Food & Cultural Appropriation

Shing Yin Khor's comic Just Eat It captures the phenomenon of eating, travelling and the fetishisation of 'authentic' cuisines. The comic describes Khor's own Asian authenticity as messy, inglorious, and complicated. "We're a people," she writes, "not a cuisine. Do not deny us our own diversity." The struggle for pre-Western, pre-colonial experiences through food reduces "centuries of history down to a plate." But now that plate is changing, through transitions of development and globalisation, Khor challenges what is 'authentically' Asian cuisine? 

The final panel of Khor's comic implores her friend to stop thinking. His 'us and them' attitude perpetuates the 'otherness' of her culture. This way of thinking, which can be so ingrained in Western language and attitudes, can be redesigned through the adoption of an intercultural understanding, not through cultural fetishism or the spectacle of tourism. 

Khor's comic encourages us all, no matter where in the world we might be, to choose language with consciousness, or else don't speak at all–just eat.

Paula Hardie