Spice Road

Actor and writer Rupak Ginn takes a culinary journey across America to find South Asian cuisine, culture, and community.

Dhabas director, Sami Khan, and showhost Rupak Ginn check out the menu at Punjabi Dhaba.
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
June 22, 2023
71 minutes
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Series and Special Projects
filmmaker Sami Khan

Sami Khan

Sami Khan is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose work has been supported by the Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes, Rooftop Films, the Gotham, the Berlinale, and the NBCUniversal’s Directors Fellowship. His films have screened at leading festivals, including Tribeca, Toronto, Hot Docs, and Mumbai. 

filmmaker Rupak Ginn

Rupak Ginn

The son of immigrants from India, Rupak Ginn is a Los Angeles-based, New York-raised actor/writer who has appeared in seven seasons of USA's Royal Pains, Universal's The High Note, The Stone Witch off-Broadway, and more. 

Headshot of woman

Vicky Lee

Vicky Lee is a New York City-based filmmaker. Her work reflects on the nuances of life and brings awareness to the overlooked, forgotten, raw forms of the everyday. Her films have screened at Tribeca Film Festival, DOC NYC, and Asian American International Film Festival.

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The Film

In Spice Road, a food and travel series about South Asian cuisine, culture, and community, actor and writer Rupak Ginn road-trips across America’s small towns and big cities, where immigrants set up eateries as eclectic as South Asia itself. Sampling savory and sweet delights from the Indian subcontinent, Rupak engages in heartfelt conversations with restaurant owners and celebrity friends.

The first episode follows Rupak as he travels to Punjabi Dhaba in Bakersfield, California, where he learns about immigrant Balvinder Singh Saini’s journey from truck driver to dhaba owner and is joined by actor and comedian Nik Dodani. In the second episode, he travels to Taaza, an Indian restaurant in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southern Virginia, where he discovers how his African American wife Nancy Redd’s heritage intersects with his own. Rupak heads to New Jersey in the third episode to dine with actor and writer Sheetal Sheth at Mejwaani, a Maharashtrian restaurant, in honor of his mother's heritage. He then travels to his hometown of New York for a mom-cooked meal and to recall his early memories of food with his parents. In the fourth episode, Rupak returns home to Los Angeles, where he dines on Desi street food with a twist at Paratta. He's then joined by actor, writer, and comedian Kiran Deol as he shops at his local South Asian grocery store, Bhanu, and ponders the future of South Asians in America.