One recent food video is making Asians simmer with anger.
People across the internet are destroying a Time Out London video about soup dumplings from Dumplings Legend, a restaurant in the U.K.
The video not only introduced the beloved Shanghai dish to viewers as if it were a new discovery ― poking and tearing them apart with chopsticks and incorrectly calling them “exploding dumplings” ― it also compared the act of eating them to popping pimples.
Well Asians everywhere certainly have been. And though the outlet issued somewhat of an apology, saying sorry “to anybody who was peeved” by the video, people continued to be vocal about how they felt regarding the outlet’s seriously flawed interpretation of the food.
Angry soup dumpling aficionados spoke out through a variety of social media outlets and the Gothamist went so far as to call the video “heartbreaking.” Some criticized the horrific way the dumpling-eating method was demonstrated in the video as well as the outlet’s gross take on consuming the food. Others offered up helpful tips on how to really eat the delicacy.
But what some viewers took most issue with was actually the way the traditional food, that’s steeped in history, was presented ― as if it were “the next cool trend.” Though it briefly mentioned the Shanghai classic has roots back in the 1800s, social media users slammed the video for its “cavalier” explanation of the food and its lack of respect for the culture the dumplings come from.
Unfortunately, the act of “introducing” something into the mainstream that’s actually existed in another culture for years has been repeated so many times, there’s a term for it: “Columbusing.” And witnessing pieces of culture get “columbused” is painful for people of color, NPR points out ― especially when there’s been no attempt to understand the historical complexities behind the dish, stripping it of its cultural significance.
“When outsiders use tweezers to pick out the discrete parts of your culture that are worthy of their attention, it feels like a violation,” the outlet noted.
What’s more, these ethnic foods that are now framed as fashionable by white people were often “scorned” when made by the hands of immigrants, the Washington Post noted.
“This is not just about westerners eating food ‘incorrectly,’” Facebook user Christina Chan echoed 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.”
Time Out London mentioned that going forward, they’d encourage “knowledgeable food-lovers of China and Asia” to offer up some food suggestions and the proper ways to eat the dishes. It’s a start, but commenters also mentioned how the outlet should probably look into hiring more diverse voices on top of that.
In case you’re new to the soup dumplings, Gothamist has provided us all with a nice guide to eating the delicious treat. Trust us, none of these methods look like zit-popping.
Now, can we have a moment of silence for all the soup dumplings whose lives were lost in vain during the making of that video?