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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.224) Conclusion
Dubious Gastronomy

Robert Ji-Song Ku

University of Hawai'i Press

This book concludes by emphasizing that even the most ostensibly authentic foods such as sushi, kimchi, and dogmeat are and have always been products of fusion, adaptation, experimentation, and globalization. It cites the dish called “Grilled Harissa Glazed New Zealand Lamb Rack with Coconut Raita,” created by celebrity chef Ming Tsai and offered at his “Asian fusion” restaurant Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It shows that Tsai's edible creations are discursively if not spiritually linked to California roll, Chinese take-out, kimchi, dogmeat, MSG, and SPAM. It describes Tsai's recipes as examples of dubious Asian foods and suggests that, as a leading culinary innovator of “Asian fusion cuisine,” Tsai relies on imagination and improvisation rather than rhetorical acuity of authenticity to impress the crowd. Blue Ginger restaurant's dubious but delectable menu items epitomize successful global gastronomic amalgamation, rather than “just right,” “harmonious,” or “successful East-West cooking”.

Keywords:   authentic foods, sushi, kimchi, Ming Tsai, California roll, MSG, SPAM, Asian food, Asian fusion cuisine, authenticity

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