Food TV Shows round-up: Asia – part 2

But anyway, back to World Asia Cafe, which is hosted by Bobby Chinn. Bobby Chinn is a restaurateur who has a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. The first episode of World Asia Cafe was in Hong Kong. Chinn opened by stating that in Hong Kong, when they greet you, they don’t say hi, hey, how are you? They say, “Have you eaten yet?” – this is actually a typical Chinese greeting. But it does not mean, “Are you hungry, do you want something to eat?” it just means “Hey, how are you?” We don’t really want to feed you when we say that. The correct answer is, “I’ve eaten” just like when someone asks “How are you?” you’re supposed to say, “Good” – not some long winded answer about how good or bad your day has been.

The highlight of the show was straight after this opening. Bobby Chinn was at a stall where they served snake as a dish. Yes, bizarre food here we come. Chinese are famous for eating everything – Chinese will eat anything that walks, flies, jumps, swims – and even slithers. I have never eaten snake before or been in a food shop/cafe/hawker stall that sells live snake. The snake slithered around Chinn’s shoulders before it was killed and cooked.

But the show went down hill from there.

Chinn showed viewers how to make fried rice, seafood congee (rice porridge or ‘jook’), and sweet and sour. I mean puh-lease. Fried rice, congee and sweet and sour? I guess this show isn’t about real Asian street food, it’s more about what Westerners think of Asian food – apart from the congee dish. But really, congee doesn’t have a place on a cooking show unless it’s Cooking for Dummies.

It was disappointing because there are a lot of great street food in Hong Kong that I’ve only seen in Hong Kong. But I wouldn’t count fried rice, congee or sweet and sour as any of these great street foods.

But I guess it was a good effort for a first ever episode.


6 responses to “Food TV Shows round-up: Asia – part 2

  1. There was a common saying that the chinese would eat just about anything with four legs except for table of course. Well, even though I’m Chinese, there are certain things that I so would not eat. It’s just very much against my principles of survival. Perhaps, I should join PETA?

  2. Mmm… well, there are also some foods that I wouldn’t eat. But I guess in the old days you didn’t really have a choice. I mean people ate rats because that was the only thing they could find. It’s the survival of the fittest. Eating something gross for survival trumps not eating at all and dying.

  3. Forgive my ignorance, but isn’t the saying “four legs not a table and the backs to the heavens”?

  4. Pen, what’s what saying?

  5. Bobby Chinn is the most annoying and offensive host I’ve ever watched. First, he manages to insult at least one food in every country he’s ever visited, (if you’re a travel food show host, you’re supposed to enjoy the diversity–not make faces at food that isn’t sausages and potatoes). Every other comment he makes seems to be made to show how ‘witty’ he can be. Unfortunately, it seems Chinn wouldn’t know wit if it was printed in a menu. And he makes a big show of cooking a local dish, for which he can barely pronounce the ingredients, and seems to have been given instructions just minutes before the sequence is shot. Give me Bourdain any day.

  6. I agree with Chris here. I love Anthony Bourdain. But I guess with the putting down some food, he might just be trying to say what he doesn’t like in that particular cuisine but comes off in an offensive way?

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