August 26, 2016

The Umami Reader: David Bowie’s 1980 Sake Commercial Is Creepy and Awesome

by Sarah Han

– Here’s one from the archives: Did you know David Bowie appeared in a Japanese sake commercial in 1980. The ad was for Crystal Jun Rock shochu and featured a snippet of his haunting instrumental synth track, “Crystal Japan” and some intense eye contact from the Space Oddity. Oh David Bowie, we miss you!  (Dangerous Minds)

– Prison ramen is just as gnarly as it sounds: A new study says that ramen noodles are the most popular currency in U.S. prisons, surpassing even cigarettes and tobacco products! “I’ve seen fights over ramen,” one inmate said. “People get killed over soup.” (The Guardian, via @tmonkey)

– Speaking of ramen… NBC Asian America – yes, there’s such a thing (Who knew?!) is running an Asian Food Smackdown – a bracket competition pitting popular Asian snacks like ramen, Pocky, Shrimp Chips, and dried squid against each other to find the penultimate Asian snack food. Round 3 ends today; round 4 starts on Monday, Aug. 29, so go vote! (NBC Asian America)

– This week, Luke Tsai at the East Bay Express tackles the tricky topic of cultural appropriation in the culinary world. Tsai gives an even-handed report, featuring notable restaurateurs including Russ Moore & Allison Hopelain (Camino and the upcoming Kebabery), Preeti Mistry (Juhu Beach Club), and Jay Porter (Half Orange, Salsipuedes [RIP]), who give their take on cooking other people’s food. (East Bay Express)

– Finally, ICYMI: “Dinner, Disrupted” is a must-read NYT piece on how the tech boom has drastically affected Bay Area dining. (New York Times)


The Umami Reader: Mining the internet for stuff about food worth reading and watching

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