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Diners Demonstrate East and South East Asian Culinary Pride With #eseaeats Hashtag

After a Masterchef: The Professionals contestant and producers presented “Asian” food as a “dirty” monolith to be refined, cooks and diners took hold of the narrative on Instagram

A chef adds fixings to a whole fish dish. Michaël Protin/Eater London

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is vibrant.

News of the week

2020 has been a year marked by community activism, from the local (in the form of COVID-19 support groups) to the globally momentous (most notably in the form of Black Lives Matter). It has also been a year in which East and South East Asian people have been scapegoated and subjected to abuse in spurious association with the propagation of COVID-19, and in which a Masterchef: The Professionals contestant has used words like “refined” and “dirty” in spurious association with a monolithic “Asian” cuisine, and Masterchef: The Professionals producers have said, “yes, this is fine.”

In yet another example of people working overtime to turn yet another negative into a positive, and inject thought into thoughtlessness, comes the hashtag #eseaeats. It started, in the words of the hashtag’s co-originator Anna Chan, as a space for East and South East Asian people to come together to “celebrate our food and community in a positive way.” Take a look.

Season, ‘tis the, of the week

Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means that on both sides of the Atlantic it is now not just permissible but actively encouraged to get unduly excited for Christmas. Mince pies? Naturellement. Mulled wine at noon? Sure! Entire speculoos cookie stuffed into a laminated pastry sarcophagus and topped off with Italian meringue? Why the hell not? It’s only [*checks notes*] 22 days until Christmas!

Extra layer of the week

As anyone who has stepped outside in the past few days will attest, December has also arrived in uniquely chilly style. On the downside: rule-of-six al fresco gatherings are suddenly going to be a true test of friendship and commitment to one another. On the upside: even more reason than usual to tuck into stuff like this.

Extra layer of the week

Not much more excessive than deep-frying pasta.

Serving suggestion of the week

Not going to tell a bona fide ICON how to go about her business, but — Patti. Ever thought of roasting them? Get that sweet Maillard reaction going? They’re honestly not as bad as you make them look here.

Relatable content of the week

Biliously trying to open a Bendicks after three festive mulled wines, seven festive mulled ciders and two festive Jägerbombs like

Dish of the week

Whatever KFC had to replace “finger-lickin’ good” with just won’t hit quite the same.

Shot of the week

Could only conceivably be improved by more sauce. In a bread bowl..?


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