Gustatorial pedants unite!
August 17, 2017 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Zagat—the almost 40-year old, Google-acquired institution would like to have a moment of your time to explain the error of your eating ways. Trust them—you have a lot of problems. Yes, you.

In the glorious human tradition of pointing out how “YOU ARE DOING ALL TEH THINGS WRONG!! ZOMG!!” they present:
Stop Eating it Wrong (YouTube playlist, avg episode time approx. 5 mins.)

Episodes include:
How to Eat Bibimbap
How to Eat Sushi
Pizza by the Slice (stop f’ing dabbing! rubber gloves optional?)
How to Eat Pho

And perhaps the most confused of our bon viveurs appear in Stop Eating it Wrong: How to Eat Ethiopian Food
Because, clearly, you just use the large bread roll thing to lightly dab the sauce leaving all the other food uneaten.
posted by pixlboi (46 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Then, there is the sublime "The Japanese Tradition - Sushi".
posted by bonehead at 10:30 AM on August 17 [16 favorites]


Can they help with my drinking problem?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:41 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm feeling very smug right now
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:01 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck are these for? Surely even millennials aren't entertained by 52 seconds of mellennials typing into their phones.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:17 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Honestly, as long as you eat it with your mouth closed, you're doing just fine in my world.
posted by PearlRose at 11:19 AM on August 17 [12 favorites]


Watched the sushi one and HAW HAW MELLENIALS AMIRITE EMOJI EMOJI
posted by not_the_water at 11:23 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I know why people write pointless-made-up-shit-to-argue-about, which is because other people then repost it, which is how you win at internets, but I don't know why anybody ever reposts it, because it's pointless shit.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:24 AM on August 17


> Who the fuck are these for

I learned how to eat ramen from a video, and discovered that eating it in the suggested manner (two-fisting it, basically) increases the flavor by 100%. So, they're for me!
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:25 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


They are for people who don't have older (or experienced) friends to teach them the ropes. Duh.
posted by oddman at 11:30 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Expanding on that thought: there are a lot of foods that I first encountered as an adult (for example: bibimbap, real ramen, pho). I don't want to go into a restaurant and stare at my fellow diners, especially because they might have terrible table manners and I shouldn't emulate them. I would like to be polite and not cause a spectacle by eating things in the astoundingly wrong way. I would like to know which condiments go with which dish. I'm willing to ask the waiter, but sometimes that isn't an option. So if I can watch a video and learn that this sauce goes in this dish but that sauce gets mixed in and this third sauce is actually for a meal I didn't order, what's the problem?

I grew up eating blood pancakes. If you want to watch a video showing you what to do with the lingonberry sauce, that's fine with me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:32 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


So I guess Zagat couldn't resist getting into podcasting. Is this Google's only content play outside of YouTube?
posted by rhizome at 11:37 AM on August 17


I too have learned many things by watching videos. You're missing my point that these are mind-numbingly mind-numbing.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:01 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Watched the sushi one and HAW HAW MELLENIALS AMIRITE EMOJI EMOJI

Ah, that's the only one I watched. Maybe the others are more tolerable.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:02 PM on August 17


At least it looks like they're *trying* to get as close to the correct ethnicity to tell you how to do it right.

The sashimi one is a case where they're a bit off (Shim is a Korean surname, not Japanese), but it's still way better than what Bon Appetit did wtih phở.
posted by anem0ne at 12:05 PM on August 17


I have been assiduously "avoiding" Zagat ever since I "found out" about them many "years" ago. Turns out, "random people" writing "reviews" is less useful or interesting to me than "carefully" curated reviews from "professional writers."
posted by uberchet at 12:09 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


The sushi one was the most annoying and least informative. The pho one, Thai food one, the Indian food one, and the soba one are all cringey in spots (like, how can you encounter a communal bowl with a huge serving spoon and think that you should put your mouth on that???) but feature Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and Japanese restaurateurs explaining what these foods are all about. I could have done with 100% less annoying New York hipster doing the black-and-white before section of an As Seen on TV video with common foodstuffs and 100% more the chefs talking about the food.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:18 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Waiting for the delicatessen herring version, where the proper way to eat it is while complaining about everything while reminiscing about other restaurant experiences you've had in the past.
posted by Mchelly at 12:46 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]




Is that guy in the pizza video for real.
posted by lucidium at 1:02 PM on August 17


I was cringing at the people trying to eat bibimbap with chopsticks. As pointed out in the video, this is JUST WRONG. Actually I even cringed at the suggestion to use chopsticks to put stuff on your spoon. Look up 비빔밥 먹방 on YouTube to see Koreans eating bibimbap - the only time chopsticks make an appearance is when people have some banchan in addition to the bibimbap, where they're only used to pick up the banchan. When it's just bibimbap and maybe some broth on the side, chopsticks don't even make an appearance.

Protip when eating Korean food: USE YOUR SPOON.
posted by needled at 1:06 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


I'm afraid I'll never understand the distinction between eating sushi with pickled ginger and eating it with wasabi and soy sauce, in how the former is alleged to ruin the subtle flavors of the sushi while the latter somehow isn't? That the ginger is seen as being a palate cleanser I understand, but why it can't be both is the mystery.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:19 PM on August 17


eating sushi with pickled ginger
Because the ginger is overpowering and astringent? I'm not sure I could taste fish 'through' the ginger if I ate them in the same gulp. I get the soy sauce with its strong umami and salt hit enhancing the flavor. I've never been convinced the green-dyed mustard-horseradish paste* makes fish taste better, but that's just personal taste.


*unless you are going to an upscale place, its not wasabi.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:34 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Protip when eating Korean food: USE YOUR SPOON.

I haven't watched the video (forgive me) so I don't know if they are eating bibimbap with chopsticks. If they are, then yes, that's... weird. On the other hand, it's ok to use chopsticks to help mix the bibimbap. Sometimes the various namul veggies are clumpy and can't be separated easily with just a spoon. Using the combo of chopsticks in one hand and spoon in the other can make the mixing more even, and the result tastier.

I don't claim this protip as my own; it came from a restaurant manager ahjumma years ago.

Mmm bibimbap, how I could use one right now.
posted by shortfuse at 1:36 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see "bibimbap" I can't help breaking the word apart and adding exclamation marks to make an imaginary comic book fight scene. Bi! Bim! Bap!
posted by storybored at 1:43 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I've never been convinced the green-dyed mustard-horseradish paste* makes fish taste better, but that's just personal taste.

Yeah, I'm definitely speaking more about the many mid and lower scale sushi places common in the Pacific Northwest where they cater to US/Canadian markets, not the higher end places that actually seek more thorough authenticity. The food served in the latter often seems a completely different experience, in my rather limited samplings.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:49 PM on August 17


Even at an upscale place, you generally have to ask/pay for real wasabi.
I understood why when I saw how much it cost at a Japanese market...
posted by flaterik at 2:01 PM on August 17


@bonehead

mah mah mah mah oh toh toh toh

mr mitt and i count this as one of our favorite videos of all time.

ah...gari.
posted by ovenmitt at 2:30 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


So far, I'm not eating it wrong...
posted by Chuffy at 2:59 PM on August 17


The pickled ginger with sushi/sashimi is for AFTER you eat the fish. It is meant to cleanse the palate after different types of fish are eaten, and it allegedly acts as a natural "anti-parasitic."

The wasabi you get most places (not in the video on how to eat sushi) is not wasabi. Wasabi is a root, and is very rare to see in North America, as it is very expensive.

I usually skip the soy sauce and wasabi altogether, although a little dash of salt can help with some of the fishier fish.
posted by Chuffy at 3:04 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


(Shim is a Korean surname, not Japanese)

While his bio does say he is from Korea, there are plenty of Japanese people with Korean surnames, you can't tell background just from the name.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:37 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Most of these seem pretty stupid.

Although I'd say there are kind of 2 classes of things they're pointing out: ones that affect flavor directly and those that are just style.

The former has some validity (I would be tempted to advise anyone against eating sushi _wrapped in ginger_, for example, as that just sounds terrible), the latter is OK if you want to care but in general does not matter.

(AKA, I'll continue eating my pizza with a fork sometimes regardless of what other people think)
posted by thefoxgod at 4:43 PM on August 17


Speaking of eating pizza with knife & fork: I lived in northern Italy in the late 1950s and encountered pizza for the first time. It was very common to eat pizza with knife & fork if you were seated at a table; only if you ate at the stand-up counter did you just pick it up. I wish I could find pizza that good again.
posted by MovableBookLady at 5:01 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


How to eat street tacos like a Mexican office worker on lunch break:

Remain standing up at all times.
Order 6 tacos with everything.
Throw your tie behind your shoulder, tuck it inside back of shirt.
Hold taco plate in one hand, as far away from your face as possible.
Pick up taco with other hand, using thumb, middle and index fingers only.
Lean head and extend neck forward so mouth and taco meet halfway between plate and body.
Finish eating and wipe hands.
Restore tie to original position.

If you kept taco hand always aligned with centerline of torso and kept plate away from body at all times the tie will naturally cover all salsa stains on shirt.

I hope this 1 minute comment was as informative as the 5 minute videos.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:18 PM on August 17 [17 favorites]


there are plenty of Japanese people with Korean surnames

That hasn't been my experience. All the people I know with Korean names in Japan identify as Korean. People of Korean descent who take Japanese citizenship adopt Japanese names as well.

The sashimi one is a case where they're a bit off (Shim is a Korean surname, not Japanese), but it's still way better than what Bon Appetit did wtih phở.

I really don't see how it's any better. The point though is that Mr. Shim works in a sushi restaurant, so he should be an expert on the topic, whatever his ethnicity.

(On the other hand, he works in an American sushi restaurant, so his advice doesn't entirely match my experience eating in restaurants in Japan.)
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:00 PM on August 17


Oh, and yes, Zagat is terrible. Their reviews are unreadable and their ratings are unreliable. The original New York City version was less terrible.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:04 PM on August 17


MetaFilter: two-fisting it, basically
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:56 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Then, there is the sublime "The Japanese Tradition - Sushi".

Nissan Fairlady Z. Yamato - with cucumber. Delicious.
posted by loquacious at 10:46 PM on August 17


(Shim is a Korean surname, not Japanese)

Do mixed-race people not exist or
posted by divabat at 2:07 AM on August 18


Pizza by the Slice (stop f’ing dabbing! rubber gloves optional?)

I was really, really hoping this video featured the other, no-napkin-needed, kind of dab. Honestly, with the general "out of touch millennial"-ness of the videos it'd totally fit.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:11 AM on August 18


I noped out when the authority on NYC pizza was from Two Boots. I mean, of all the pizza joints in New York City, you're going to pick the one that was founded as a Cajun-Italian restaurant?

Watch the whole thing, but at 2:40 there's a list of far better pizza possibilities.
posted by aureliobuendia at 5:29 AM on August 18


There is nothing so boorishly tiresome than someone telling other people how to eat food.
posted by FakeFreyja at 6:20 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


People of Korean descent who take Japanese citizenship adopt Japanese names as well.

Well, there are plenty of people of Korean descent who are born Japanese citizens, and there is no requirement to take a Japanese name if you become a Japanese citizen. The most obvious example of the latter is Masayoshi Son, who is a Japanese citizen who kept his Korean surname. (Although as a child he used a Japanese surname --- point is it varies by individual).

There are certainly people in Japan who identify as Korean (whether Japanese citizens or not), but there are also Korean-descendents who identify as Japanese (whether technically Japanese citizens or not).

[And in a larger sense, the vast majority of Japanese have at least some Korean ancestry...]
posted by thefoxgod at 2:09 PM on August 18


> there is no requirement to take a Japanese name if you become a Japanese citizen. The most obvious example of the latter is Masayoshi Son, who is a Japanese citizen who kept his Korean surname.

I don't think Son is a good example, as this was not the case at the time Son applied for Japanese citizenship - his initial naturalization application was rejected because his last name was not deemed to be suitably Japanese. He got around this by having his wife, a Japanese citizen, take his last name. He was then able to argue that there was a Japanese person with the last name 'Son', and so was able to keep his Korean last name.
posted by needled at 5:32 PM on August 18


Just remember to drink your tea with your pinky up so you'll have someplace to keep your Salerno Butter Cookie.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:33 AM on August 19


There are certainly people in Japan who identify as Korean (whether Japanese citizens or not), but there are also Korean-descendents who identify as Japanese (whether technically Japanese citizens or not).

Yes, those are both true. I think we're alternately talking about ethnicity and about citizenship, hence the confusion. (Or my confusion anyway.)

More importantly though, I think pretty much everybody I know in Japan - whether they're ethnically Japanese, or they identify as Korean, or their ancestors are from somewhere else - mixes some wasabi into their little dish of soy sauce when they're eating sashimi. (Not when they're eating sushi though.) I'm not saying that Mr. Shim is wrong, just that his pronouncements don't match my experience.
posted by Umami Dearest at 2:27 AM on August 19


I think pretty much everybody I know in Japan mixes some wasabi into their little dish of soy sauce when they're eating sashimi

Yeah, a lot of these "rules" for eating sushi I see are basically like looking at the rules for eating in a fancy Michelin star restaurant and then extrapolating to saying thats how you should eat in America. In practice, when eating cheap sushi people just do what they want and don't worry too much. Some people even scrape the wasabi off their sushi! And I've seen plenty of people dip the rice into soy sauce or whatever.

Similarly, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about which fork I'm supposed to use or w/e if I'm going to the equivalent of Denny's. If you're going to Sukibayashi Jiro, maybe worry about the rules. (My wife said she wasn't interested in trying to get a reservation there because, despite spending her whole life in Japan, she would be far too anxious about doing something wrong)
posted by thefoxgod at 8:01 PM on August 21


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