Italian team + roadside food = ......
Posted August 25th, 2014
Sarah Karacs for South China Morning Post
In a small town deep in central China, a man hangs a dead dog from a tree on the side of the road. He pulls out a knife, cuts off chunks of flesh that he flings into a bag, and drives off on a motorbike with the quartered hound over his shoulder.
For Italian filmmaker Alessandro Milini, this is the strangest image he will take away from his time on the road documenting street food from Kyrgyzstan to Hong Kong.
Milini and six others arrived in the city this week after clocking 7,000 miles - or 11,265km - in two "humble" cars since July 15. They are part of a project involving 42 photographers snapping pictures of fast food on roadsides across the world.
The project, 7 Mila Miglia Lontano (7,000 miles away), works like relay race across the globe. Seven new photographers will begin their 7,000-mile stage in Alaska in those same cars next month.
The route, which started with a drive from Italy to Kyrgyzstan, then makes its way to Guatemala, then Bolivia, then Argentina, before picking up again in South Africa to head to Ethiopia and finally back to Italy.
The final product - two books packed with photographs of Kashgar meat vendors, snakes in cages and other culinary postcards from the ancient Silk Road - will be unveiled at next year's Milan Expo, which has a "food and sustainability" theme.
Following in Marco Polo's footsteps through the Torugart Pass, the team wound through Kashgar and the sandy Tian Shan mountain ranges of Xinjiang , stopping at the homes of hospitable strangers.
"We'd just go up, knock on people's doors and they'd let us in, always forcing food on us," photographer Ottavio Tomasini said. Bamboo shoots, alligator meat, a scentless flower puree from Kashgar and a cake made of shrimp were some of the many culinary oddities the team got to savour and snap.
Did the seven road trippers ever miss their home cooking?
"Of course. But we did bring our own pasta and parmesan and sauce," Milini said. "One night, we stayed in a little guesthouse like the ones you get in the Alps where we could cook our own meals. And let me tell you something: That was the best pasta I've ever had in my whole life."
They rather astutely brought along pasta, which by all means is the best meal ANYONE could hope for ....