It would seem that the cultural outrage sparked by America’s “favorite” Caucasian pho chef, Tyler Akin, isn’t over yet — an old Instagram post allegedly has the white chef shaming the owner of a rival pho restaurant for buying pho powder.
According to The Love Life of an Asian Guy, an anonymous source sent him the following photo that was allegedly posted to the Philadelphia-based chef’s Instagram account. The now deleted post shows a picture of what appears to be a box of beef or chicken powder at the check out counter of a Vietnamese grocery store called Hung Voung Super Market. The powder is believed to be used as flavoring for the popular Vietnamese pho noodle soup.
In the caption of his post, Akin expressed his disappointment in individuals who purchase such ingredients. He described the purchaser, the owner of a new pho shop in South Philly, as an “imposter” who “looked ashamed” after seeing Akin’s own shopping cart full of fresh pho ingredients including basil and sprouts. Akin speculated that perhaps the shopper knew who he was and was embarrassed because buying a box of flavoring is the “ultimate loser’s route.”
“Really wanted to do this as @stockphilly post but @reignic talked me out of it. There is a new pho place in South Philly that people are talking about. This morning I saw the owner in front of me buying a whole bunch of this product (pho powder — chicken and beef) at Hung Vuong. You are an imposter. Bones and spice is all you need. You aren’t doing it right. You looked ashamed because you saw all my Thai basil and sprouts and noodles and I think you maybe knew who I was. There is a reason so many bowls of pho taste the same around town, it’s this shit, and it is a scourge. To think that so many serious chefs take so much pride in what they do and then patronize places that take the ultimate loser’s route — it’s just… sad.”
Perhaps what’s humorous about the whole thing is that a number of our readers have pointed out “pho powder” Akin is referring to is actually just a spice packet for the broth. The ingredients on the back reads: Star anis, cloves, cinnamons, ginger, and spice.
While it can be argued that the post may be faked or doctored, a quick Google search of the text and Akin’s Instagram handle will yield results of the post:
Although the original post has since been deleted, a cached version of the post is still available on Insharee, an alternative Instagram viewer.
Akin was recently the recipient of backlash after being featured in a video by Bon Appétit Magazine on the “proper” way to eat pho, a culturally Vietnamese dish. Unfortunately, many in the Asian community took issue with his “proper” way to eat the dish, leading to complaints of cultural misappropriation over a “white person telling us how to eat our foreign food.” One critic even made a satirical video about how to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in response to Akin’s guide.
LLAG wrote in his post:
Now, here’s my problem with his BS accusations:
1.) Why is he assuming that this is for the pho served at the restaurant and not the pho at the chef’s personal home? And if it is used at the restaurant, who knows? This could be a legit ingredient to improve the taste of the broth that Mr.Pholumbus-a-Lot doesn’t know about.
2.) He’s a white dude in an industry built by Asians, many of whom started pho shops because the opportunities for high paying jobs were NON-EXISTENT for Asian immigrants and refugees. He’s a rich white boy who entered this space because#MuhWhiteHipsterFeels. He has NO BUSINESS talking about the “loser’s route” when he lives life on easy mode.
3.) He wants to shit on other Asian-owned shops but has the gall to ask Yelp to take down the negative reviews on his page?! Are you down for shit talking or not?
WOW. This MF truly is the epitome of a Columbusing turd. And to think that some folks are painting him as an innocent bystander to the wave of angry Asians is BS.
This asshole knew what he was doing and TBH, if he had a problem with Bon Appetit’s depiction of him on video, WHY DIDN’T HE SPEAK THE FUCK UP sooner? Why did his criticisms of Bon Appetit come AFTER the backlash of #PhoGate?
I smell a PHOny”
Supporters of Akin believe that many are wrongly attacking Akin for what he supposedly conveyed as his personal preference for eating pho. Others are deflecting blame on publishers of the magazine who were responsible for the marketing of the article.
[Update 9-15-16 3:29 p.m. PST] As of this morning, Tyler Akin has deleted his Instagram account.