A White professor at Cornell University has come under fire after ranking Southeast Asian cuisines with Filipino dishes at the bottom.
However, Tom Pepinsky — who teaches comparative politics, political economy and Southeast Asian politics — received some level of support, including from a White, queer activist based in Indonesia who founded a feminist group.
According to Pepinsky, Vietnamese is the best cuisine in the region, followed by Lao, Singaporean and Malaysian, Thai, Burmese, Indonesian, Cambodian, Timorese and then “Philippine”.
The professor claimed that the ranking is “objectively correct,” though it excludes regional and ethnic sub-cuisines.
Whatever criteria Prof. Pepinsky used to score the national cuisines and rank them accordingly has not been detailed.
Unsurprisingly, Filipinos lashed out on the thread and others joined in to criticize the absurdity of such rankings.
Interestingly, a number of White netizens supported the questionable rankings, including Jakarta-based activist and writer Kate Walton, who outright called Filipino food “the worst in the region.”
In a separate thread, Walton, who started a group called Jakarta Feminist, claimed that Filipino food is simply “bland.”
Like Pepinsky, Walton faced immediate backlash.
She was forced to apologize in a follow-up tweet, saying that her comment was “poorly-phrased.” However, she has refused to delete her original tweet stating that she has already apologized and “there’s not much else [she] can do.”
To these comments, a Filipino netizen stood up to point out the historical fact that Westerners literally scavenged the Philippines for spices.
“LMAO your people literally pillaged our part of the world for spices,” wrote Melisandre De Rossi. “This stupid-a** take just goes to show how little you know of our region, yet you have the audacity to hierarchize cuisines like we even shared a single flavor profile.”
The Twitter user went on to retaliate against aspic, a savory gelatin made of meat stock.
“Just to remind you about your cuisine, your people invented aspic. Nobody asked for your patronizing outsider opinion, colonizer. You can sod off with your kale and avocado sandwiches,” De Rossi added. “It’s the most horrendous crime against taste buds to ever grace wypipo tables.”