Bon Appétit Pulls Video Explaining ‘How You Should Be Eating Pho’ After Racism Outcry
Earlier this week, Bon Appétit posted a video called “This is How You Should be Eating Pho.” The video starred Tyler Akin, who owns Stock, a Southeast Asian restaurant in Philly. Akin is white, and he makes Vietnamese food. In the video, he says that you should leave hoisin and sriracha out of the soup’s broth, explaining that you should taste it first. The Internet did not take kindly to being told what they “should” be doing with their Pho.
— Manda Bear (@1MandaBear) September 8, 2016
I wonder if hipster pho restaurants spend 14 hrs on their broth like my mom does
I wonder if their broth is rich with history like hers is
— ℓιnн т. ℓє (@linhtropy) September 7, 2016
That face white people make when they send back a bowl of pho cause it doesn’t have enough pumpkin spice. pic.twitter.com/HXZBCpn96m
— The Official LLAG (@theLLAG) September 8, 2016
The video also suggested that pho is “the new ramen,” which some people saw as being disrespectful to both Japanese and Vietnamese cultures by lumping them together, when in reality they’re two entirely different noodle soups. One Facebook user wrote “cultural foods shouldn’t be a hype just because your white palette discovered it.”
Bon Appétit issues an apology on their Facebook page, and they’ve since changed the video’s title to “We’re in Love With This Pho.”
In their apology, they noted that they “never want to be a space that allows for harassing comments and threats toward chefs and restaurant owners. Ever.” Eater reported that the restaurant’s Yelp rating went down by a full star following the incident.
Cultural appropriation in food has been a conversation topic for a while now. Earlier this year, Dan Pashman did a series for his podcast called “Other People’s Food” where he tackled the subject. In one of the episodes, he interviewed Rick Bayless, one of the best Mexican food chefs in the country. Bayless is white, and he says that the question of whether it’s okay for him to make Mexican food comes up for him from time to time, and how much room there is to play with the cuisine is a big issue for him. Overall, he tries to stay as true to tradition as he can.
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