunger with Hawaiian Musubi (w/ Darrell Yuen)

March 8th, 2017



One in five people in Portland are food insecure, according to the Oregon Food Bank. It’s a statistic Darrell Yuen knows well. He spent years fighting hunger, including a stint at the Oregon Food Bank. But in 2016, he …

Bonus Episode: (Not) Feeding the Trolls (w/ Celeste Noche)

March 7th, 2017


Do you remember our smash hit episode on racial signifiers in food photography featuring photog Celeste Noche? Since episode 14 came out last November, CBC has rerun the episode and Celeste has been interviewed about …

E22: Traveling Better With Bani Amor

February 23rd, 2017


In part one, we talk about Soleil's new restaurant Bonito Kitchen in Puerto Vallarta and Zahir's hard hitting investigative journalism about …

E21: New Look, Same Great Taste (w/ Alan Montecillo & Juan Ramirez)

February 9th, 2017


It was bound to happen someday. Our killer founding producer and editor, Alan Montecillo, is leaving us (and Portland) to work as a producer on the

E20: Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump (w/ Maurice Ruffin)

January 25th, 2017


On our twentieth(!) episode, we continue our two-episode-long trend of having individual people share their stories. Maurice Ruffin is a writer and restauranteur in New Orleans. Here, he shares his essay "Talking in New …

E19: Soleil's First Restaurant Job

January 12th, 2017



A new episode is here! We did something a little different. Soleil shares a story of the first time she ever waited tables, and how it changed her …

E18: Fries Before Guys (w/ Randa Jarrar)

December 29th, 2016


It's our last show of 2016! Soleil and Zahir (recording remotely for the first time) begin by distracting you from the news with their top five …

E17: Hari Kondabolu Eats Beef

December 15th, 2016


We're really excited about this one. Zahir and Alan (don't worry, Soleil will be back on the show soon!) interviewed Hari Kondabolu when he was in …

E16: And You Tried to Change, Didn't You? (w/ Salimatu Amabebe)

December 1st, 2016


How does it feel when your body doesn't fit the definition of "desirable," when no one around you looks the way you look, when taking up space seems …

Why This Show Matters

November 24th, 2016


We've launched another crowdfunder! Instead of talking about why you should open your wallet for us, Alan collected three of his favorite clips from …

E15: The Stories We Tell (w/ Isaac Fitzgerald)

November 17th, 2016


In this episode, we interview Buzzfeed Books Editor Isaac Fitzgerald about his new book, Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos.

We Just Need A Minute

November 10th, 2016


We needed to turn off social media and talk out our post-Election Day feelings. If you want to let us know how you're doing, leave us a voicemail at (971) 800-1389, or email us at

E14: What's So Political About Food Photography? (w/ Celeste Noche)

November 2nd, 2016


Food photography is just about showcasing food...right? In this episode, we talk with freelance photographer Celeste Noche about how an art as "neutral" as modern food photography can actually be loaded with signifiers …

E13: Food Tech Goes Home (w/ Charley Wang)

October 19th, 2016


Episode 13 is here! Charley Wang, the CEO of Josephine, an up-and-coming food tech company, explains how his version of the sharing economy can …

E12: It's Time For Solutions (w/ Nicole Taylor)

October 5th, 2016


On this episode, we talked with food writer and cookbook author Nicole Taylor about popularity of Southern food, and its roots in black history that …

E11: Pho is the New Pho (w/ Jenny Yang)

September 21st, 2016


Or, #NeverPhogetNeverPhogive! Soleil embarked on our first OFF-SITE INTERVIEW and caught up with comedian and writer Jenny Yang this past weekend. …

E10: Mexican Food Is Already Elevated (w/ Abel Hernandez and Jaime Soltero)

September 8th, 2016


For our tenth(!) episode, we talked with Abel Hernandez and Jaime Saltero. They are, respectively, the head chef and owner of Tamale Boy in Portland, Oregon. Abel and Jaime shared their stories about starting their …

E9: The New Culinary Workforce (w/ Jamaal Green, Greg Schrock, & The Portland Kitchen)

August 25th, 2016


Anyone in Portland can tell you that we've been experiencing a huge increase in restaurants and bars this year. What we sought to find out in this episode was whether that same increase has meant more opportunities and …

E8: Writing About Race, Family, & Food (with Amy Lam)

August 10th, 2016


On this episode, we explore food from a slightly different angle. We talked with Amy Lam, associate editor at BITCH Magazine and co-founder of the …

BONUS: Your Stories About Filipino Food

July 28th, 2016


For our Filipino food episode [E7], we asked our listeners to call in to our Google voice number to talk to us about their relationships with Filipino food. And y'all really rose to the occasion! We got a lot of …

E7: History on a Plate: The State of Filipino Cuisine (w/ Sarahlynn Pablo & Natalia Roxas)

July 28th, 2016


For years, we've been hearing from the food media that Filipino cuisine is the "next big thing;" that it would only be a matter of time before it …

E6: "It's Double Trouble": On Being a Vegan of Color (with Emiko Badillo)

July 13th, 2016


We start with a brief conversation about Pokemon Go, #BlackLivesMatter, and the place of politics in food media. Then we interview Emiko Badillo, one …

E5: Food & Femininity (with Dr. Kate Cairns)

June 29th, 2016


Dr. Kate Cairns, an Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University, joins us remotely to share her research on how foodwork—the researching, buying, and preparation of food—plays into modern ideas of …

E4: Sneakers & Coffee (with Ian Williams of Deadstock Cafe & Gallery)

June 15th, 2016


On this episode of Racist Sandwich, we talk with sneaker maven Ian Williams, who owns and operates Deadstock Coffee, a sneaker-themed coffee shop in downtown Portland. We discuss what it means to take up space, why …

E3: Pop-ups, Dudebros, and Indian-Mexican Fusion (with Kusuma Rao)

June 1st, 2016


Zahir and Soleil are back! In our intro, we discuss the food media's new obsession with poke, Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam, and chaat. After …

E2: Bringing Korean Food To The Masses (with Han Ly Hwang)

May 18th, 2016


Han Ly Hwang, the chef and owner of Portland's Kim Jong Grillin food truck, joins us in the studio to talk about the Korean-American food revolution, …

E1: I Make Wine Because I'm A Hustler (with Bertony Faustin)

May 4th, 2016


Our podcast begins with a discussion about the difficulty we often have connecting food to the broader issues of race, gender, and class. Bertony …

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