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Hong Kong Food Critic Said He Wishes Hotpot Would Vanish from the World

From The Guardian . . . . . . . . .

A famous Hong Kong restaurant critic and TV personality known as the “Food God” has found himself in hot water – or a steaming vat of hot broth – after criticising the much beloved dish Chinese hotpot.

Chua Lam, a critic who is also the author of several cook books, made the comments during an appearance on the Chinese talk show Day Day Up.

He was asked by one of the hosts what dish he would like to see vanish from the world and said: “hotpot”.

“Because hotpot is a cooking method totally lacking cultural significance. You just throw some ingredients into a pot. I don’t get what’s delicious about it,” he said. “If hotpot fandom continues to grow, you’ll see fewer and fewer chefs in the years to come.”

Hotpot is a popular Chinese dish that is eaten communally, with people putting raw meat, vegetables and noodles into a shared pot of hot seasoned broth. Eating hotpot is often a social occasion, with groups gathering around and eating from the same pot.

Chua’s comments about the beloved dish prompted shocked reactions among the other panellists, one of whom exclaimed: “Many people love hotpot!”

Responding on Chinese social media, many viewers were outraged by the attack on the dish. One said: “Chinese hotpot has an abundance of cultural significance, from its broth to the order that you put ingredients into various sauces. Trashing hotpot exposed your ignorance and your inability to discover cultural details in things.”

Another suggested that Chua had “never had a good hotpot. I feel sorry for him.”

Hotpot was the subject of controversy earlier in the week when Australian metalcore guitarist and vegan advocate Jona Weinhofen tweeted a picture of hotpot saying “Meat eaters be like ‘vegan food looks and tastes gross.’ And then eat something that looks like leftover dishwater.”

Weinhofen’s tweet was criticised for its cultural insensitivity and for not acknowledging that hotpot can be made from entirely vegan ingredients; and for being classist, as hotpot developed as a way for working-class people to make their supply of meat and vegetables stretch further.

Jeff Yang, an American columnist, wrote that Weinhofen’s comment was an example of “neocolonialist” beliefs about food.

“Can we talk about white veganism for a second? The kind espoused by folks like Jona here, who begins his Twitter bio with the Sanskrit word for ‘non-violence’ but then craps on Asian cultural expressions in order to advance his neocolonial beliefs?” he wrote.

Source: SCMP

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