director@kapisanan: Bitter taste of racism.

portrait of the restaurant owners, Jeff and Nuit Regular I wanted to do a follow up post on the restaurateurs, Jeff and Nuit of Sukho Thai fame since they just opened up a new location in the Entertainment district called Khao San Road very recently. Apparently already a hit with the downtown condo take-out foodies --- Sadly there's one food critic in the city who left with a rather bitter taste in her mouth.

I found a rather alarming review of Khao San Road in the National Post today. Granted the National Post has been dubbed "Canada's cheeky conservative paper", but this review can easily lead me to believe, if I were simple, that conservative can be mistaken for racist. But I am not simple, I am just putting it out there...

screen capture of restaurant review

First I would like flag this woman talking about Thais colonizing England. I am sure Miss Gina Mallet (the food critic who wrote these words) is not comparing the enterprising immigrant community who are opening restaurants in England to the raping, pillaging, and general exploitation and oppression that European colonizers have done to aboriginal people all over the world. Maybe she isn't, and I am just taking it wrong. But I am pretty sure Miss Mallet doesn't understand the colonial experience from the perspective of the oppressed. The use of her intensely condescending language, i.e. "Imperial Thailand" -- makes me think, is she bitter that Thailand still loves their King, and they are one of the only countries in the region that actually resisted European colonizers? Perhaps. I am not sure who else "dismissed" Thai cuisine as "tanning cuisine" and using "beach-bunny" as a descriptor for coconut milk....Wow, was she, like, hanging with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of The Beach?

screen capture of the online review

So it doesn't stop there! And you thought you had enough of this racist foodie! Ha! She dares to question authenticity? Doesn't she know that most Japanese restaurants in Toronto are owned by Koreans, and that's how Koreans introduced their cuisine into the mainstream? I have the feeling that Khao San Road got a measly 1 star rating because she was irritated with her Chinese server, and the thing is, Khao San Road's award winning chef, Nuit Regular, IS THAI. Through and through.

screen capture of the review online

Again, Miss Mallet, must be getting grumpy from hunger, because the lines in the above screen capture is so fierce! MEEEOWW. Keep in mind she's reviewing the place in the FIRST week of their opening. I am so positive that their waitstaff speak English just fine. I am not even going to link the review to this post, because I don't even want it to get any traffic. Just another note though, I did google this "acclaimed food critic" and she has the same review on her own blog, and the title? COLONIZING THAIS. I guess that title is where National Post decided it was just too much, and they decided not to print that title. Thanks National Post!

As a rule, these days I really pick my battles when it comes to this kind of stuff. Racism exists, duh. The people who are racist are generally the old guard, and they aren't worth my time.  I have so many other things to worry about running an organization that serves the underserved. I guess it's up to you the reader, you decide if this kind of thing should just fly under our colonized noses. While you are thinking about that, go to Khao San Road and judge the food, not the ethnicity of their servers, for yourself. I haven't had a chance to go, but I am positive it's going to be delicious.