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Dubious GastronomyThe Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA$
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Robert Ji-Song Ku

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839215

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839215.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Dubious Gastronomy

Robert Ji-Song Ku

University of Hawai'i Press

This book explores the cultural politics of eating what it calls dubious Asian foods in the United States. Using a wide range of narrative strategies, it considers how dubious Asian foods are manifested, consumed, discussed, and contested in the United States. Six specific edible subjects, each of which is strongly associated with Asians and Asian Americans, are examined: the California roll, take-out Chinese food, monosodium glutamate (MSG), dogmeat, factory-made American kimchi, and the canned meat product called SPAM. The book challenges the absolutism of authentic Asian gastronomy and argues that authenticity is both an illusion and a trap. It suggests that the ambivalence over eating Asian in the United States is emblematic of a general tendency, and a considerable irony, in American immigrant history.

Keywords:   cultural politics, dubious Asian foods, Asians, Asian Americans, California roll, dogmeat, kimchi, SPAM, Asian gastronomy, authenticity

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