While We Are Cracking Down On Illegal Aliens and Other Foreign Malcontents, Can We Put Severe Limits of Foreign College Students Too?

Diep Nguyen, a College first-year from Vietnam, jumped with excitement at the sight of Vietnamese food on Stevenson Dining Hall’s menu at Orientation this year. Craving Vietnamese comfort food, Nguyen rushed to the food station with high hopes. What she got, however, was a total disappointment.

The traditional Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich that Stevenson Dining Hall promised turned out to be a cheap imitation of the East Asian dish. Instead of a crispy baguette with grilled pork, pate, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs, the sandwich used ciabatta bread, pulled pork and coleslaw.

“It was ridiculous,” Nguyen said. “How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?”

Nguyen added that Bon Appétit, the food service management company contracted by Oberlin College, has a history of blurring the line between culinary diversity and cultural appropriation by modifying the recipes without respect for certain Asian countries’ cuisines. This uninformed representation of cultural dishes has been noted by a multitude of students, many of who have expressed concern over the gross manipulation of traditional recipes.

Prudence Hiu-Ying, a College sophomore from China, cited an instance when Stevenson was serving General Tso’s chicken, but the product did not resemble the popular Chinese dish. Instead of deep-fried chicken with ginger-garlic soy sauce, the chicken was steamed with a substitute sauce, which Hiu-Ying described as “so weird that I didn’t even try.”

It just gets worse

According to CDS management, these dishes are a result of Bon Appétit’s foray into nutritional diversity. The food service company has recently been upping their output of cultural dishes in an attempt to diversify students’ options in taste and flavor profile.

“Hopefully, if you dined with us in Stevenson, there would be one thing in every meal that you would want to eat,” said Michile Gross, director of Business Operations and Dining Services.

Perhaps the pinnacle of what many students believe to be a culturally appropriative sustenance system is Dascomb Dining Hall’s sushi bar. The sushi is anything but authentic for Tomoyo Joshi, a College junior from Japan, who said that the undercooked rice and lack of fresh fish is disrespectful. She added that in Japan, sushi is regarded so highly that people sometimes take years of apprenticeship before learning how to appropriately serve it.

“When you’re cooking a country’s dish for other people, including ones who have never tried the original dish before, you’re also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture,” Joshi said. “So if people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative.”

Still, some students are not convinced that Bon Appétit’s menu qualifies as cultural appropriation. Arala Tian Yoon Teh, a College sophomore from Malaysia, said the dining service’s food selections are a reflection of cultural collision, not cultural appropriation. She added that she thought Bon Appétit was inspired by Asian cuisine and just made dishes with the available ingredients.

Gross said Bon Appétit did not intend to serve the dishes disrespectfully and that there is room to correct the issue.

“Maybe what we should do is describe the dish for what it is as opposed to characterizing it with a specific name,” Gross said.

Richard Tran, a Vietnamese-American College senior, suggested that Bon Appétit look into the history and original recipes of the foods they are trying to make, as there are food taboos within cultures they should avoid. Mai Miyagaki, a College junior from Japan, added that a meeting between Bon Appétit employees and international students could help alleviate tensions.

“I wish they could do something like a collaboration with the cultural student [organizations] before starting new stuff like this [sushi bar],” Miyagaki said. “Overall, I think we — including myself — can always learn more about how to admit that we don’t know everything about every culture in the world and have a ‘We’re still trying to learn more’ kind of attitude.”

In line with Miyagaki’s hopes for collaboration, Gross said she is planning on setting up a meeting in upcoming weeks to discuss these issues.

“It’s important to us that students feel comfortable when they are here,” Gross said.


  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Just kick the bitches out.
    Deport them all back to the authentic shitholes they come from, along with a lifetime ban from ever entering the U.S. ever again.
    Maybe with Trump, we really CAN do things like that?
    I hope so!

    • Can they do a quadratic equation and bitch at the same time?

  • Mannie

    {YAWN} You want good Mexican food, go to Mexico. You want good Japanese food, go to Japan. You want good French food, do to France. Otherwise, eat what you like. This “cultural appropriation” bullshit is just that. Bullshit.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      Actually, the best Mexican food in the world is in San Diego.
      Odd that!

  • Brenda

    I hate it when restaurants decide to ‘innovate’ a traditional dish without bothering to warn you. But does it all have to be couched in this racialized jargon?

    Why not demand decent cooking and accurate labelinginstead of blathering about cultural appropriation?

    • Alain

      I agree that whatever their origin dishes should not be called what they clearly are not. That said I also recognise that it is unrealistic to expect authentic foreign cuisine outside of the countries of origin. Even in those same countries one can find major variations of the same dish based on the region and of course the chef.

      • Frances

        Alain – cuisines can travel. Back in the day (and this is waaay back) my father and his friends became afficionados of Chinese cooking and ate many a great – and authentic – meal in the restaurants of their local Chinatown. They got to the point where they had favourite chefs for different dishes; should a chef change restaurants, they would follow.

        I would defy you to say that Italian restaurants in Canada are always less authentic than those in Italy. Same with Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, etc., etc. They may not be identical; chalk that up to “regional variation”.

  • Dana Garcia

    Foreign students pay full freight, so the universities love them. The colleges yap about diversity all day long, but it’s the big tuition checks that make university suits look abroad.

    • Alain

      You get first prize.

  • terrence

    Here is some history of General Tso’s chicken (it is NOT from China)

    General Tso’s chicken may be the emblematic go-to dish at Chinese restaurants across North America but this supposedly Hunan dish is virtually unknown in China.

    In her 2013 cookbook “Every Grain of Rice–Simple Chinese Home Cooking,” Fuchsia Dunlop explains that General Tso’s chicken was actually invented by a Hunanese chef in exile. Peng Chang-kuei fled to Taiwan after the Chinese Revolution (1949-50). He moved to New York City in 1973 where he opened a Hunanese restaurant.

    While Mr. Peng invented General Tso’s chicken in Taiwan, naming it for the Qing Dynasty military leader Tso Tsung-t’ang, he propelled the dish to its current apex of popularity through his former New York restaurant. The original dish was redolent with the flavors of Hunanese cuisine – heavy, sour, hot and salty. In a bid to appeal to his American customers, Mr. Peng added sugar. And it worked! Today, his General Tso’s chicken is widely imitated and widely celebrated.

  • It’s called being an adult.

    I don’t remember complaining when Asians’ attempts at Western food came up terribly short.

    • Alain

      Oh how I can relate to such experiences.

      • I remember Texas toast (light), black tea (well-brewed) and what could be described as “soy-sage”.

        • Alain

          I recall trying to find a real hamburger in Europe and in Japan. Even after they had MacDonalds it was never the real thing. Of course I admit to being able to live without an authentic hamburger, but I was annoyed that they all claimed to provide them. Also in Japan, at least when I lived there, curry was rather popular, but it was not what I consider Indian curry. Nonetheless it was good even if not the real thing.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            I don’t like Indian curry.
            I love Chinese curried chicken.

          • tom_billesley

            One day in Ankara on a whim I thought I’d try a restaurant that offered hamburger and fries. The fries came as a first course, smothered in a heated tomato sauce.

          • It was alright but not the same.

            Tonkatsu, however…

    • ntt1

      I personally witnessed the pain and suffering of a Kiwi news presenter as she failed to receive a decent 3 minute boiled egg while sojourning among the impoverished hill tribe peoples of north west Thailand. oh and no toast .

      • But I bet their pork dip was superb!

        • ntt1

          I don’t remember the pork dip but i do remember the necessity of arming oneself with a large stick to fend off feral pigs as you attended natures call behind a fig tree,pork dishes lost much lustre that trip.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            Note to self: Do not ever eat fig newtons again.

          • ntt1

            fig trees have comfy buttresses and useful root configurations and i don’t think it was that kind of fig more like the domestic ficus benjamina rubber tree i think.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            Still, fig newtons are old people food.

          • ntt1

            never eat ’em and i am older than dirt.

          • I think that’s what you make pork dip out of.

      • Kathy Prendergast

        Gawd, how I hate traveling with fussy eaters! When I lived in China I took a trip to Nanjing with two colleagues, one British and one American. I love traditional Chinese hotpot and convinced them to go to a hotpot restaurant for dinner one night, but when we sat down I found out that the American detested lamb and mutton and the Brit didn’t like beef…these two meats being pretty much the mainstay of hotpot. I just threw up my hands and said “forget it”! and walked out. Then the Brit confessed that what he really wanted was pizza. Nanjing is a pretty big modern city but it’s still China and we were not in a pizza part of town; if they really wanted Western food McDonalds or KFC were pretty much the only options. I convinced them to go to an ordinary ChInese family restaurant which I thought served us a fine meal but I could tell they weren’t very happy about it. I honestly don’t understand what some people expect when they travel abroad. I encountered the same attitudes among many foreigners in Japan, and it drove me nuts.

        • ntt1

          We did get excited if wholewheat toast was available but that was only in the bigger cities, in rural areas we ate what was local,it was always really good. Passed on the boiled cane rat though.

  • kkruger71

    A school cafeteria with bad food? Shocking. Hey dumb-asses, it has nothing to do with cultural insensitivity, but with doing things on the cheap.

  • Spatchcocked

    The zipperheads think we’re inferior as well…..oh well, take a number Charlie…..line forms to the LEFT.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      Zipper heads.
      Thanks Mr. Eastwood.

  • Fredrick. Allen.Ginsberg

    What would these so called students have left if we banned them appropriating white culture? I would love to see a list of all the conveniences they borrow from us.

    • Kathy Prendergast

      Start with our clothes. All Japanese persons must hereafter wear nothing but kimonos and open sandals, regardless of the climate or weather. Wearing Western clothing is an inexcusable act of arrogant cultural appropriation.

  • ntt1

    I share their pain. When i went to Britain in the 70s I missed real hamburgers, all they offered was a tortured meatball encased in a stale roll. at least the Brits had the jam to avoid calling the horror a hamburger and labelled it a “wimpy” instead,

  • simus1

    “Real Chinese” home cooking is far more subtle and nuanced than the usual restaurant or commercial kitchen fare found by foreigners inside or outside China. Pale imitations of wedding feast dishes heavy on the sugar tend to be our forte when it is time to order.
    When it comes to fabulous posted menu fiction with lots of unsupported pizzazz, food service types who run massive dining facilities in the education sector are usually #1.

  • bob e

    the poor effin’ g**ks .. imagine that .

  • Diep Nguyen could have said,

    “Hey… as a newcomer to Canada thanks for offering me Vietnamese cooking to make me feel welcome. I really appreciate it.

    It was tasty and I enjoyed it!

    I’d like to share the traditional method and ingredients. Here are the instructions…

    You folks are wonderful. Thanks for thinking of me!”

    That’s what I would do if someone in Vietnam tried and failed to make me ‘Canadian’ food.

    Or, more likely, I might just shut my mouth, smile and not even mention that it tasted like garbage.

    Is this an ‘invented’ story by the news media? I can’t imagine a visitor being upset that some people tried (and failed) to make them feel welcome.

    Donald Best

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      I would have replied:
      Shut up and eat your rice.

      • Easy there, dance.

        Having spent considerable time in Hanoi, and having Vietnamese folks cut me slack for all my faults, I appreciate the Viet national character and hospitality.

        Perhaps you should travel more. See if you can spend a week or two in Hanoi and you will change your persective.

        All the best,


        • dance…dancetotheradio

          All the Vietnamese I have had the pleasure to have known are fine people.
          I don’t have to live in Hanoi.
          Or travel.
          I grew up in Winnipeg by the university where diversity was just a fact.
          And I worked in banquets for twenty years where it is also a fact.
          I wouldn’t complain about the quality of a burger or an all day breakfast if I ordered it at a Vietnamese restaurant.
          And neither should this guy.

          • Yup… he shouldn’t have complained. But I wonder if he really did? Perhaps the so-called reporter cherry-picked the quotes.

            We really can’t trust the mainstream media, so I always assume that facts as portrayed in the media might not be accurate.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            There seems to be a lot of so called reporters these days.
            The rise of the internet has had the effect of showing that most of the media is comprised of them.

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          I have a lot of uncles that saw North Vietnam from 45,000 feet through a B-52 bombsight.
          Does that count?


          • dance…dancetotheradio

            The Democrats gave away that war.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            They deserve much of the blame, but the Vietnamese deserve much more of the blame for that outcome.
            They were actually in decent shape when we left but their entire officer and political ranks collapsed at the first sign of NVA aggression.
            Almost like the Iraqis, they cut and ran at the first sign of trouble.
            The South Vietnamese deserved their fate as they were an unworthy recipient of any aid, no matter who their leaders were.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            I’ve read that the Democrats refused to honour the pledge that was made to protect the South Vietnamese.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            They did that too but what the South was requesting that precipitated the total cutoff was reinsertion of American troops, replacement of all of their abandoned and lost munitions and equipment, and an amount of aid that was well beyond anything ever supplied previously a few supertankers of refined gas, diesel, and aviation fuel.
            They were just corrupt from top to bottom, they had been selling much of their aid received for the last twenty years out the backdoor, and were just not even close to salvageable, because their own leaders and elites hollowed out the country with wholesale theft and graft.
            There was nothing to save.

        • tom_billesley

          The rare mention of Vietnamese in UK media is when they are arrested as illegals working as gardeners in properties given over to indoor marijuana cultivation.

  • mauser 98

    …this may slow Barry down

    Judicial Watch Sues Obama Administration
    Over Refugee Program

    “The fact we had to file a federal lawsuit to obtain basic information
    about Obama’s dangerous refugee plans should tell Americans (and
    Congress) that the Obama administration has something to hide about
    refugees, terrorism, and national security.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/12/14/judicial-watch-sues-obama-administration-over-refugee-program/#ixzz3ujLJt2D8

  • Frances

    Cultural appropriation and all that nonsense aside, it does seem rather as if the commissariat is turning out seriously mediocre food and then pretending it is foreign fare. I rather suspect the annoyance of the foreign students is due in large part because food presented as “theirs” is so gross.

  • vimy

    I worked in a Chinese restaurant for almost 10 years and I have it on good authority that absolutely everything on the menu we know as Chinese food was invented in the west mostly by Chinese immigrants.

    All the Chinese cuisine was cooked by Asians, us round eyes only got to cook western food.

    at the end of the day when they all sat down for a late supper they never ever touched anything off of their own menu but what they did cook to eat looked so strange it was almost scary but man it was good. Oh and always rice plain white rice no matter what.

    • Brett_McS

      I’ve been to Western China where it is mostly desert, and they don’t have rice. It was strange to eat Chinese food without rice. But you are right, it is very different from the “Chinese” food found in the west.

      • Kathy Prendergast

        Yep, bread is the staple food there, also more common than rice in the north, which was fine with me when I traveled in both these regions. I do love rice too, though. I learned that in the parts of China where rice (“mifan”) is a staple, it is usually served at the very end of the meal, not along with the other dishes, unless you ask for it to be served “xin zai” (“now’).

  • BillyHW

    We need to stop selling out our kids. Canadian schools for Canadian students.

  • Kathy Prendergast

    Yes, their complaints are totally reasonable, because of course when Western food is served in their countries it is always done just right in the way that Westerners expect….not like Japanese ever do bizarre things with pizza like put corn or potatoes or mayonnaise on it, or serve red wine chilled and white wine at room temperature…nor do “Western” restaurants in China bring you your dessert first, when they have dessert on the menu at all, or fail to include a salad with your order, or serve your soup at room temperature, or give you a blank look if you ask for salt and pepper on your table, or extra Parmesan cheese…but seriously, yes, that is generally what you get when you go seeking “Western” food in those countries and no-one should be surprised or disappointed because YOU ARE NOT IN THE WEST and should really just learn to enjoy the food that the locals enjoy, unless you’re willing and able to pay through the nose at some truly high-end restaurant every time you eat out. I would give exactly the same advice to these arrogant imperious foreign students at American universities who are annoyed that cheap campus fast food does not meet their exacting cultural standards. If you don’t like it, f*** off home.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Fire the entire staff, fire the food service contractors, fire everyone everywhere. Then put the snowflakes on the line making the food, teaching the classes, balancing the books, keeping the lights on and so forth.

  • Malcolm Y

    Just tell those little bastards they’re getting English food from now on. After a month of bangers and mash for supper they’ll be happy with a inauthentic Bang My Dik sandwich or whatever it’s called.