April 7, 2017

The Umami Reader: Here’s How You Shouldn’t Eat Soup Dumplings

by Sarah Han

Photo by Kayoko Akabori

– Oy vey, Time Out London got some people down in the dumps about a recent video on Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings. The video on how to eat soup dumplings was posted on Facebook on March 28 with the caption, “Love popping spots AND eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings at Dumplings Legend.” The footage mostly shows chopsticks tearing into, or squeezing ’til busting, the dumplings, wantonly emptying their soupy goodness. Many were horrified. The soup is the best part of XLB; the whole reason you get these dumplings is to savor this broth, not to fulfill some weird zit popping fetish. One commentor, Jasmine S Tan, wrote, “Watching you waste all that soup is akin to someone getting battered fish and chips and peeling the batter off, while remarking, ‘love peeling dead skin to reveal the smooth new skin within?'” Another, Kenneth Ting wrote out a step-by-step guide on eating soup dumplings, including suggested toppings and sauces. And many more were grossed out and angered that Time Out would compare popping pimples to eating a traditional Chinese food, which they found both disrespectful and disparaging to Asian culture. A couple of days afterwards, Time Out posted an apology with its tail between its legs, asking its “knowledgeable food-lovers of China and Asia to tell us what traditional delicacies we Londoners should try – and how to eat them properly.” The mea culpa didn’t quite work out; readers were quick to point out that perhaps instead of asking for help from its audience, Time Out should diversify its staff. (Just for the record, Kayoko thinks that “people should eat dumps the way they want to!”) (BBC News)

– While I’m on the topic of cringey videos that pissed a lot of people off, on Tuesday Pepsi rolled out a new ad that attempted to capitalize on the resistance movements of the day. The 2-minute and 39-second commercial, which stars Kendall Jenner, is so headshakingly clueless and absurd it’s painful. It features a multicultural cast, including an Asian guy in a slouchy beanie and a cello, a Middle Eastern photographer in a hijab, breakdancing black men, and a slew of millenials carrying Pepsi-blue “protest” signs (about joining the “Oconversation”? What?). Jenner, who has just left a photoshoot in the ad, joins the protestors, grabs a can on Pepsi, and hands it to one of the white police officers, who then smiles and causes everyone to cheer in jubilation. Wow, who knew that solving the world’s problems just took a Pepsi? Backlash against the ad quickly bubbled up, causing Pepsi to apologize and fold the whole campaign. I’m trying to imagine the pitch meeting for this commercial, and I have a feeling it went something like this (but in real life).  (New York Times)

Whatever happened to pizza at McDonald’s? (Atlas Obscura)

– Growing up, my mom would point out traditional Korean dishes that were eaten for certain reasons or at particular times. Miyeok guk, or seaweed soup, for instance, is a birthday dish. Its ties to the annual celebration isn’t just ceremonial, but for health reasons. New moms are given this soup after childbirth because it’s full of vitamins and minerals, calcium, can help with the production of breast milk, and may speed up post-partum recovery time. No surprise, Koreans aren’t the only Asians with traditional recipes to help moms recover from childbirth; the Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Cambodian, and Filipino cultures all have their own post-partum dishes too. And now, there’s a cookbook sharing these nutritious and comforting dishes for new mamas from these six Asian cultures. From Mothers to Mother: A Collection of Traditional Asian Postpartum Recipes, originated from a UC Berkeley class on Asian American and Pacific Islander community health. It will be released in April. (NPR)

Photo via Bakesale Betty FB page

– Starting in 2019, waiting in a line spanning down Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland will not be the only way to get your Bakesale Betty’s fix. By then, you’ll also be able to wait in a line at the new Warriors Chase Center arena in San Francisco to get the best fried chicken sandwich around. SFGate revealed this week that Bakesale Betty, along with Tacolicious, Sam’s Chowder House, Hot Dog Bill’s, and a new restaurant associated with Big Nate’s BBQ, will make up the locally-made concessions available at the new Warriors arena. This is good news for anyone who’s eaten at Warriors games and been less than satisfied with the less-than-stellar, but very pricey food offerings. And, if you are a fan of those nachos and hot dogs, don’t worry, they’ll still be available at the new Mission Bay arena. (SFGate)

Bon Appetit has a guide for Where to Eat in Kyoto, which includes suggestions for where to get tonkatsu, sake, matcha, yakitori, kaiseki, and more. (Bon Appetit)


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

 

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