If there’s anything we Asians feel intensely passionate about, it’s our damn food.
We do not mess around.
So when non-Asians decide to toy with our beloved cuisines, whether it’s by introducing their own despicable take on a traditional food without honoring the original recipe, or by proclaiming our classic dishes “trendy,” among other offenses, it’s painful.
Especially since immigrants have long been shamed for the very foods in which white people are now taking interest. This confusing paradox was the subject of a recent viral piece by food writer Clarissa Wei, who summed it up perfectly.
“In a weird turn of events, people were making money and becoming famous for eating the things I had grown up with and had been bullied for,” she wrote. Later adding: “Only certain dishes like noodles, dumplings, kebabs, and rice bowls have been normalized. The majority is still largely stigmatized because, bluntly put, white people have not decided they like it yet.”
But let’s get real. Our food was always perfect to begin with.
Here are 9 times non-Asians completely f**ked up Asian food and made us long for mom’s traditional home cooking.
Mile End Bagels in Melbourne, Australia decided to throw some sweet chili cheese dip, kimchi, and roasted beef among other ingredients into a bagel sandwich and say it's "banh mi-inspired." The only problem? Well, as the interwebs quickly pointed out, those ingredients aren't even part of the traditional banh mi recipe.
One Facebook commenter
summed up our confusion saying, "In what way did báhn mi inspire this? Also, what báhn mi uses kimchi, a dish from a totally different country?"
A "White Girl Asian Food" truck run by Bobbi Jo Rice, who's definitely not Asian, got dragged on the internet by social media users who accused Rice of culturally appropriating -- especially since operation had claimed to serve up "deliciousness from all over Asia."
"The oblivious tone-deaf white privilege here is astounding," blogger Angry Asian Man
Healthy food blog Fit Foodie Finds shared a tutorial of a "banana sushi" recipe,
consisting of a chopped-up banana with some toppings on it. The video dish was to be eaten with chopsticks.
was quick to criticize the blog, explaining that eating something with chopsticks does NOT make it sushi -- let alone even an Asian food.
Bon Appetít caused a stir when the outlet published a "reimagined version" of the dessert halo halo. And instead of giving the dessert a proper tribute, The outlet ended up whitewashing the Filipino dish.
The magazine called for ingredients like a mash of banana and brown sugar, mashed berries with lime juice and salt, and even suggested topping it all off with gummy bears and popcorn -- a far cry from the traditional components. The outlet published all this without giving much insight into what the actual dessert looks like and for many of it's readers, this is unfortunately probably their first introduction to the food.
Besides sounding like a hot mess, New York Times' "Pho With Broccoli And Quinoa"
angered Asians everywhere who wondered how such a dish could be labeled "pho."
As Lucky Peach
points out, pho is defined as a "dish of thinly sliced noodles and beef, its name having been derived from
phan." And with the NYT recipe void of those ingredients, people were not happy.
"Dear New York Times's recipe section: "Pho With Broccoli and Quinoa" IS NO LONGER PHO," reporter Melissa Chan said, calling out the outlet.
Asians everywhere simmered with anger when Time Out London called soup dumplings, a beloved Shanghai dish, "exploding dumplings."
They also introduced the traditional dish as if it were a new, trendy discovery in the video while featuring the dumplings being poked and torn apart with chopsticks -- the incorrect way to consume them. And as if things couldn't get any worse, the outlet also compared the act of eating them to popping pimples.
“This is not just about westerners eating food ‘incorrectly,’” Facebook user Christina Chan
said in a comment. “It’s also quite important as many traditional ethnic Asian foods were once considered “weird” or “gross,” until a mainstream (aka white) body decided that it wasn’t.”
Bon Appetít found itself under fire yet again when the outlet enlisted a white chef to demonstrate the proper way to eat Vietnamese dish pho, positioning him as an expert on the subject. The outlet also touted the dish as the next food trend.
People across social media went after the outlet, accusing it of cultural appropriation.
"When you present ethnic food this way by a white man, you offend the Vietnamese community and deprive them of their own right to be authentic and maintain their identity,” Dr. Bich-Ngoc Turner, lecturer of Vietnamese language and literature at the University of Washington, explained to HuffPost.
When TV personality Andrew Zimmern
shared a Filipino ribs recipe, social media users were angry to see that he pictured the dish with chopsticks -- a utensil that's not used in Filipino culture.
Critics accused Zimmern of exoticizing Asian food and misrepresenting the dish with professional food photographer Celeste Noche telling Quartz
, "it feels like he’s incorrectly generalizing all Asians.”
recently released a kimchi recipe that called for a generous pour of its own product, angering many on Asian Twitter.
Though some South Koreans do use American soda in their kimchi to imitate the carbonated effect of traditional, fermented kimchi, the company was slammed for failing to provide cultural context and give a nod to the original recipe. Others also accused 7Up of changing the recipe to appeal to white consumers.
“When you gut the essence of a dish in order to pander to a white audience for marketing points, I consider it cultural appropriation,” one commenter, Rachel Nishimura, told HuffPost. "It’s heavy borrowing with complete disregard for cultural identity.”