Here’s Steve Lee singing about some Asian stereotypes in “Say Herro”. It’s pretty funny. His ingeniously titled album, “Dirty South Korea” is available on iTunes.
This New York Times Article about the origins of cashew chicken raises a number of intriguing questions about the popularization of Chinese food, immigration, “Americanness”, and authenticity. My first reaction to a dish like cashew chicken is to say that it’s not Real Chinese Food, but instead something that’s created for American tastebuds. Unlike zhongzi, xiaolong bao, and ma po tofu, cashew chicken, in my mind, lacks authenticity. Maybe dishes like this and sauces like Sriracha are more American than they are Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese. While it’s easy to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic, it’s much more difficult to define the terms of authenticity. How would you define authenticity in relation to ethnic or ethnic-style foods?
Whether it’s the Victorian Era, the “Old South”, or the more recent 1950s, the romanticization of the past has always made me uncomfortable. The process of romanticization erases social problems and inequalities to create an idealized image of a world that presumably no longer exists. This recent post on Racialicious touches on the root of my discomfort: