Race and culture can be a sensitive topic, especially when used in creative and expressive means. Even fusion food is not exempted from criticisms. One such example happened due to a mere novelty for a restaurant. This took place in New York City after one American restaurateur’s fusion food restaurant sparked outrage among the Asian community.
Stratis Morfogen was keen on making a new restaurant. Well, not just any restaurant. He claimed that he was tired of the usual American steakhouses. So he turned to other cultures for inspiration– Chinese culture and cuisine to be exact. He cooked up some odd fusion food such as pastrami dumplings, cheeseburger shumai, and chop steak… because they sound like chopsticks (yes, really), etc:
“So basically what I enjoyed most is my American steakhouse, but I don’t think we need another cream of spinach, baked potato, shrimp cocktail type of steakhouse. With Brooklyn Chop House I did a double meaning on chop. Chopsticks, chop steak,” says Morfogen. His fusion food restaurant was aptly called Brooklyn Chop House.
However, people (mostly East and Southeast Asians), were quick to lambast Morfogen for such an idea. His promotion for the restaurant, which was posted on Facebook, was flooded with negative comments from the said angry Asians.
Some even went as far as to call what Morfogen did as cultural appropriation and that he was a lowkey racist.
Of course, Morfogen was quick to defend his actions and ideas, saying that he did have a Chinese business partner as well as two African-American partners. What do you think of Morfogen’s idea though? Feel free to discuss in the comments section. Thank goodness though that Italians were never this strict about their food, otherwise, the Hawaiian pizza would never have been invented…