Since the summer, I’ve been trying to promote my YouTube videos more across different social media platform groups to raise awareness of my channel and my brand. About 99.99 percent of the time, when there is engagement, it’s been pretty positive. I’ve had a lot of people on Reddit and Facebook actually make the dishes that I wrote out or had videos for, and it’s been really flattering. A number of these people have also followed me across my social media handles, which has also helped energize me and give me more reason to continue doing this.
Unfortunately, since we are in the online space full of trolls and bullies, there will inevitably be haters. For the most part, I have zero desire to engage. But this one comment really did need to be addressed. One person insisted two times that my Vietnamese roast chicken recipe was absolutely not authentic, whether it was Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American, and continued to try to troll me. And another person piled on. My general response was this:
“I always find it both curious and comical when I speak with people about the concept of “authenticity” of food, and they vehemently deny that a dish is “authentic” merely because they believe neither they nor their family members have encountered it. Vietnam is a country of over 95 million people, and the Vietnamese diaspora around the world adds even more to that number. Simply because you and your bubble have never come across this does not make it “not” Vietnamese. For those unfamiliar with the Vietnamese language, “ga” means chicken, and “roti” comes from the French word which means “roasted.” So, if you don’t consider this “roast chicken,” well… maybe you should think about what the words “roast” and “chicken”mean. I’m merely here to share recipes that are delicious and what I grew up with as someone who identifies as Vietnamese. If you, for whatever reason, believe yourself to be more “Vietnamese,” then that’s your own issue to take. Cheers! :)”
Someone responded that this was an arrogant response and “destroyed” all my credibility. I’ve actually gotten a lot of feedback, even from complete strangers, that my response was very calm, reasoned, and thoughtful. If you cannot call out someone for being close minded in their response and not considering the world bigger than their bubble, then… I guess the conversation is over.
The most hilarious response came through direct message on Instagram where some white guy, who clearly has nothing else better to do with his time than bully strangers, who goes by onekind81 – feel free to look this jerk up, told me that my dish was not authentic and that I was “pandering to white people.” I literally laughed out loud when I read it, reported the comment, and blocked his account. It’s always funny to hear a white guy try to tell me, a Chinese-Vietnamese woman, that the food I make from my OWN culture, which he has no idea about, is not authentic, and that I, for one, am actually pandering to white people… LIKE HIMSELF? Huh?