Comedian Nigel Ng, known by his online persona Uncle Roger, has doubled down on his criticisms against Laotian and Cambodian cuisines, stating that “Asian people always talk sh*t about other Asian people.”
Ng’s comments: Ng had earlier made comments against dishes from the two countries in a “special” upload on July 30 to celebrate his YouTube channel reaching 8 million subscribers. In the video, “Uncle Roger Make Adobo,” Ng engages in a discussion about Southeast Asian cuisine with acclaimed Filipino American chef Leah Cohen, owner of renowned New York City eateries Pig & Khao and Piggyback NYC.
During the conversation, Ng asserts that “not all Southeast Asian countries have good food, you know. Yeah, you don’t want food from Laos, Cambodia.” Cohen, in apparent disagreement, swiftly retorts, “What? I love those countries,” cautioning Ng against disparaging remarks.
Ng, however, continues: “Laos food like sh*t version of Thai food.”
A friendly challenge: Laotian chef Ae Southammavong, aka @aebaybayy on TikTok, responded to Ng’s video by challenging to Uncle Roger to taste spicy Laotian food that she will prepare. In a recent short, Ng accepted Southammavong’s challenge but doubled down on how Asians criticizing Asians is “just a way of life.”
Drawing backlash: Ng’s comments also ignited a wave of fiery responses within the Laotian and Cambodian culinary and cultural spheres.
YouTuber Saeng Douangdara, who is a vocal advocate for Laotian cuisine, countered Ng’s sentiments in a video uploaded on Aug. 1. In the clip, he emphasizes the importance of fostering unity among Southeast Asian communities and celebrating the richness of each culture’s culinary heritage.
“I care about this so much because it is literally the livelihood for a lot of Lao families in my community,” Douangdara says. “This is the food we grew up with, that we love, and that we want to share. And the community has worked so hard in the Lao food movement and helping people know about how delicious Lao food is.”
The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism also condemned Ng’s remarks in a statement, asserting that the comedian’s assessment of Cambodian cuisine negatively impacts the country’s food tourism efforts. The Ministry requested that Ng make a public apology to the Cambodian people and modify the contentious video.