Anyone who grew up in an Asian household knows that the one chore you’re not allowed to eff up is cooking rice.
Despite all the sugar and starch, we love our rice. We love our rice coupled with viands. We love our day-old rice turned into a savory plate of sinangag. We love our extra and unli rice.
While a lot of us are embracing “less carbs” in the name of fitness, we’d still defend our rice to death. This debate recently resurfaced most likely because of Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng’s commentary as his parodic persona, Uncle Roger.
In a video uploaded on July 8, Uncle Roger reacts to a BBC video on cooking egg fried rice from way back in 2018, comically pausing every now and then to scold the woman demonstrating the steps.
Hey, while I admit that I still occasionally mess up cooking rice, that tutorial was beyond ridiculous.
- First offense: Didn’t wash the rice
- Second offense: Didn’t use the finger method
- Third offense: Drained the porridge disaster with a colander
- Fourth offense: Washed the starch off after cooking the rice
- Fifth offense: Didn’t put seasoning
There’s more than three offenses that people are even dubbing it as a “hate crime.”
Many people have since reshared the video across social media, and good ol’ Uncle Roger even followed up with his own tutorial―cooking rice with a rice cooker, as it should be.
As hilarious as the commentary was, one can read this as an example of colonization, a case of whitewashing food in the name of modernizing something “exotic.”
We’ve previously touched on the “coolonization” of food, or taking food from another culture and recreating it like it’s some sort of trend. Perhaps BBC was only meaning to establish a connection and one can argue “c’mon, it’s just rice,” but let’s take a moment to rethink that.
Rice is an Asian staple. More than 90 percent of rice is produced and consumed in Asia. Governments establish entire agencies to monitor how rice is produced and distributed across nations that greatly depend on them. Rice is the most basic crop in many agricultural countries like ours.
Food is beyond another tile to add to a perfectly curated Instagram grid and beyond the next fad to make a quirky tutorial video out of. Food is also history, culture and identity.
Still from Nigel Ng’s reaction video