The fun of this segment is based on disgust: we see our famous celebrities shriek, gag, and embarrass themselves confronted with revolting foods. Some of the items featured were clearly specially created to evoke just such revulsion: hot dog juice, hot sauce and olive jello, the aforementioned ant pickle.
As the pandemic surges, diners and celebrities have drummed up support for BIPOC and immigrant restaurateurs. However, to revolutionize the industry we need more than one-off campaigns. Alongside policy to secure humane working conditions for workers, we need to reexamine our approach to “ethnic food”.
It’s hypocritical to consume Asian or Asian-American cultural products and then refuse to defend Asian communities in the U.S. – or worse, exhibit open hostility against them. At the same time, we shouldn’t predicate supporting immigrant communities on enjoying their food, especially since the reason why so many Asian immigrants work in restaurants is itself a product of American racism.