Filmmaker and VFX artist Freddie Wong only eats at Chinese restaurants with three and a half stars on Yelp.
In a viral TikTok video posted to his page, @rocketjump, Wong explains that the best way to find authentic Chinese food is to look for what he calls “the sweet spot” of Yelp ratings.
“The easiest way to find authentic Chinese food, assuming you’re living in a major metropolitan area, is to go on Yelp and look for restaurants with three and a half stars,” Wong says. “Exactly three and a half — not three, not four — three and a half stars is the sweet spot for authentic Chinese food.”
Wong cites multiple examples of local restaurants that are rated too poorly, too highly and some that are just right. He shows a two-and-a-half-star rating for P.F. Chang, which he calls “obviously bad,” followed by Din Tai Fung with a four-star rating he describes as “too many stars.”
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“Too many white people like it,” he explains. “The service is too good, the food’s not as good as it could be”
He then shows a three-and-a-half-star-rated restaurant called Shanghai Dumpling House, where he says the dumplings are better than Din Tai Fung’s. “The waiters are not going to pay attention to you,” he says. “They’re going to be rude, but it’s going to taste better.”
The 37-year-old filmmaker argues that while the service may be worse in such restaurants than higher rated establishments, the food is often better.
He theorizes that because Asian cultural expectations for service are different, American reviewers criticize authentic Chinese restaurant staff for not being attentive but credit them for their delicious food, which “balances it out.”
Wong’s video has gone viral on multiple platforms, garnering 6.7 million views on TikTok and 5.2 million on Twitter.
“I use the ‘ welcome ’ rule,” one TikTok user commented. “If u walk in and they greet you just leave cuz food will be mid. I want them to ignore me like my hs crush.”
“I use the menu rule,” another user commented. “If there’s super faded pictures of food on the wall above the register then it’s gonna be fire.”
On Twitter, one user disagreed with Wong, saying, “I mean how good is food supposed to be, folks? Gimme good service. That’s what I’m mostly paying for.”
In response, another Twitter user wrote, “You’re not real, that’s not a real opinion. I rebuke this tweet in the name of the Lord.”