Opinion: Why Ethnic Food Shouldn’t Be Called A Food Trend

It’s 2017 and the world is as ‘woke’ as it’s ever been. Or is it? A couple of months ago Antony Bourdain announced the latest “food trend”. You can imagine my shock when I discovered that it was Filipino food. While I’m not usually a fan of food trends in general, taking ‘ethnic food’ (food which hasn’t been discovered by white people) and declaring it the next big thing is ludicrous.

In my mind, a food trend is using matcha or ube in a dish, not taking a dish that has previously existed in another country, perhaps for hundreds of years, and dubbing it a food trend just because perhaps certain parts of the world haven’t been exposed to it yet. It would kind of be like us calling Mac and Cheese the latest food trend here in India just because a majority of us have never had it before (also, it’s vegetarian).

Take the case of Ramen, it was already massively popular in Japan and Southeast Asian countries. However, it shot to fame after a few reviews by celebrity food critics and it’s been on the map ever since. In fact, Ramen is pretty easily available here in India after getting the go ahead from Western media.

The problem is that oftentimes the ethnic community rarely benefits from the financial influx that the trending food may bring. Celeb chefs and popular food critics are the ones bankrolled to further the ‘newly discovered food trend’ (aka ethnic food) nevermind that it isn’t something new at all.

Give me all the unicorn and activated charcoal food trends in the world, but how about we don’t classify other cultures’ regular food habits as ‘food trends’ instead?



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