With the holiday season upon us, and namely, Thanksgiving right around the corner, I felt this would be the perfect time of the year to take a moment and reflect on things I am thankful for. Such as Taco Tuesdays, Macho Man Randy Savage (R.I.P), and Asian food I would be thankful to never hear about from non-Asian people EVER AGAIN. Ok, this may be a bit extreme, but please non-Asian people please STOP TELLING ME ABOUT THESE ASIAN FOODS!
You see, I have noticed an alarmingly weird trend over the past few years: the rapidly growing appropriation of Asian foods by non-Asian people in the most snobbish, elitist, foodie, “I love the smell of my own farts” hipster manner. What makes it even more particularly galling is that these farts mind you, are being powered by our foods! I am just sick of non-Asian people lecturing me about Asian, or even worse, “oriental”, “new”, or “exotic” foods they have recently “discovered.” And what if any numerous benefits I NEED to implement into my dietary habits.
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Now look before I get a bunch of hate comments about how I am hypocritically being an elitist foodie myself by making such claims, that culture and its food cannot be privatized or appropriated, or hell that I’m even being racist, hear me out. Look I get; it’s just food. I am all for people discovering new things, or even new things to them at least, and having it make a positive impact on their life. In fact I encourage it, and as an Asian American, I welcome better understanding and acceptance of Asian culture into American life. Let’s not get that part twisted. But can non-Asian people please stop being so annoying about it?
What I don’t like is what most people generally despise about smarmy foodies and overzealous diet trend jumpers as well. This is the same feeling you get when someone mentions Paleo, gluten free, Veganism, and a number of theoretically benign and helpful ideas in a condescending and patronizing manner. It just confuses me that the same foods that I, along with Asian American kids across this nation were ostracized for and blackballed in the lunch room for, are now suddenly en vogue. Making matters worse, these foods are often price gouged and preached about ad nauseam as the second gastronomical coming of Jesus.
It’s bad enough they appropriated our words for terrible tattoos, now they are taking our foods! And if you are what you eat, apparently I know a lot of people consuming copious amounts of douche bags. Anyway here are the top five foods I am sick of non- Asian people telling me about.
Also please keep in mind this is a rather tongue in cheek facetious personal observation. Kind of…so bare with me during this Andy Rooney style rant..
- YAKULT/ PROBIOTIC DRINKS
This one is admittedly a bit of a new comer to my ongoing battle, but this fringe item makes my list simply because of the price gouging that this once common Asian grocery item seems to be having. Now like I said before, I am all for the sharing of cultures through food, but not when the cost is exploiting the consumer! Probiotic yogurt drinks and their digestive boosting properties are not exclusive to Asian cultures per se. In fact the Japanese brand Yakult, the Coca Cola of probiotic yogurt drinks, is not only huge in Asian markets like Japan and Taiwan, but Latin American countries like Brazil and Mexico, the latter being one of Yakult’s largest markets. Greek Yogurt is another prime example of well established probiotics becoming more popular in mainstream culture. But similar to the rise of the Greek yogurt craze, the extolling of the vast benefits of probiotics drinks is getting pricey. Yakult and similar probiotic Asian drinks are being assimilated into mainstream non-Asian grocery stores which is good, but for much higher prices than in traditional Asian grocery stores, which of course sucks. Thanks a lot Jamie Lee Curtis and your goons at Activia!
Case in point, these little bottles of Yakult, or simply known to me in Chinese as Yong Le Duo, were the saving grace of going to the busy Asian grocery store on the weekends with my mom. After spending what seemed like an eternity shuffling around the dimly lit store, rummaging through questionable Asian produce, and playing master and commander with the open containers of live crabs, my patience would be rewarded with five beautiful bottles of ambrosia. All for the price of $1. One fucking dollar. Now given, what with inflation and all, I expect some price fluctuations, god I miss Clinton, but that’s beside the point.
Although you can now find it at places like Wal-Mart, it is at least $2.98, or even more expensive. At least three times what it used to be! It seems now that as it is more readily available and popular in the non-Asian community; our precious Yakult is getting gentrified in a sense. And if you take into account the other “premium” brand probiotic drinks out there and their higher prices, you can’t help but wonder how long this drink can last at an affordable price before Yakult jacks up its price to cash in on this emerging market of hipsters, yuppies, and trust fund millennials obsessed with keeping their colons clean. Oh their bowels movements will be superbly regular, but at what cost to the Asian community?!
Maybe I am just waxing nostalgia over a glorified and romantic take on a “simple” time in my life. Who knows maybe Yakult wasn’t as cheap as I remember, I definitely could be wrong, but I do know this. There was a time I could use a $5 bill, buy a quintet of Yakults, a pack of Big League Chew, a monster sized Slim Jim, AND STILL HAVE ENOUGH CHANGE FOR A FEW ROUNDS OF Revolution X at the local ShowBiz Pizza. Sigh, now it’s a Chuck E. Cheese and the Rock-afire Explosion hardly plays around these parts no more.
Plus I didn’t have non-Asian people telling me how good it is for their bowel movements. I just had non-Asian people saying it looked like I was drinking semen when I was drinking Calpis.