Donuts, genocide, and the American dream

Most visitors to Los Angeles and the west coast are struck by the number of donut shops, but few know that the vast majority of local donut shops are owned by Cambodian refugees who fled the killing fields of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. This is also the case in many other parts of the west. Through an interesting set of circumstances, Cambodian families got a foothold in the market, then helped other families through traditional loan systems and sharing of knowledge so they could earn their own piece of the American dream. These are people who have experienced unspeakable atrocities in their immediate families, and bust their asses (often 364+ days a year) to make a better life for their children in North America. So go enjoy a decadent donut sometime soon, and be extra friendly to the remarkable people who make these deceptively quotidian treats. The best documentary on the subject is Cambodian Doughnut Dreams , although the hygiene-averse dude in The Darkside of Donuts teaser trailer best articulates my own relationship with that quintessential American delight. [Video link]

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