Chinese internet users are mocking — and eating — #WhitePeopleFood

This goes much deeper than foods.

How so? And I’m sure you’re right.

I heard about this elsewhere but thanks for the WaPo’s attempt at report and commentary. It’s an interesting set of reflections on a phenomenon. I think the most intriguing being about clash of life styles (excessive demand for work to the point that how one has traditionally fed themselves is being denied). Or, as the piece reads:

Unlike those early adopters, younger converts see “White people food” as easily accessible sustenance — not as a status symbol. “The love and appreciation of food has served as a significant cultural identity and a means of social bonding for people with a Chinese background,” said Wei Shuihua, a food writer based in Hangzhou, a southeastern city that is the home of slow-cooked beggar’s chicken.

“For burned-out urban professionals, the removal of pleasure from a work lunch” symbolizes how they merely “eat to work,” he said.

But I am leery of the way the essay starts to skew American at the end. The question is not one of turnabout (as some commenters then treat it) but how the internet allows one to encounter more points of view that can challenge perceptions. (In this case, another POV regarding cultural differences.)

One would think that the opening (set in Amsterdam) would bring that to people’s attention. Or the reference to Weibo.

All that said, @Chemicalkinetics – what’s the “deeper” you see here? I’m keep to hear.

And, in other news, scientists have indeed confirmed that the sun is hot. Very hot.

White People Food = Quiet Quitting


Well, I guess one could have that response to just about any trend story. What I thought was interesting was that the “white people food” Chinese people find objectionable is not the usual suspects - huge portions, cheese-on-everything, etc. - but rather stuff that seems pretty normal and healthy to me, like poached eggs and salad. I also think it’s a Chinese thing to find fault with “Two cold meals a day.” Like cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch.

1 Like

Not directed at you, specifically.

But your sentiment is reflective of the general myopia that many folks have about how Chinese people view and eat food.

This isn’t just a Chinese food thing.

It’s just a general myopia that people have about other cultures when we are all very much “us-centric”

FTFY. And I take your point, but I’m interested in how we regard one another.

Not quite, it’s likely a non-western thing. I grew up with hot breakfast, hot lunch, hot after-school snack, and hot dinner. So I would have roughly the same reaction to 2 cold meals a day (even though I do enjoy a big salad for lunch or dinner sometimes.)

Cold dinner (sandwiches) were a “sometimes” change when I was growing up (usually to give a break or eat something “unusual” like cold cuts or canned tuna) — but there was hot soup alongside.

Big cultural differences in food expectations and what’s “normal” :joy:

Okay, not JUST a Chinese thing. But - at least from what I’ve read - finding some foods to be unhealthy because they’re “too cooling” is a Chinese thing. Maybe it’s also an other people thing, but I’ve not seen much about that.


That’s two separate things.

1: Hot (fresh) meals being the default vs cereal, cold cuts, bread

2: Foods being cooling (not “too” cooling) and heatening

For 2, away from TCM, there is also Ayurveda (which you’ve heard of, I’d wager a guess)

(Even if we add up only Chinese people and Indian people, that’s still half the world’s population for whom both these are culturally / scientifically “things” :joy:)

1 Like

I mean. The Chinese bloggers or internet users are not simply find white people foods funny. They are more “looking down” on white people culture. Most of the vibes on these Chinese posts are about “How unfortunate these white people are” and “How lucky we live in our country China”. These kind of posts are not just about foods. It ranges from COVID policy, COVID vaccine, and government assistance during COVID. Almost of course mocking gun violence in USA and the BlackLiverMatter. You name one thing in America, and I can find you a few thousands post which these people think white people are in bad shape.


I mean. It isn’t just about food. It is a general trend of showing the Chinese way is better than other ways.


Many cultures consider their own superior to others, including the US, which - according to many of its citizens, is “The Greatest Country on Earth” (plenty of whom never left the US or even their home state).

It’s a silly concept, of course, but certainly not exclusive to the Chinese.


This article is kind of all over the place.

I kind of get the gentle mockery over things I often see people making fun of us for on TikTok with “the only seasoning you need is cheese and mayonnaise” and the like, which is why I was almost concerned with “and eating”, since I thought there was a glut of about-to-be-food-poisoned Chinese teenagers making a casserole in their sink after petting a cat or something by following ragebait recipes.

Instead it seems like a chortle at “white people food” while also explaining that ex pats tend to eat the local fare, either out of convenience or preference. Making fun of underseasoned chicken breast vs being a Chinese student in Ohio who eats sandwiches.

It’s not offensive or anything, and considering the absolute horror show of stereotypes around Chinese food (everything from MSG is horrible for you to racist stuff about cats), some tit for tat is fine, but article’s tone is kind of confused. I’ve noticed a few of those from WaPo recently.

1 Like

Agree with this. Whatever I might think about the article content, it was very poorly written. The author never really defined what this “whitepeoplefood” actually is: It is referred to within the article as cold food, bland food, high carb food, low carb food, uncooked food, microwaved (warmed) food, and probably a few more.

1 Like

I wish I could remember where I read this damn article. It was by a fairly well-known food writer who was showing some Chinese chefs around her city, and they refused to eat salad (or any raw vegetables) because it was “too cooling.” I posted about it on CH in response to a discussion about this piece:

This mentions the “too cooling” thing, though. And it’s not alone.

Yeah, this is a fair point.

I don’t think it is wrong, but I think it is more than just the “cooling” or “yin/yang” argument here. Chinese people routinely consume foods which they believe is cooling. The traditional cooling tea, cooling noodle, for example, or even modern day bubble tea with ice. I think it has more to do with “raw” than “cool”.

This is the relevant quote from the article I linked to:

Though my mother died in 2003, I still hear her at every meal, admonishing me for eating avocadoes, grapefruit, watermelons, any salad or raw food, all too cooling. Mom believed foods had hot and cold energies that harmonized the body, allowing it to govern health.

“Too much yin,” she’d insist. “That’s why you’re always cold.”

Granted, this is just one mom. but I bet there are others who say the same.