Sunday, 26 August 2012

Exploring China A Culinary Adventure

In a four-part BBC Two Series - 'Exploring China A Culinary Adventure,' Ken Hom and Ching He Huang rendezvous across China on a R&D mission to discover if there are any 'authentic' Chinese dishes that they haven't yet appropriated for their corporate culinary empires in the west. Its an easy task for Mandarin speaking charm school graduate Ching He Huang as she entices the local Mainland Chinese to open up their kitchens for the cameras - unaware these two corporate goons will purloin their secrets to shore up their already bulging balance sheets.

The programme's hidden word is authenticity, only an authentic Chinese chef can provide an insight into authentic Chinese cuisine, but who could be less authentic than South African raised Ching He Huang, who arrived in Britain at the age of 11, she makes a remarkable admission in the programme that as a teenager Chinese culture was so unappealing that she wanted to dye her hair to blend in with her White peers, it was her mothers love of Chinese food that reconnected her to her Chinese heritage. Ching hasn't quite shed her white fever, her partner is blanched Eurasian Jamie Cho, clearly Ching likes a bit of White in her as a reminder of the good old days. 

In previous cooking shows, Ching He Huang Chinese Food in Minutes and Chinese Food Made Easy, her trademark is an irresistible compulsion to crunch wise old Grandma tales of Chinese emperors and their concubines into her exoticised dishes, titillating the White audiences taste buds for the mystical orient.

Ching He Huang's incurable oriental proverbial tourettes overpowers her..."Don't waste rice, each grain of rice is like a bead of sweat." She should save some lines for her next series - 'Chinese Folklore Made Easy.' 

And Uncle Ken's homecoming? Throughout the series Ken Hom has looked overwhelmed by the whole mainland Chinese experience, its almost a quarter of a century since he last visited the mainland, he has lost touch with China and looks awkward relying on Ching to translate Mandarin to English, rumour has it that Ken's highly secretive long term unmarried partner of 37 years is in fact a gay man, maybe a presenter and locality swap replacing Ching He Huang with Gok Wan, China with Thailand, would be more appropriate. Gok Wan and Ken Hom Gayventuring, man-flirting their way across Thailand reporting on the culinary skills of Pattaya ladyboys would be a ratings thriller.

Overlooking the overplayed dung-dung-ding-a-ling-ling music and the unnecessary use of English subtitles for the 'broken Engrish' speaking chef, Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure reminds me of 'Gorillas In The Mist,' Ching and Ken are primatologists from the west exploring creatures that are genetically similar to themselves lurking in the jungles and villages of the orient, only to find these feral creatures and their cultures similar, endearing and human, if you could stir fry the National Geographic Channel into a wok, this programme would be the outcome.

(Exploring China A Culinary Adventure Review by BBCZeitgeist)

Exploring China A Culinary Adventure Episode 3 - Sunday 18th August, BBC2, 8pm

Watch BBC iPlayer - Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure Episode 1 - Click HERE
Watch BBC iPlayer - Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure Episode 2 - Click HERE


  1. these cooking programmes dont inspire chinese people to cook different kinds of chinese food.

    1. They may inspire overseas Chinese to visit the more unusual tourist hotspots in china or inspire them to try (as in go to restaraunt) different kinds of Chinese regional foods, but I'm not convinced these programmes inspire Chinese to cook these recipes themselves. Cantonese families have set types of dishes that they constantly eat, not convinced Cantonese will start eating a northern Chinese diet for example.

  2. Haha comedy gold review! Gourmet oriental cuisine for white city folk snobs!

    Oh! How exotic!

    I hate these two sellout freaks. Will decimate the episodes later, see what others have to say first, Ching He Huang has such a shit-eating grin makes me want to punch her face repeatedly like a speedbag

    1. Happybritishchinese, that's not very nice. We can't go on hating and even blaming every single ethnic Chinese for not turning down a TV role. It's not really the fault of Ching He Huang that she has not lived the best part of her life in China to make her the 'real' authourity on Chinese cuisines.

      Is it not true that there is very little progression for Chinese cookery programmes? And that Ken Hom who must be at least 100 years old by now, and still wheeled out as the face of cookery extraordinare? Truth is, I would not relate to a programme like this because it's not aimed for me, but for the mass.

      Exoticism sells. Is that a sell-out? What makes someone not a sell-out? Seems like a very slim criteria to me. How true can Chinese living abroad be to themselves when they have been employed as some spokesperson for Chinese food, and they politely say no when they have already had a few cookery shows under their belts. SF.

    2. 'How can they politely say no' . haha. Easy, just say 'no'!

      It's because of bourgoisis play-cantonese defending Nigella Lawson worshipping BBC females like yourself that the highest point of British Chinese culture is a string of Chinese Grocery supermarkets and probably will be in 1000 years time thanks to these complying foodie-holic pop idols

      British Chinese media representation is negligable and of what we do have is either Eurasian or Exotic foodie and you actually defend both. Unbelievable.

    3. Happybritishchinese, there is no question about it, BBC representation zero, but is it really the fault of Ken Homs and Ching He Huangs of this world? I fear you are shooting the wrong people here.

      When both say no, there will be a line of entries that will say yes. The problem is not the two, but with the media luvvies that sit at the top and cater for themselves. As you have said before, BBCs have to make that start, not some middle class high-brow cultured type.

      I defend anyone who is subjected to or threat of violence which is what you are promoting. And before you assume I'm some faint-hearted leftist liberal, there are some things that is above race that is plain wrong, and that is threat of violence, even done in the way you have done so, because it means you are promoting a culture of hatred, based on simply someone smiling. Something I will never do, because it's no different to how some white men assume Chinese women to be submissive and easy, so take advantage and assume they can take abuse and sexual abuse.

      I really want to know what it is you or BBCZeitgeist want. It's seems, whatever is done cannot be done correctly. Do you want Chinese Naked Chef? Cheeky Chappy BBC bloke man-handling a duck breast and winking at the cameras? Because from what I've seen so far is just white mass culture on yellow skin at the moment. Is that/would that be the new BBC culture you are talking about all the time? SF.

    4. If I think Ching He Huang has a smarmy shit-eating grin, thats my opinion. If you make a joke about Ken Hom being 100 years old should I attack you for being ageist?

      And you are grasping at straws for an argument when you take a random comment and start comparing it to sexual abuse.

      Ching He Huang and Ken Hom are TOOLS. They do not represent Chinese interest. For all their tastebud tickling antics, they represent only themselves. As the review says 'Corporate Goons' - guess you conveniently overlooked that phrase?

      Is it any wonder that all BBCs and FOBS know is disinterest when the only representation we have are these self serving orientalist lapdogs and all the yellow earth shite and gok mercenary self-serving eurasian wan?

      If all you want is a middleground protect Gok Wan, Celeb Chefs and all that is shit with British Chinese representation, then by protecting these fools, you are part of the problem of perpetuating a banal culture.

      And you are attacking my approach to commenting? Did I touch a nerve?

      If anything your attitude right now is coming across like a white middle class snob who thinks the Chinese should 'play their role' like the well behaved minority they are.

      British Chinese identity is like a form of identity slavery, as I've said once before we still havent graduated from the first shoe-shining servant that represented the very first British Chinese on these shores.

      THATS what your average white brit think of us. Maybe you do too.

    5. Happybritishchinese, you have not touched a nerve rather got on my nerves when you insinuate anyone who's of Chinese origin and even-so enjoys Nigella Lawson's shows are somehow losing it and in desperate need of rescue therapy. We are all different.

      So whilst you make fun of the 'cake baking brigade' I cringe at your choice of words to describe your annoyance of someone's (is that sincere or insincere) smile/grin. So I repeat, we are different, and different is not a negative for BBCs or FOBs.

      You are maybe masking that with a more grander and elaborate attempt to say that all Chinese who are polite and patient must be white worshipping. Well, you are wrong if you believe that. I need not rebel from the way my parents brought me up to be hard working and polite. Why do I need to be radical and aggressive? It's just not me. If that is you, then good for you, that's your style, but it's not me.

      I certainly wouldn't be shooting the presenters, but the backers and the people who put it together.

      The exoticism the author states seems harmful to a degree, but is so wrong to say some old tales for a cookery programme? They are presenting food, and yes, it's not aimed for us. In this sense, we are not invisible here. We can judge from the side, and that's it. Invisible is when they send two white presenters to China.

      I think you should get to the point. What's missing is a BBC presenting it?? Perhaps we cannot all relate to Hom and Ching He Huang.

      As for all this protecting, I would not say protect but pointing out to you I don't think it's as simple as one by one, each Chinese TV chef saying no. The point is not saying no, but the fact that there is no BBC presenting cookery shows. If not, we should be asking why. Is it because of our choice of careers or is it the media trying to seek a type of person maybe

      Again, I stick by my original views. Gok Wan and his cookery show did more for me than any other Chinese cookery show. He promoted all the large Chinese retailers, brought the cameras to specialist locations in Britain to gain knowledge of street food and rare style dumplings. This is promoting local Chinese business. He also spends time to incorporate his father's signature dish which whether you choose to say that Channel 4 used him and his father might be another topic altogether.

      Finally, your last paragraph is tragic. I have to disagree to some extent. Not slavery, but being weary around the Chinese. Because the Brits never officially conquered us, there's this middle ground which allows some to be less sympathetic to our situation. You only have to see how black people and Indian people are treated to see that even today, it's compensation time. Something the Chinese seems to be excluded from.

      However, take away all the guilt, I believe that Brits will look down on black and Indian people more. With the Chinese, they tend to be frustrated with the quick rise in China's dominance, which is why Taiwan, South Korea and even Tibet can be utilised at all costs.

      I will give this blog a rest for now because it seems that being overly self-critical like this article makes you realise that we more interested in attacking ethnics who are apparently sell-outs, when to my mind, it's the real 'clutching at straws' topic. SF.

    6. Theres a book accompanying the series, more money in the coffers.

      Well, Ching He Huang is almost a BBC. I don't think most BBCs have the Chinese culinary skills nor knowledge to make Chinese cookery programmes, aren't most BBCs trying to be designers accountants and lawyers indulging in cordon bleu cuisine these days?

    7. To what extent do you think Chinese cooking programmes or cooking Chinese food help 'westernised Chinese' people reaffirm their Chineseness / Chinese heritage?

    8. BBCZeitgeist, is the question to me? If so, seems you are sort of answering your own question there. If there is lack of BBCs tossing a wok about, then it isn't all that abnormal that the two mentioned are filling the slots.

      Ask yourself this. In your article, you make a mention of "South African born" like this makes her less equipped to be the authority on Chineseness. Isn't that a little hypocritical? Does that mean all BBCs are not the authority to go to China and seek further tips and advice there? And if anything, are we not worthy of being Chinese?

      As I said, the show was not aimed at us. It was for the mass. We tend to watch on with interest and also see what's been said. With Gok Wan, I stumbled upon his show by accident.

      I don't think a Chinese cookery show will be 'helping' so-called westernised Chinese. Westernise Chinese need to watch their parents cook, listen to their tips. The exoticism surrounding food and the customs will come out and westernised Chinese have to pick it up from that. The stories and customs should be spoken in Chinese. Obviously, if a BBC has had this upbringing, and forgotten about it, then it must be a strange place to be. SF.

    9. what about the idea ...not sure if you've heard chinese people say this... if you dont eat Chinese food (i.e rice) you're not Chinese?

      I think these programmes inadvertently help mixed race people and westernised chinese who have married white people and deliberately moved as far away from their chinese parents as possible...these programmes and books teach them how to cook chinese food since theyre not going to learn it from their chinese parents.

    10. BBCZeitgeist, I agree with that which is why I firstly came here to rave about Gok Wan's cookery show to a lot of posters' dismay, which I felt was far more about his family and highly linked the culture of food and family. To many on this blog, he may not seem like the best role model, but to me, he best represented Chinese cooking. Maybe as some say, the food he promoted I recognised the most which is not what you tend to get with Ken Hom and many new-fangled chefs.

      Your opening paragraph, I can list a whole host of sayings linked to food. Is that exoticism that the western markets love and want? Or is it best shared amongst ethnic Chinese?

      See if anyone has heard of them, because I have never shared them with other BBCs, so maybe my parents made them up. Who knows.

      Where you handle your chopsticks indicate how close you are to your family. The higher up you hold it, the further apart you are. Lower down you hold it, the closer you are to them.

      It's custom to never pick/scoop food from the other side of the dish furthest away from you. Always work from your side, because that is poor manners.

      When picking food up with chopsticks, never hold it in a way that has your wrists facing downwards , because that mimicks a shovelling motion, therefore means you are turning someone's grave, which is a mark of total disrespect.

      Always clear your plate of every single grain of rice otherwise you'll end up with a spotty complexion.

      You have to tell the oldest after the parents to eat first before you can start eating yourself.

      Food is central to Chinese culture and it's true, any old excuse calls for a visit to the restaurant. SF.

  3. Hmmm, I don't see the problem with the program. Sure it's done and dusted a bazillion times before, only this time they get to go to China for a bit, but it's not like they've been making digs at their own people just to humour the white audience.

    I just think there are plenty of bigger fish to fry regarding ethnic Chinese issues. Sometimes we look a bit too hard into things that are obvious (like this, a programme about Chinese food in China by Chinese presenters), rather than more insidious forms of racism that we let slip by (e.g. a remark by a news presenter here, attitudes towards ethnic Chinese in a drama etc.) We need to concentrate on the less obvious too.

    1. for instance

      Comment by 137.

      it's one thing a reader making a racial comment (even though I'm sure he doesn't realise it's racially offensive), but another for the BBC Editor to actually approve it as a "pick"...for people of authority (esp. in media) to have such ingrained view of what is socially acceptable (e.g. chinaman is fine, nigger is not) says more about the fabric of Chinese racism than some obvious stereotypical programme.

    2. @Anonymous 21/08/2012:13:23, I wrote quite a bit about the usage of that word on the Olympic article. In there, you'll see what kind of excuses can be used by the white people who use that word. Why some can argue it's not offensive. SF.

    3. yeah,we discussed that before here...

      Chinaman is not on a par nigger, maybe negro is closer.

  4. @SF, dont you think it's tragic that a Eurasian gets to be seen to patronise the Chinese food businesses and then like a good little tool moves onto hosting a dating program?

    Like i said before, my frustration lies with lack of male BBC representation in general ( as usual). It's those behind the scenes, but also those infront of the scenes who take the bait.

    Do those same ever 'give back' to our helpless community in the form of media incentive like other communities? Or maybe refuse to comply our representation with more orientalising of food obsessed culture? No. Like i said they are self-serving tools.

    From a represntation POV instead of a male BBC being taken seriously,all we get some old gay fart and some whiteworshipping female foodie. All this probably wouldnt look so bad if we did have some male BBC representation , but just not in 'food'!

    My issue with food programs in general, is like the arse-numbing property programs, one is dumb-down conservative, then add Chinese into the mix and it becomes promoted as exotically conservative.

    Its not so much you and I are different in character its that British Chinese representation is imbalanced - there is ONLY polite and peaceful and worshipping and the golden cow is the height of our culture.

    But for some reason, you cant seem to understand representation within a broader framework. Chinese consider success as becoming their white masters/instigators, to the point of looking down on other Chinese like those in the program.

    And the fact that you cannot see the imbalance just says to me you just dont get it. For all the complaining about racism you do , by not seeing anything wrong with these programs that imbalance our representation it's no better than assuming the role of the Chinese white aspiration /light skin is better class game.

    It's not simply a 'money' thing. This show tips the scales of our representation further in the wrong direction because it cements us a bunch of docile cows.Chinese have tasty food? Really? You don't say.

    Theres a fine line between being stereotyped for what you are known for ( food), and breaking new ground in the name of representational fairness. ( not food, gardening, eurasians or women, or anything mindnumbing)

    1. "there is ONLY polite and peaceful and worshipping and the golden cow is the height of our culture." This.. I hate this so fucking much. There are some whites who think its praiseworthy that Chinese/Asians are the "quiet, never making a scene people". They think its praiseworthy that the majority of BBC/Asians never make light of racial issues, point out MSM biases, or counter stereotypes.. fuck them all.

      To them, if you make light of these controversial issues, then you're the stereotypical angry ethnic minority, if you don't, then you get labelled as what they want to see, a shy, subserviant individual. You can't fucking win with these guys.

    2. Actually, there is no fine line, it just been constructed that way by those with their 'agenda' to be so confining that we who desire to see ourselves represented only get to see ourselves reflected by distorted lies, therefore thinking we cannot see any other way out, except to comply.

    3. @Wong exactly you cant win, because we are always playing by their rules. They say jump we say how high. Its not a huge stretch for us to connect to each other and create our own representation but because we want to be 'accepted' ( read 'like whites') and chasing the carrot, this farce will never end. They set parameters for everything. Pure mind control. or TV 'programming' for the masses.

  5. One last thing before I hog this page up with comments.

    Re: my shoecleaning kowtowist analogy

    I was speaking to a FOB elder today, who I also mentioned to her about the first British Chinese who stepped on these shores - a shoecleaner. She said to me, a Chinese escaped from China's horrific social situation to come here so in that respect a 'shoecleaner' was an honour.

    I then told her, Im born here, why should i be 'honoured' to be thought of as a docile servant? She ( from FOB perspective) said because youre Chinese.

    So now add to the mix China's rising superpower, and contrast it to the docile orientailist pushing that Ken Hom and Ching He Huang represent as honorary whites, you can see how far behind we are in terms of demanding real representation.

    We are not ethnic 'minorities' unlike blacks and indians, we are uncolonised global citizens, AND we not FOB shoeshiners, AND we are media savvy therefore WE should be calling the shots, not settling for this demoralizing toothpulling piece of crap representation.

    As BBCs we should and CAN demand a LOT more for our Chinese representation.

    1. Happybritishchinese, whilst I understand your point about pointing out to other Chinese and creating awareness about their moves and what the consequences are for the future of BBCs in Britain, I personally don't think it's applicable to this cookery show.

      There will always be one or two who have made millions from this like Hom might have, but are we being too self critical when we somehow feel another "Chinese" cookery show as further holding us back? You make that point a few times, yet fail to explain what you would like to see instead.

      Wasn't it you that said on another article that Chinese should be famous for one or two things? It was about martial arts. I agreed on that. Is cookery not what you want to see?

      In order to do-away with all this mysterious oriental exotic image is to have more Chinese presence in any setting, and that's not really happening. In that sense, there are only two areas that might be causing this.

      Choice of careers that are quite detached from media presence like solicitors and accountancy. Or, the media luvvies that are selfishly catering for themselves by 'keeping' Chinese people in their places like in the kitchen. Which of the two? I'm still thinking about that.

      Regarding Wong's comments and your response, don't let the jealous media make you feel you shouldn't get vocal about any injustice. That's indoctrination. You are not imagining it, you see it, and you react to it. If you stay silent, you are accepting whatever they say and nodding with agreement, which is the main goal. SF.

    2. Happybritishchinese, whenever my father says "we're Chinese", he then makes a face. This is his (not acceptance) way of saying,that's how we are viewed in the west. Our time is not now because of the media control around the world. But not because we are some kind of sub-human. Are you sure this FOB didn't mean it that way?

      I agree that a great number of FOBs tend to be a little oblivious to politics and the games the media play to put Chinese people down.

      But, I blame part of this by this ingrained snobbishness that Hong Kong residents are somehow seen as a bit more previleged compared to mainlanders. They still live in the past pandering to their former masters even when they have long gone. It's this ignorance that has sometimes clouded their judgement and have transferred onto the next generation.

      In that sense, I'm not at all surprised to see so many BBCs merging in seemlessly with the host nation. Many of our old culture has been washed away. So even before the massive change in political system inside China, many were wearing suits and skirts already. Our own identity had been weakened for a long time, and it shows. SF.

    3. @SF Key point for me, is showing regular BBC male representation in both a normal setting but in interesting environments.

      British Chinese Male Athletes: Football - because if you're a footballer you've 'made it'. British Chinese Online forum has a monthly football meet up as I remember but whether any of the players are up to white 'standards' in order to be 'accepted', that's another matter. But i've already stated on the olympics article that we should support first by challenging and testing each other to create a BBC common denominator and create grassroots before we even think of mainstream acceptance.

      BBC teachers. Why not have a show about a BBC male public school teacher and not just English as a foreign language teachers. Although that in itself would make an interesting watch.

      Any level of students, but preferably teenagers, because the 'age bracket' of East Asian cultural acceptance is at 'teenage' level so having a BBC male teacher teaching a bunch of white teenagers would create some progression, considering most of casual racism that Chinese get is 'teenage' in it's expression.

      British Born Chinese musicians. In america, an asian american dance band called 'Far East Movement'

      Their song reached the american number one slot with their single 'like a G 6 '. Musicians are about having a successful fanbase and 'image' over music. There has to be a few BBC musician hobbyists, But as usual there's not enough BBC encouragement so their audiences and supporters are the default white eg DJing at clubs etc. Again go to the British Chinese online, and they will be discussing white bands/musicians rather than being interested in each other.

      As for my own wish-fulfillment on BBC music with substance, read here:

      Finally , Male porn actors. Is this a controversial topic for BBC's bordering on multiculturalist values? Maybe so, suffice to say that it is one way of showing male strength.

      He is a British Thai.And what better way to show BBC maledom than porn? At least it beats the trillion porn videos that as per usual east asian women getting it on with the white man.

      Another reason why white media works on us so well is because we view these programs in isolation from other chinese. if it wasn't for something like this blog to discuss the snidely sinophobic mental programming that the beeb churns out, would any of us discuss these issues with our chinese friends or family?

      You can see this on the british chinese online forum where some asks ' did anyone see this' and the answer will always be from a program point of view - completely non critical despite having racist stereotypes, because the brainwashing is so deeply ingrained in our delicate brains we seem to be are only capable of discussing trivia and work related issues, because yes, BBC's need to get an early night to wake up the next day to go to work or open the family TA and discussing anything culturally related as to seeing a Chinese face on British TV is more a casual curiouso than any shared sense of social identity, let alone social responsibility.

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    5. The jason lau video is not even worth watching, its amateurish and unchallenging - theres nothing to even discuss. I defy anyone who can through 40mins of his dull life captured on video without pressing fast forward to the end or stop watching altogether after a few mins. Of course, I can;t post what I just said on neehao, it would never get past the website's ridiculous moderation.

    6. But you did watch it all, right? I could only get through ten minutes myself, but at least he took the time to create something for us to tear into it, dull as it may be, we have to have a starting point, otherwise we'll just be going round in circles. Are we BBCs really that boring unless we are tearing apart existing examples of British Chinese culture?

    7. no, i fast forwarded it about 4 times because it was so boring. it wasnt really a display of BC culture, rather - 'this is how I live my boring life.' Maybe you are unaware, however I already know how most BBC live their lives. I would like to see challenging programming from BBCs, ive never seen anything thats really different,challenging, clever or provocative produced by BBCs.

    8. It seemed more like a vlog than anything else

    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. this reminds me of the controversy over Martin Yan who supposedly plays up his Chinese accented english in order to sound more authentic to western audiences.

    1. Chinese food does have connotations of stereotyping and pigeonholing for sure, but I guess its works for those who play upto the concepts as its a major source of income for Chinese diaspora.

    2. its like feng shui - (I personally think is b*llocks), but white people want to believe it, theres money to be made selling it to them in a mystical way- its what they want to hear. White people don't go to a Chinese restaurant to listen to western music with white waiters. they expect the waiters to be Chinese and speak Chinese, the music to be Chinese and the chefs to be 'authentic' Chinese too, its part of the 'oriental experience.'

    3. Isn't a lot of Hong Kong architectural design based on feng shui to maximise the amount of space available to worth with?

    4. Look up Feng Shui on Wikipedia - See how many different languages that article is in, then look up Sinophobia - see how many different languages that article is in. Says a lot.

    5. dont even get me started on feng shui. Its rubbish to me, along with acupuncture. I wont deny the placebo effect it can have on people, but its not something I would ever support. A few of my relatives believe in it and I do think less of them for it. What hurts more is that the practitioners they go to are all white people.

  7. ...OMG!! that's news I didn't know Ken Homo is allegedly a closet gay... It s nothing new, chinese closet gays in the entertainment business, gees i could name a few myself but respect their about ping gor faced Ching Huang, her high pitched chipmunk voice irritates me a bit sounds like she gassed herself with Helium. I waiting to see the final prog because it about them returning to their family roots so there could be some redeeming features.
    As a BBC i watch these progs with a certain detachment and not taken in by staged exoticism and the buy-the-recipebook hints at the end of each segment, my surprise is how gwei-lo/mui they are, Ken's spoken canto is funny (over respecting a brash "chef" by calling him sifu). Nor are they are not very great presenters. Kem Hom is always emotionless behind a wok or telling a yarn. The disappointing thing is it largely about promoting their catering products and services (check their websites and links), with a bit of docu thrown in.
    When I was at HK sad as it sounds I actually like some of the TVB daytime cookery prog like Leung Tai Tai, she is wholesome and real a likable authentic housewife giving motherly culinary advice, the idealised mother most BBCs never had...lets not go there LOL.

    So glad Ching decided not to over flavour her bland recipes with her own brand rice wine. Not for the first time its all about the Ker Ching ££££.

    1. Yes the final part will be interesting. I agree that the TVB cooking shows are completely different to the west. The UK shows seem to be concerned with fancy cooking, not everyday cooking, more for white people who want cook a chinese once in a blue moon for a dinner party they're hosting.

      I thought Ken was an fob, but he is actually an ABC. His accent doesnt quite sound native American either.

    2. What can I say Happybritishchinese. You are very passionate about Chinese in this country and you make time to find out what others are doing. I can't say I have though. I guess, I like to discuss topics lightly and see how they go and you prefer some pro-active approach, which if I'm honest, opening a Google account to insert my articles seems too much because I would seem bland against the likes of BBCZeitgeist and yourself.

      He feels my points are not central enough and not angry enough. It's more suited to you, and it's just not me. Plus many of the articles more or less cover the core issues that I'm looking for with regards to BBCs in this country.

      I agree that BBC men are very much excluded, and is in need of attention. You mentioned in normal setting. I take it people like Kevin Fong would be outside of normal because of his over-educated credentials? SF.

    3. @SF

      Kevin Fong

      Seems passionate about his work, which I respect. And to get where he is in a white world is commendable so yes in that respect he is outside normal. But science is, along with law, doctoring,in my opinion, another model minority tickbox. Having said that, for all I know he could have made some huge advancement on Space medicine with a bigger impact on humanity than anything to do with the arts/entertainment field and could be interesting to read the racial struggle he experienced as a BBC to get to and defend his position in the white science world.

      Sorry to hear about your article. Was quite looking forward to reading 'FOB club'.If you don't mind, send it to my email so i can offer some feedback, before you decide to trash it completely.

    4. Happybritishchinese, I will when I've started it! Catch up later next week on that one. SF.

    5. Started it? How many drafts have you done..? Okay, look forward to it.


    Heres a BBC chef, hes a michellin star chef in Hong Kong - Alvin Leung The Maverick Chef, as close as you're gonna get to a maverick modern fusion chef. He did a tv food series with Bernice Liu, now theres going to be a TV series in the UK.

    1. Unsurprising it takes a BBC to have success in HK before he can get recognised on British TV. He was raised in Canada, and sounds American.

      Heres a video of the 'Demon Chef' challenging peoples perception of food using a dog food can:

  9. Anyone interested in Asian American youth music and rapping about food:,0,311739,full.story

    Maybe we can have a British Chinese band in a music video rapping about fresh bok choi, frozen wuntun and Sir Wing Yip screaming his lungs out from the top of one of his pagodas, and Nat Wei begging us to vote for his Chinese dream. Then again, maybe not.

  10. Ching He Huang is Taiwanese regardless and makes the distinction.

  11. Anonymous 01/09/12:17:45, when you say regardless, what do you mean. Wouldn't the fault then lie with BBC and other British channels that claims she speaks for Chinese cooking and cuisines? If she is happy to allow the programme makers mark her down as the authority on all things Chinese, she must be happy to blur the boundaries of being Chinese, even if she's originally from Taiwan. Unless you feel that being Taiwanese means you are somehow separated from China. SF.

    1. I once spoke to a mainland FOB student who told me her Taiwanese classmates kept making the distinction between their Taiwaneseness and her being from the mainland, and she couldn't understand why. Probably the same reason that some Singaporeans, Hong Kongers look down on mainlanders, I suppose.

      In Ching He Huang's case, regardless of her Taiwanese pride, I don't think it bothers her that people confuse her for a mainland Chinese as long as it helps her sell a few more cookery books. And not having another dig at your best buddy, but on the topic of non-Chinese representation, didn't harm Gok either. '(mis)Representing' British Chinese in the media is up for grabs for almost anyone,these days, as long as you aren't an ethnic British Born Chinese male, a topic I'd like to examine in an upcoming article, if it ever gets published.

    2. HappyBritishChinese, I have not watched Ching He Huang's shows before, so can't say whether she cares for a distinction between Taiwanese and Chinese. But on the subject of BBCs being mis-represented, it can sometimes go back to BBC parents trying to steer their children from the media and TV. As I said before, it's seen as seedy and short-lived, therefore not a good bet for the future.

      Then there's the whole issue of absorbing all western culture and very often failing to fuse both cultures to form another culture. Without sounding too predictable, but I find that when you are not previledged, and left with very little to go on, you tend to see hidden talents form through struggle and pain.

      This is lacking in the new generation. Many BBC families are self made from the FOB generation. This then leads to the next generation merging in with the classic middle classes in this country. The new-found previlage makes them content and there is no question mark on where they are or what they stand for, since money has taken over that along with professional success.

      Do these BBCs care about mis-representation? What is mis-representation when they don't even know what they are supposed to represent in the first place. SF.

    3. Struggle and pain for many BBC'ers was already covered here:

      Whilst I agree with you that many FOB parents do not encourage BBCs to go into the arts profession, thats only part of the reason.

      RE : representation, it's honest visible ethnic racial representation, both male and female we need. Whether creativity comes from struggle and pain or not, we are still a valid ethnic group, so we ought to validate ourselves in a visible way, with a sense of Chinese pride, character, interests,personal struggles and throughout all of this be SEEN to support, share opinions, with each other. You dont need to be an artist to have an interesting life and you dont need to be an actor to have it documented and edited.

      Media, whether its through mainstream or our own, humanises and validates us as people within our own community, with struggles and dreams. Right now, because we have chosen conscious invisibility and racist social engineering has taken advantage of that

      ...we do not have enough of a shared/communual sense of racial pride or british identity. Something that Chinese, in my opinion need to be vocally proud more than ever right now.

      And no matter, how self interested or 'individual' people think they are, we are still, as has been said on this blog before, social creatures, and why you, still visit this blog, right?

      Re: self conscious 'oh i work in a takeaway and my FOB parents are boring/embarrassing' some BBCs maybe dont want to share this with others. But being proud of being Chinese and being accepted as human means validating all of that warts and all. If we only want to save face and pretend that our life is a Hello magazine, then someone is obviously deluding themselves, aren't they?

      Individuals have different struggles, families do too. Sooner we see this amongst ourselves, sooner we can learn to respect and appreciate each other and destroy the facesaving exercises.

      Finally its to visually establish ourselves as an English speaking community who communicate to our elders in Cantonese or Mandarin in varying degrees. And in seeing ourselves for that, put the blocks of social identity into place. Right now we are just anonymous voices on a blog/forum with avatars. The whole of BBC culture is too designed and timid. To be a respected ethnic group we first need to learn to understand and empathise with each other's situation, and then be able to compete with other ethnic groups in terms of racial respect.

      You really need to read this article BTW, I want to hear YOUR opinion on it.

    4. Happybritishchinese, the identity thing cannot suddenly change overnight. You are asking why there seems to be no acknowledgment of other BBCs. I don't believe black or Indians started like that. It starts because of ghettoes. Something BBCs have not been able to start.

      This failure has resulted in blogs like this and Facebook as you say. But, is it fair to say, when that happens, you realise, there is not much of a culture other than worhshipping the culture we've all been brought up in?

      I don't think BBCs deliberately ignore fellow BBCs in public places, but it is the social norm to regard everyone as the same or as equal. Whether you like that or not, it is a strong part of British culture.

      However, in schools and workplaces, fellow BBCs may bond more naturally, but then again, some don't because they prefer their white friends. Whether that is social engineering or parents that encourage further integration, it's not always clear.

      Personally, I feel that it might be a little too late for the current BBC generation because I believe bonds form through waves of similar immigrants under same circumstances. Because we are so few and far, it's more 'forced' when we do it now. And those that choose to do that now, tend to come to that later on in life realising something may have been missing in their lives of social identity. Perhaps the lack of identity for BBCs has led to searching for other familiar people. That is a little different to BBCs forming a social identity naturally over time. SF.

    5. I know identity wont happen overnight, but this blog has been around for 2 years now, to help shape our identity. As far as Im concerned, in contrast to British Chinese cake-bakers online forum, this blog is the nearest it will get to being 'ghetto' as you put it, at least in terms of thrashing out ideas. What do you mean by that word? As far as I can see, denigrating 'the man', check. Intellectual sharpening of our racial pride,check. Sharing our sense of Chineseness in relation to non-Chinese identity.

      Indians, Blacks resort to media based music and fashion, BBCs on this blogs resort to words and opinions,and online culture, that Chinese are the best, no matter what. Little rationale , maybe. But then there are many things that make sense that when questioned, really shouldnt.

      Re schools and workplaces, the bonding In my opinion is part Chinese nature. Sun Yat Sen said Chinese are like sand, we dont stick together. You can see that geographical dispersal in the UK, and even on this blog where people appear, then vanish, comment, then dont comment for a while. Theres little consistency or commitment. Social engineering just takes advantage of that which I think I hinted at above.

      Its possible that it could be about searching for familiar people, and within that, commonalities of personality, goals, and intentions, but you cant deny that Chinese identity is under threat, and however that identity manifests itself, that sense of pride will not easily leave those individuals that carry it with them. If denied in social areas, it will be expressed in other ways.For some of us, its constantly implementing and shaping that passion combined with our own unique personality it into the most effective and practical and realistic form possible.

      That in itself is forming social identity, through self expression, sharing ones intentions and ideas with others.Giving freely and expecting nothing in return. At that level, is where identity and culture are at its highest influence, regardless of its 'real' impact.

  12. Happybritishchinese, when I say ghetto, it's exactly as it is, communities of similar people from same backgrounds living closely in the same area. As you say, we are scattered all over, therefore unable to form strong social identities.

    Identities form when huge waves of immigrants live through similar experiences. As far I see it, there hasn't been that kind of thing for Chinese people. We're arriving in sporadically. And when arriving, do not find any form of a "Chinese" quarter as such, therefore further dispersing the next wave.

    I can't speak for others, but can't always post every day but do try to look in to see anything new. I think that's committment, even though I know that I'm likely to come across posts I will not agree with. Why? Because we can't always nod our heads in agreement when we don't really mean it.

    This is something I see time and time again, whether that is Chinese with the white people, or Chinese with the Chinese. This fake politeness is harming FOBs which eventually harm BBCs. I'm all for politeness, but not agreeing when I don't. That's where I think the Chinese are failing and this can/will have lasting consequences for us all. The Chinese identity is important, but some aspects do not help us when we're living in another country as a minority. This is where we need to think about building and nurturing an in-between culture. SF.

    1. Re:agreeing/disagreeing with opinions, I think that's what an open platform is for - to express ideas, regardless of right or wrong?

      IMO, the 'politeness' that harms FOBS and BBCs is partly due to our peace-wanting introverted nature, but also as you mention, lack of a Chinese quarter.

      re: building and nurturing an in-between culture, which I've suggested before as our own media, but what is that 'inbetween'?

      Agreeing and disagreeing as individuals tends to overlap with agreeing and disagreeing with an established level of Chineseness,which ought to be central to forming a new sense of social identity.

      As BBCz has mentioned on here, how fluently we speak Cantonese, how often we meet and socialize with other Chinese, how well integrated we are with our Chinese cultural traditions are all part of creating this new social cultural identity. Also, on a global level, all in the face of Chinese 'modernization.'

      For me, coming from the opposite end to a lot of BBCs such as BBCz and yourself - whilst you two are probably more 'privileged' BBCs, whilst I've had a bit of a late awakening in my Chinese pride. This article rambles a bit, but if you're interested:

      As you have also observed, this lateness may have led to some kind of 'overcompensation' in my intentions to express my pride on this blog, as well as taking activist action at times.

      Point is, if I can make this effort, why can't others?

      As has been said before, BBC culture is essentially online and natty. FOBS dont seem to care about an inbetween culture, then you have this ridiculous racist onslaught from British Media and all the self interested arselicking kowtowists that have little impact whatsoever on genuine cultural development.

      With that kind of opposition, you can see why in some ways BBCs dont give a shit:Life's too short.

      Then there are the younger BBCs, as referenced above on this same article, and on the youtube

      Who take steps, but are too scared/intellectually immature to discuss the deeper issues that affect us, that BBCZeitgeist covers so well in depth.

      There's so much needs doing, it just gets daunting, and to casual onlookers, seems we are going in circles.

      Like I said above,given the obstacles, if no-one wants to take up the baggage, to 'lead a way' those individuals who do feel more intense about developing our racial and cultural and linguistic competency to express it, will do so regardless.

      Raising awareness on this blog reaps no monetary reward, but when a mark has been made, everyone seems to crawl out of the woodwork to be part of it.

      Nice, but what's next?

    2. Happybritishchinese, I know that you are trying to lead something, like there's some great leap forwards, but for me, cultures or this in-between culture forms over time. It's hard to admit, it might be a little too late in a sense. The ones that cherish traditions or somehow get to merge tradtions with modernity are few and far between.

      Pride is the missing link which allows the next generation to feel great about themselves. Those that feel great about themselves who are ethnically Chinese feel it in an insular way, but not in a rounded way that includes identity and heritage.

      Because of this, BBCs have somehow fallen silent with no kind of soul, but the adopted culture of this country that bows to Capitalism via fake socialism.

      By the way, I have not been brought up with a previledge tag. In Chinese standards, my family are considered poor/failures. We all attended comprehensive schools, and I never even went to university, which is rare in the Chinese world.

      I really believe that struggle and sometimes poverty makes you really re-assess things, and re-look at yourself and life. I think I have touched on this before, but sadly, many BBCs have been brought up living off their parents wealth, which shields them from the harsh realities. This often brings them into contact with white previlages and in a strange way makes them comfortable and never question the reality of injustice and ask questions about where their heritage lies. Because of this, they never really develop beyond making money and trying to impress their peers.

      On the Wedding Planner discussion, I note that BBCZeitgeist started a few comments about a common trait in BBCs. But he didn't quite put the finger on why that maybe. My answer to the traits of "immature, nerdy twattish" for males and "princessy, bitchy aloof" stems from being spoilt by too much money and less sense. Very often, the parents don't know what they've started off and can't be bothered to question why. So long as their offsprings don't need to go through what they went through, that's fine. SF.

    3. SF, 'Privileged' refers to having definable HK roots. Eg A village home in NT, being able to visit your specific site of ancestry whenever you want . This is standard and accepted for most if not all BBCs. It also refers to Canto linguistics fully intact due to the enforcement from FOB parents to act as middlemen to serve non-Chinese customers at the parents restaurant/takeaway. To some extent it also means being able to write Chinese characters. All of these are to varying degrees, but are what I consider 'privileged' Chinese traits, yet amazingly many BBCs seem to take this for granted and don't appear to cherish it as much.

      Yes, maybe it can be to do with parents' wealth that buys them this fake white privilege, and maybe can be that we are so blinded what white privilege can 'buy', that racial, cultural and linguistic privilege just doesn't seem to register for many.

      For me, I joined to support BBCz 'cause' and enjoy the journey. I've learnt a lot, hearing others opinions, regret none of it. In that respect, we can be proud to have made some small contribution to our BBC/ethnic British Chinese culture, by pointing out the lack of it.

      And maybe,as has been stated on this blog before, one day, a group of young proud BBCs with the required self management, cooperation, structure, and fearlessness can act on the criticism unearthed here, to create a new 'in-between' culture. Time will tell.

  13. BBC still happily churning out their Sinophobic shite. This time the reporter pver-reacting at raw crocodile feet, and live snake, led around a Qingdao restaurant, by yup, another clueless FOB.

    As if indians dont eat 'exotic things' but then this is a whitewashed Achar bitch reporter so of course, 'how inhumane thou Chinese artest'!

    Yet another reason why Chinese need to be known for more than just food - racist media will always find a way to exploit a cheap guffaw out of it.

    Wheres our Chinese media to mock Jews having matzoh bread pock mark faces or bald potatohead males?

    No no, Confucious say, because its okay for non Chinese to mock what Chinese eat, enjoy our food then take the media-piss all at the same time.

    Dumb FOBS need education, those aware and still choose to misrepresent need to shut the fuck up. Course that will never happen, because for sellouts and making Hoh doh tcheen no pricetag is too small when whoring our cherished Chinese identity.

    1. I made a reply about one of their clips as well, typical perpetual foreigner stereotype, make China out to be as foreign as possible, and when they report about China going the opposite direction, becoming more westerned, with all the growing shit fast-food outlets, IKEA stores, then they also manage to write something negative or condescending about that.

      Will they report on the love for K-pop that a lot of Chinese teens have? No, because that would humanise those dirty yellow commies. Will they report that there are Chinese people who genuinely play sport for the fun and exercise? No, because that would also humanise them, and it doesn't give them a chance to portray China as a totalitarian state. Will they report about the youth friendship meetings that Chinese, Korean and Japanese teenagers have been going to across each others countries for the past few years? No, because that would also humanise them! If we can't portray those japs, gooks and chinks as all the same, then we must portray them as enemies who hate each other at all costs!

      Fuck the BBC and everything associated with it. And fuck the majority of FOBs as well who do nothing but kowtow to anything western - why haven't they been convinced that getting wasted every Friday and Saturday is great yet???

  14. British born Chinese Student Film (Independent Point of view documentary):
    The only documentary film about British born Chinese life from an insider's point of view. I hope to break some stereotypes with it and also make some contribution to our community and give people a greater awareness of BBCs. The film centres on my time at university. I wanted to show my perspective and share my story with you about that time in my life. WARNING: It is subtle and slow-paced, so WATCH THE TRAILER FIRST.

    Bear in mind, it is NOT PROFESSIONALLY MADE. I was doing the best I could within my personal budget. I did NOT get a grant or funding. I hope this inspires other film makers to do the same. You will probably do a better job than me.

    If you like it please feel free to redistribute it - send it to others, post it on other FB pages etc. I would like as many people to view it as possible. We are not invisible! I really want to break that "hidden minority" stereotype!

    If you have any advice on how to further distribute it, I would gladly take it!

    Please comment, I would really appreciate it!

    For the trailer (if you are short on time):

    Full film:


    Jason Francis Lau

    1. Sorry Jason, i am a BBC too, you re probably a nice guy i would buy a drink and have a chat, but the film sorry to say this because i wish it was great but the truth is, is its so boring, I have to fast forward and can't be arsed to sit thru the incredible tedium.

      i understand its amateur but it too amateur. What is missing for example is anger and impact, style in short actually saying something INTERESTING and CONCISELY.

      constructive crit, look at the first 10mins and closing scene of Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels", that's how you do it with a low budget with voiceover.

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