You’ve probably noticed it yourself. We’re all over Yelp and we’re all over the food blogosphere. So why do Asians dominate when it comes to blogging about food?
Kevin of Kevin Eats fame (or as I call him, “the guy I’d never want to eat dinner with because he takes so many pictures of every single dish that I’d go blind from the camera flash before dessert”) poses the question on his popular blog, from his socio-economic-cultural theories on why food and the Internet is so popular among Asian Americans to even breaking down the race of well-known food bloggers.
And it’s true. At least, it’s true in the Kevin Eats world of Southern California. As someone who clearly enjoys eating and trying various cuisines around Los Angeles, I’ve also noticed that A LOT of food bloggers are Asian–or at least, those people you find taking discreet photos of their food almost always happen to be Asian. So why is this?
Kevin argues that the importance of food in Asian culture, our higher educational status, higher income, better access to technology and flair for conspicuous consumption all lead to one hobby: food blogging.
Half of me agrees: it’s probably the same reason so many of us Yelp. Many of our families place a huge importance on food. Some of us don’t consider ourselves as disadvantaged minorities. And if there’s any racial group inclined to blog online (hello, Xanga), then it’s probably going to be a bunch of Asians with high end digital cameras.
The other half of me disagrees: it’s clear that Kevin is basing his idea on a small, select social group in a small, select area of the United States. What about food bloggers in New York, where all big name chefs begin? What about blogs and sites with a bigger web presence than individual food bloggers, like Serious Eats or Eater–or even bloggers that Kevin doesn’t even know? Do these also show the same large presence of Asian Americans? Maybe we Asians just like to hop on the same bandwagon?
I also find it hard to believe that Asian culture is unique in its focus on food. Food plays a significant role in almost every culture. I don’t know any one country or ethnic group that disregards food and eating (but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Even in America, with its ongoing struggle with cultural identity, considers mealtime to be an important tool in communication, relationships and socializing (as Roger Ebert so eloquently wrote).
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but Kevin was brave to have posed a racially charged question that many (like me) have always pondered. So what do you think? Why are there so many Asian bloggers? Is this a question worth asking?