"A proper poutine is to DIE for"

If you haven’t seen Kim’s Convenience yet, you should be ashamed of yourself. Films and TV shows including Crazy Rich Asians, Searching, Fresh Off The Boat, and Disney’s upcoming Mulan live-action remake are all making strides for the global Asian community. However, one TV series that goes above and beyond in terms of representation and entertainment is Canadian comedy Kim’s Convenience. 

When Resonate writer Janine Palencia reviewed Kim’s Convenience back in 2016, the show had just surfaced in Canada and seemed to fly under the radar. In her review, Palencia praised the show saying, “the writing is witty in an understated way, and the lead characters are instantly likeable.” Palencia also noted that “although the story is about a Korean family, it is targeted towards a culturally-diverse Canadian audience.”

Unbeknownst to Palencia at the time, but Kim’s Convenience would not only go on to be well adored by “a culturally-diverse Canadian audience,” but it would also go on to be well received internationally. Having won a variety of awards including the Canadian Screen Award for Best Achievement in Casting, Bell Media Award for Best Comedy Program or Series and ACTRA Award for Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award, the Canadian TV show gained traction extremely quickly.

After what felt like an arduous wait by fans around the world, Netflix finally launched all seasons of the show in 2018. Now, Kim’s Convenience is even more accessible than OG Fresh Off The Boat.

To commemorate the success of Kim’s Convenience, which is now filming its fourth season, Resonate asked its readers to submit questions to Simu Liu, who stars as Jung Kim on the show.

Q: What has been your best memory of being on the show?

SL: I’ll never forget the scene I did with Appa in the hospital room in Season 1; in many ways it led to a breakthrough in my own life in which I realized how much my parents had sacrificed in order to ensure that I never felt like I had less than anyone else growing up. Both Paul and I could barely hold in our tears while filming the scene; I think it meant a great deal to both of us that we get it right.

Q: Why is it important for Asian Americans to be represented on TV and movies?

SL: No-brainer here but the more we are represented in culture (media, politics, art) the more we are made to feel that we belong. When you grow up not seeing yourself running for office, or delivering the news, or acting in your favourite films, you don’t feel like you’re a part of the world around you.

Q: Tell us about the projects you have coming up.

SL: I’m writing a book about the story of my family spanning my parents childhood through to my life in Canada, developing a longform project through my production company 4:12 Entertainment, travelling across North America (maybe the UK one day!) to speak to students about pursuing passions and embracing their greatness, and of course shooting the fourth season of Kim’s Convenience. There’s more, but I can’t reveal it yet so you’ll have to stay tuned!

Q: What is your favourite Korean dish?

SL: I can’t pick one thing! My favourite thing about Korean cuisine is the variety. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for suluntang, soondubu, gamjatang, chajangmyun, bossam or KBBQ; you’re always going to be greeted with food that is bursting with unique flavours that will keep your taste buds constantly stimulated.

Q: What is your favourite Canadian snack?

SL: Not sure if this even counts as a snack but a proper poutine is to DIE for. Just make sure you’re eating one with fresh cut fries, authentic Quebecois cheese curds and extra piping hot gravy drizzled over.

Q: We have Shalejandro, what should Jung and Shannon be called as a power couple?

SL: There are two couple names that fans of the show have kind of latched on to, and that is #ShanJung and #FunJungShannonigans. I like the simplicity of the former, but I REALLY dig the creativity of the latter (first coined in our Astounding Trek audition tape episode haha).

Q: What scene in a movie has evoked the most feelings out of you?

SL: The scene that reduces me to tears every time I watch it without fail is in Inside Out, when Bing Bong sacrifices himself for Joy. It’s such an amazingly poignant moment that speaks to our loss of innocence as we mature into our adult selves. In a sense, we all have to kill our Bing Bong – our childlike wonder, our pure innocence, our unrestrained creative energy – in order to grow up. Just the thought of that breaks my heart into a million pieces.

Q: Think about the people you love the most in your life, what important things do you do for them?

SL: For my parents, who journeyed halfway around the world with nothing to their name except for a hope for a better life for their son, I would do anything. I owe a debt to them that I can never even begin to repay.

Q: What has been the biggest change you ever made that made you the most-proud of yourself?

SL: My greatest change is something that happened completely by accident. I was a problem child in high school and uni; never felt engaged in my work, hated going to class, and was a serial slacker. I almost resigned myself to the idea that I just wasn’t that driven of a person, until I discovered my passion for acting.

Q: How did it feel turning 30? Any new resolutions?

SL: Y’know, I felt like 29 was a very anxious year because it was the end of something – 30, by comparison, is kind of nice because it’s the start of something new. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the past few years and allowing myself to be proud of all of the amazing things I’ve accomplished, while also looking forward and being truly excited for whatever is to come.

SL:  As far as a resolutions go, I would say it’s to stand taller and be prouder of who I am. I struggled greatly with self-esteem throughout my twenties for systemic and personal reasons; I had a poor relationship with my parents, with my cultural identity, and most importantly with myself. Part of that was unique to my upbringing and part of that was put on all Asian men growing up in the west. In my thirties, I’m looking forward to continuing the progress I’ve made in rediscovering my sense of pride (in my self and my background) and helping others do the same.

To keep up to date with Liu, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Photos by George Pimentel