The Challenge with Asian Foodstuff



For the file, I you should not have a dilemma with people cooking food stuff from cultures outdoors of their individual, I have a dilemma with people misrepresenting cultures by labelling them as “Asian” recipes just due to the fact they occur to have soy sauce or ginger in it. Just cause it has kimchi in it isn’t going to make it Korean.

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Here is one of my fb posts that experienced a lot of insightful discussion in the comments:

*The Feminist Guidebook to Getting a Foodie Without having Getting Culturally Appropriative*:

*CRAVING THE OTHER: A single Woman’s Beef with Cultural Appropriation and Cuisine:*

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24 thoughts on “The Challenge with Asian Foodstuff”

  1. Like you said when people think about "asian food" they usually think of certain areas like china korea japan etc. I don't think anyone would think of turkey or saudi arabia or many other countries. People should stop assuming asia as a small place where chinese korean japanese and vietnamese people live together. It is much larger and has much more different cultures.

  2. Oh yeah! Couldn't agree more! And it's not "white people" who came up with it, it seems to be specifically anglo-saxon thing to refer to some South East and East Asian cultural stuff and people as "Asian". Where I'm from, people are generally more likely to call Middle Eastern cuisine "Asian". Although these cuisines also differ a lot when you look at each country of the region.

  3. Italians eat pasta with homemade marinara nearly every day. I lived in Italy. I was taught to cook Italian food from Italians. I didn't need to be schooled by you Lisa I schooled myself in the world I'm also a medical doctor and a PhD in nutrition I travel the world like I said and lived in the only every continent so I don't need somebody in Canada to tell me about Asia. Thank you anyway.

  4. White people originally got their Chinese food from Chinese immigrants and they are the ones who owned the restaurants and changed the recipes to suit the American pallet. I have lived all over the world on every continent and America's idea of Asian and Europe's was given to us by an Asian culture which was Chinese. Most people know the difference between Chinese Japanese Thai food Indian food Vietnamese food if they don't then they better educate themselves. You not going to find a summer roll in the north of China. We have Italian American food because Italian immigrants came here used what they found and created a food that isn't even close to what you eat in Italy. I've got a rant of my own about being blamed for being a white person who clumps all Asian areas together because I don't know any better. That's what happened back in the thirties forties and fifties by Asians themselves here. There is always Italian American food German American food it's never going to be the actual thing and less people who come from those countries are making it themselves at home. Everybody wants Moroccan food to be hot and spicy and it is nowhere near it but they persist in putting hot spices in Moroccan food. The title of this video should be the problem with white people! Not the problem with Asian food. Then go talk to the Chinese Americans who came here Generations ago and created Kung Pao. Chef's doing Asian slaw Etc is a very brand new thing. I liked you and your videos until now. I wait to subscribe until I see how I fit with the channel and I don't fit with this blame.

  5. Learning about other cultures aren't required for the most part In the American educational system (other than learning a language, maybe).
    That gives me the feeling that that absence of cultural enrichment might add to the tone deafness in society.
    Plus, now, we have a leader parading and trying to expand that tone deafness and it's catching on. Some people don't get it and they're getting a pat on the back for it.
    But hey, at least you live in Canada.
    It's still a bitch, though

  6. It makes me want to cry every time I see a "dal" recipe that is actually much closer to a curry (read: dal is literally the name of split peas, so if you add a bunch of veggies it is no longer just dal) and then people don't cook the friggin' spices and add them in the middle, or god forbid, at the end like a seasoning! Not only is that not even close to an Indian dal or, even curry, recipe, but anyone from any culture with a history of using spices knows you have to cook the darn things first – aromatics people!

  7. Cultural appropriation and co-opting happens to all cultures by Western societies. Just look at "Big Night" re: Italian food in America. It is set in the 50's, if memory serves, but you get the picture. Mexican food – jalapeno and tomato does not a salsa make and yet some gross bottle version of this is the most popular condiment in the U.S. Asian is a very general and pretty lazy way to describe a whole myriad of diverse countries and their populations. Yeah and don't even get me started on "Wow your English is really good."

  8. What do you mean by white people? There are white people living all over the world, from different cultures. White isn't an ethnicity, it's a skin color. By "white" do you mean people from European countries? Even then there are diverse ethnic groups such as the Germans, the Italians, and the Spanish – all of which have different styles of food that are also interpreted incorrectly by people of other ethnic groups. I'll tell someone I'm German and they'll be like "Omg I hate sauerkraut" even though sauerkraut originated in China. Or by "White", do you mean white skinned Americans? Because there are black Americans that throw tomatoes in a pot and call it Italian, too. Or, since you're in Canada, do you mean white Canadians? You know, I understand your point about people misrepresenting cultures, but this isn't a problem limited to "white" people, since "white" people themselves come from all different ethnic backgrounds. That is an unfair generalization of a particular skin color that really sinks what could have been a good argument.

  9. There are so many battles to be fought in this world to address the atrocities that people face. To focus this much concern as to whether food is culturally mislabeled is just absurd. I'm Middle Eastern, but I don't get offended every time a white person posts a falafel video. It's cool to see people interacting with your culture even if it isn't authentic. It makes for a sense of unity, that I can learn from you and you can learn for me, but we don't have to constantly be on our toes worrying if we used the right word to describe it. If you let little things like this agitate you, there's no room left for ACTUAL issues.

  10. I think people are lazy. For example, rather than calling anglicized Mexican food "Tex-Mex" or MexiAmerican food (or something more globally inclusive), they just shorthand it "Mexican," which brings us to the problem.

    I was staying with a friend once in Ohio, and there was actually a restaurant that labelled itself "Asian Food." I kept asking my friend "what KIND of Asian food? Chinese? Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese? Are they talking about SE Asian food, because there's another bunch of cultures right there." It turned out that it was that junk Chinese with a few Japanese dishes thrown in. Ugh.

  11. Giiiiiiiiiirl !!! One day i was on Wikipedia reading about Bo Luc Lac and omg…. So Bo Luc Lac was originally vegetarian (even vegan if i remember… correct me if i'm wrong) but during the colonization, French people added beef in it so now it's mostly made with meat (it's a shame, i know). So i was reading it and it was written "THANKS TO COLONIZATION beef was incorporated to the dish" and i was like WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF ???? "Thanks to colonization ???? Are you serious ?????
    How can people be that dumb to write things like this ? I was so pissed ! And i still am !

  12. I totally understand what you are saying, first off as someone who is a "cultural and ethnic mutt"…lol (part of which is also Asian). Yes, 'Asian' includes everything (technically) from Turkey, to Central Asia (Uzbek, Chechen, Kazakh, etc.) to Siberia, to the Indian subcontinent (Indians BTW tend to use the term "South-Asian" to refer to all cultures and peoples from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka), but people immediately assume Asian means what previous generations of Westerners called "the far east" (i.e. China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, etc.). The diversity of Asia is staggering, it includes all of the worlds major religions (first off) that originated in Asia, from Hinduism and Buddhism (from the Indian subcontinent) to Judaism, Islam and even Christianity (which came from Asia, not Europe, people sometimes forget), the greatest variety of languages and racial diversity is across Asia ranging from light haired to dark haired people, dark skinned to light skinned, short to tall, lean to heavier builds, etc.. Stereotypes are interesting, it really says more about the people who have them that the ones they are about. That said, people DO 'borrow' or 'steal' from one another, it's not just Euro-Americans or 'Westerners' or "white people". The most remote cultures and tribes in the world also 'appropriate' or use things from other cultures, near and far, it's just a human thing, but the difference is, they recognize it as a "foreign influence", but then over time, even tribal cultures learn to "own it", but that does take generations. North American culture has already sort of done that with foods such as burritos, to pizza, hot dogs, egg rolls, bagels, etc.. They all have a cultural origin, some are more complicated to find, others are more obvious to many people. (i.e. burritos are not really Mexican, they are made in the US to suit American lifestyle, same as with 'nachos', or "fortune cookies" by Chinese in the US). There are somethings we just do to suit our personal taste while trying to keep some of the traditional flavor behind it in recipes. Case in point, I was given a lot of big 'injera' bread by a good Eritrean friend and I can't really do much with it outside of Ethiopian and Eritrean recipes…. so I have tried to find some suitable stuff, and some of the recipes are a bit complex time consuming for a person like me, and others are relatively easy…. I am 'adapting'. I got a package of "Jodhpur lentils" to eat with the injera and there are similar recipes they have in Eritrea and Ethiopia with lentils (same ingredients more or less), but I will be making an authentic Ethiopian recipe with it called "tikil gomen" (potatoes and cabbage basically). Would I serve it to my Eritrean friend if she came over and say it's Eritrean/ Ethiopian? Maybe not….lol, but I will say "it seemed similar or close enough, what do you think?" That's my take…..be 'respectful' just means, "don't make assumptions about something you really don't have any direct experience of personally, own up and be honest". sorry for the long winded comment but that's my two-centavos. lol

  13. this is why i love diversity in the vegan movement though because we need more people from different backgrounds speaking out about this. i think it's pretty fucked when a white person publishes a dish from another culture because 1) you know half the time that shit is not accurate and 2) if it is accurate, they don't source any of their information and none of the credit goes to the people who originally created the dish.

  14. literally go off I say this all the time I hate when my other white friends are like "I love chinese food!" just bc they eat americanized (really just white people) version of sesame chicken. Idk it's weird to me my race takes from other people's culture all the time yet can't take the time to properly educate themselves on said culture.

  15. I know I am late to this video but please watch Margaret Cho's "asian chicken salad" video, if you haven't already. It is so what you are saying! When I was younger, I waited tables in my mother's Chinese restaurant (in Texas) and this geriatric caucasian man ask for kimchee because he had eaten it in some war he was in. Then I told him he was in a Chinese restaurant not a Korean restaurant, which was followed by the strangest look of confusion. The he said, "It is all the same." GRRRRR…..

  16. yes on all your points! there is so much invisiblized power inherent in white people assigning cultures to food. so much of this is invisible because it's so normal to see things like "Asian Noodle Salad" that people don't really question what's actually going on behind these names. sometimes i can't do anything but laugh a little at just how ridiculous it is to think a continent as large as asian would have one homogenous culture or way of preparing food.. so many thoughts on food and identity!!

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