Thus, Crab Rangoon is an authentic cuisine... of the American Chinese immigrant culture. As in, it was invented by "American Chinese" people—a particular people—and they can claim it as part of their (rather new-ish) cultural heritage.
As long as you make this distinction, the argument over whether something "is" authentic goes away. Everything is authentic. The question becomes: what is this-or-that food an authentic example of?
Yes, the problem being that I have never heard someone accuse a food of being inauthentic without sounding like they are desperately trying to sound cultured or cool or high status.
Maybe I was cultured to begin with! :D
There is a point when food attributed to a culture but not invented by it gains authenticity - when the culture that it is attributed to adopts it. A few examples:
- Tikka Masala (British)
- Burrito (California)
- Siracha Sauce (California)
- Pepperoni (New York?). But, we're still waiting on Italians on this one.
Quoting the Diccionario de Mexicanismos, which says "burrito" is a term from Guanajuato state:
Tortilla arrollada, con carne u otra cosa dentro, que en Yucatán llaman cozito, y en Cuernavaca y en Méjico, taco
(rolled tortilla, with meat or something else inside; in Yucatán called "cozito", and in Cuernavaca and Méjico "taco")
For example, Kogi is not authentic but does an amazing and non snobby approach to fusion of korean and mexican food.
Meanwhile Boba Guys is also not authentic, but they rub many asian americans the wrong way because of their branding. the lack of drink customizations and strong handedness to "we do tea the RIGHT WAY and CLEAN WAY" plus a history of putting down mom and pop boba shops as "dirty" is the wrong approach. but ofc they attract many white people and thus many asian americans that seek validation by mainstream
This sounds very harsh and it almost sounds like you’re projecting here. I’m speaking as an AA who 1. Loves boba and 2. Cares about the quality of ingredients in their food. I don’t go eat out to “seek validation by mainstream” but I do care about the ingredients in my drinks.
Boba guys uses high quality ingredients and even sources their own boba and tea using their sister companies (unsure of the exact corporate structure), which is why many people enjoy going there despite the lines. This is in comparison to some boba shops that just use various powdered drinks and who knows what for their boba. I don’t go there as a way to white worship, which is what you’re insinuating here.
> powdered drinks
What tea shop uses powder? I honestly have not experienced one. Even places that boba guys likes to look down upon like Quickly's (an honest logistical marvel: 2 immigrants that know no english serves 300 menu items) don't use "powder". At the worst they use fructose while boba guys itself uses (they use a mix of brown and white sugar to make their syrups). is that really that much of a difference? especially when boba guys oversteeps there tea and warns people against getting 0-25% sugar?
I'm not insinuating it's "white worship".
1. you are a 16 year old AA not in the SGV and you and your AA friends manage to find a boba place to hang out.
2. it's hard to offer this experience to your non AA friends as they would never go there because it's "dirty" and most importantly unknown. and so your network is smaller, your experience more alien
3. this makes boba guys so easy to go to now and then mention to your white friends, who love it because it's an aesthetic they know and a marketing copy their moms can get behind.
This is not a priori the wrong way to approach this problem. However, when this leads to claiming only your way is right and perpetuating racist stereotypes that if a boba shop does not LOOK clean, it must NOT BE clean.
INSTEAD what boba guys needs to do is be honest (rather than perpetuate untruths about other boba places). do everything to get your nut, but not at the direct expense of others.
These are an aside, but Andrew Chau has a history of making cringy semi-racist statements in addition to lying about their sources of funding and their margins.
In the South Bay I have never heard of anybody, white or otherwise, judging boba tea places by anything else other than drink quality/taste. The #1 complaint I have heard is places not taking Credit Cards for < $6 orders.
However, I have heard some people question what the boba is made out of, but that never stopped them from enjoying their drink.
Saying that white mom's will trust boba guys over other places just seems silly. Pretty much all these places are equivalent to coffee shops and are pretty tame to allow a teenager to go to. Maybe I live in a bubble, but the racial overtones is completely lost on me.
Then there's the flavoring powder. For instance, most places use powders like "taro" powder, although Plentea is a notable exception for having real taro based drinks. I do agree with you that not a single place use tea-based powder but again, this isn't what people are referring to when they mention this dislike for powder in their boba drinks.
I don't understand why you're associating "dirty" boba shops with racism. AFAIK Boba Guys is confounded by two Asians and has mostly Asian clientele AND is run by a diverse but largely Asian group at every store. It also happens to be clean and shows off the fact that it's clean. Please tell me how this is racist (presumably against Asians)? It looks like you're associating "dirty" shops with immigrants (won't get into how that's wrong of you as I'm already writing an essay).
> this leads to claiming only your way is right and perpetuating racist stereotypes that if a boba shop does not LOOK clean, it must NOT BE clean.
You're putting an undue burden on consumers. If a sushi restaurant smells like rotten fish, I shouldn't have to go in there, order some fish, taste said fish, and THEN determine if it's in fact rotten or not. I can just not go and frequent other restaurants that do not have that smell. Same goes for other establishments like boba shops!
I have no context regarding this Andrew Chau person but I'm assuming he's 1) one of the co-founders of Boba Guys and 2) potentially mislead his investors?
Overall, I think you harbor some resentment over Boba Guys being 1. white friendly and 2. contesting market share from immigrant-run stores which may or may not be dirty. I have no problem with the first point and neither should you. Regarding the latter, isn't the solution for these stores just to clean up their place and improve on marketing? What do you expect? Stores like Boba Guys to turn down the marketing? I just don't understand your rationale here.
One example of this is "Babi Pangang"
Delicious, that's what it is.
I told him to trust me and just try a bite. He ended up eating most of them and now every-time we go out to Chinese, he orders them.
I've discovered as I've gotten older. It is not so much that I don't like foods, as I don't like ways of preparing it. For example I don't like cooked fish, but I love sushi. Seriously I can go to a sushi restaurant and spent $150 by myself. Something about cooking fish gives it a different taste that I don't like.
Another interesting tidbit, from watching the General Tso's documentary, is that the Missouri family that invented Cashew Chicken still adamantly claims that McDonald's took their fried chicken chunks recipe to make their now famous McNuggets.