US dating show The Bachelor shows contestants eating 'nasty' food in Singapore, offends almost everyone

Candice Cai
AsiaOne
Jan 30, 2019

When will Westerners learn not to mess with our food? 

A recent episode of The Bachelor which was shot in Singapore has been slammed for perpetuating nasty stereotypes about Asian food after contestants were filmed expressing varying degrees of disgust at dishes they were presented.

Even more than that, the backdrop of the segment and the types of food shown were also criticised for being totally unrepresentative of our culture.

Here's what reportedly went down: Bachelor Colton Underwood and his host of potential mates were whisked to our sunny island, presumably to experience life as a "Crazy Rich Asian".

They went on a day out at the "market", which by the way, is actually Chinatown, where they squirmed their way through a session of leech therapy (?) followed by lunch at the Chinatown Food Street.

And to quote a Washington Post report, "off they went, rehashing some of the ugliest American stereotypes about Asian food".

In a clip posted online by The Bachelor Insider, the cameras focused on the dishes of pigs' intestines and chicken feet that were trotted out, and the predictable disgust of everyone at the table.

"Pig's feet — ewwwww!" exclaimed one woman. “Wait, will I die?” asked another.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought, but I think we'll have to see how I feel, in an hour or so," said yet another contestant to the camera.

One woman who claimed to have eaten "a lot of foreign foods" on her travels, said to cameras after her meal that she felt queasy, and promptly threw up into a nearby garbage bin.

Nice.

Granted, we're sure producers had chosen the most unusual dishes (think chicken feet, pigs' intestines) for dramatic effect.

But don't get us going on how Westerners continue to confuse 'exotic' and 'Asian' cuisine - two debatable points - along with what's truly Singaporean.

Given that the episode was filmed in Singapore, the 'fight' got personal. 

But Singaporeans weren't the only ones who got offended.

In 2017, a video on Singapore hawker food which inexplicably showed chilli crab fries and amb rendang mee pok, eaten with keropok no less, had Singaporeans up in arms over the gross misrepresentation. 

Months before that, TimeOut London likened the Shanghainese delicacy of xiaolongbaos to "pus-filled pimples".

Thing is, just because they are strange to Western palates does not mean they are in any way "dirty" or "unsophisticated", a point put across by Washington Post.

We concur.

candicec@sph.com.sg

AsiaOne