Month: October 2019


Noah, Marcus Matthew and Fadilla have decided to research bubble tea cultures after the realisation that the craze for it was growing so rapidly, that it had truly become a curious subject.

We have members that have previous exposure and members that have none, and so we split the project to give us a chance to analyse ourselves, and how we view it as both outsiders and insiders to the bubble tea community. We then brought this comparison and recorded our epiphanies.

We approached a digital artefact of youtube videos and sound-cloud podcasts, of us interacting with bubble tea and sharing our experiences. This follows with Ellis et al’s (2011) argument that important qualities of good auto ethnography includes firstly approaching a field site, then documenting the experiences and observations, and gathering epiphanies.


finally spilling the tea.

by Marcus Lazarevski.

Below is a quick podcast style audio journal entry detailing my first experience of trying the craze that is Bubble Tea.

By finally giving in to the hype surrounding Bubble Tea, I have now established an thorough understanding of what all the fuss is about. I could also say I have developed a better connection to Asian culture and cuisine through this entire experience.

As spoken about throughout my recording, there is no doubt the bubble tea trend is exploding across the world, especially with younger females in particular. Myself being a bit older, I found it interesting yet not something that makes me want to go out of my way to purchase or indulge in. It may however be different for other individuals.

Mathew and Fadilla, two of the other members of our group, have previous experience with bubble tea, where as Noah and I had none at all. After Noah and I paired with Mathew and Fadilla, we were all intrigued and knew straight away we wanted to talk about this topic.

Drinking bubble tea for the first time was overall a positive experience for myself. The flavour and the unique experience of the tea were definitely stand outs. The service however was the only let down that I identified over the entire process.

Regardless of all this, I’m excited for the next time I choose to drink Bubble Tea, whenever that may be.

making homemade bubble tea.

by Matthew Favaloro and Fadilla Saniputri, research post by Matthew.

In the video above, we tried to make our favourite bubble tea that is recently trending allover the world: Tiger Brown Sugar Bubble Tea.

We read a recipe and tried to make it all through memory without constantly looking at the recipe, and filmed this experience. Fortunately, it was a success. It tasted very similar and more beneficially, we were able to add our own kind of milk.

The process of learning how to make bubble tea, was thoroughly enjoyable and rather simple. 

I grew up being isolated from any varied culture, so I would never have looked twice at a bubble tea stall and never would have ventured to explore such a strange drink. Bubble tea used to appear to me as an Asian ‘bizarreness’, something that I used to not wish to get to know any further. This is mostly due to my upbringing and my segregated culture knowledge. I’m sure my parents, for instance, would view the drink the same way I did and feel it would be too strange for them. 

But through recent exposure to more cultures, I have become far more frequent with looking for a sweet milk drink. This may be due to making it myself, and breaking the drink down to its raw materials. 

The first time I bought the pearls to try cooking them myself, I was surprised with how tough and ‘un-squishy’ they were. If you squeezed them, they would turn to dust. This really was quite different to how it felt when you chew on them after they’ve been boiled in water.

After biting down on the tapioca pearls, you will be surprised at its soft, squishy but still a little chewy texture. This experience is strange for everyone who is trying it for the first time and I had the same feeling with my first time. I remember not being entirely sure if I liked them at all at first consumption, because I was drinking this drink for refreshment, not amusement or a snack. I was put off by them blocking the straw for a second to give me something bland instead of sweet like the drink, but it really was a thing of amusement. I then seemed to look for the pearls, just to chew on them and enjoy their texture throughout my drink. I have now reached a stage where I’m sad when I have eaten all of the pearls and still have tea left over.

Furthermore, the interviewing process really opened my eyes to some of the strange differences that the two cultures have. These kinds of things which they observed from their work, were interesting and has made me very self-conscious about what I order now, and it will make me watch other people closer to see the trends which they mentioned. 

I now question why it can be looked over, as it has such variety and can be suited to fit a lot of people’s personal tastes I would say.

popping my tapioca pearl.

by Noah Anderson.

A short podcast detailing my initial thoughts, prior misconceptions, my first experience ordering and drinking the tea and my final comments on the phenomena, as both a drink and as a whole i.e. the craze, the media, the popularity.

On reflection, from my first experience with bubble tea i now see i have developed a better understanding and i guess you could say connection to the phenomena. It’s hard to ignore the growth in popularity the drink is undergoing, and as spoken in my podcast the drink as an object is easily recognisable and the craze surrounding the young female demographic (though not limited to) is something that is prominent within the bubble tea space. I am inclined to believe that such a drink is both popular but normal within taiwanese and other asian cultures, therefore fair to say that it is comparable to boost juice in my own demographic. Boost is a very common refreshment that originated in Australia and is now a multi-billion dollar franchise. My friends, family and surrounding group are both highly familiar with juice and enjoy it unanimously. When speaking to Fadilla and Matt who are quite used to and enjoy Bubble Tea, it became known that this environment is replicated very similarly in an asian context.

This i find interesting and cool and upon reflection, does seem obvious that this would be the case, but being an outsider looking in, i never found myself the reason or incentive to notice such things.

My own experience with Bubble Tea was positive in regards to flavour, service and experience. The stall was as clean if not more so than it’s competitor in boost juice and the employees were just as friendly and welcoming. As a customer these factors influence the experience and although i identified the particularly slow process of making the bubble tea, this was something that did not deter me in any way. Something that did deter me though was the price. As i stated in the podcast, for the product i payed for although nice, was not worth the $8+ it cost. This i admit may be due to my safe choice of chocolate milk bubble tea, though nevertheless with mix ins the price will begin to rocket further, no matter the flavour.

As a phenomenon in the media and as a fad, i can see the attractiveness of the drink, particularly the tapioca pearls as they do make the drinks more enticing and fun for the younger demographic. Me being a bit older, i don’t quite subscribe to the “fun” of the pearls, noting that after trying them i was even less intrigued by the mix ins. If such a stigma exists against bubble tea labelling it as stupid or a novelty experience, i can safely say these aren’t wholly justified as it is comparable to Boost naming their juices such things as Mango Magic or Banana Buzz. When i say “these aren’t wholly justified”  i say this because of the fact that there are a couple cases concerning excessive amounts of tapioca pearls being stuck in the stomachs of young girls. This is a very worthy deterrent and one that i know affected the way i felt when trying the pearls in my friends drink.

I think when being critical of the bubble tea and such things as the youtube videos it has spurred; with girls bathing in the tapioca pearls etc. it is extremely important not to dismiss it as stupid or weird, as i know that there are an abundance of videos that fit well into the same realm of oddity, but being from my own background or others.

the culture of bubble tea.

by Matthew Favaloro and Fadilla Saniputri, research post by Fadilla.

Bubble tea is a drink that is now world-widely known but it’s roots are in Taiwan. Many people are involved in the evolving popularity of the drink – whether it be local or global.

In conclusion, the video above discusses Assad Khan as a global contributor via his bubble tea shop, ‘Bubbleology’ and listens to the Asian workers in Australia compare how people are drinking bubble tea in Australia and back in their home country.

We approached interactive interviews for more information, and to ‘illustrate how a community manifests particular social/cultural issue.’ [Ellis et al, 2011] The ability for us to intimately understand people’s experiences and collaborate further with the participants on the culture of bubble tea, made us feel like we were also becoming a bigger part of this ‘community’ (as we even ordered bubble tea from them beforehand). Being able to interview these workers within the bubble tea field site setting truly brought out stories that were beneficial to our research encounter. Additionally, interviewing the worker was more ideal than a customer, as it allowed us to view the whole community (both the foreigners and the locals) through the one worker who interacts with them all.

Below is an in-depth short collection of interviews.

After having this conversation, we were further provoked to see how we (as different cultural beings) were responding to bubble tea, ourselves. Matthew Favaloro, as a Tamworth-born Australian male, and I, an Indonesian-born female, have also had our different exposures to it.

Interestingly enough, with our friendship, we have now got a more similar view toward bubble tea than we both used to when we were younger. We have both fell victim to the delicious ‘Tiger Sugar Fresh Milk’!

After the interview and analysing ourselves and our initial responses toward bubble tea, we both discovered that many people may be introduced to bubble tea differently but may now be reunited at a similar point where they currently experience the concept of drinking bubble tea the same.

We found that collaboratively conducting the interview and discussion of the local and global (insider and outsider) responses together, with two members of society that are actually singular parts of the different categories, we were able to fully teach each other about the other side. For example, Matthew (local) told me (global) that his family’s lack of exposure to bubble tea may cause them to never end up trying bubble tea, whilst he was exposed to it when he began to work in Sydney. It gave me an epiphany that asian people like me, were prematurely exposed to the drink but if any Australians know about it, it’s mostly due to exposure. I was even happier when I realised Australians tend to be widening their knowledge, as different members of society are investing in all the different services and products from allover the world. Because, in my eyes, the asian people in Australia are equally invested in learning about different things in the Asian culture – such as trying Boost or Vegemite.

This layered account auto ethnography I have written in this post, is a data collection that has presented a ‘source of questions and comparisons’ [Charmaz, cited by Ellis et all. 2011] and showcases a simultaneous report of data processing and research, with the additional comments on how these new information have impact on me.


KARPINSKI, R. (2011) ‘Beyond the bubble (tea)’, Entrepreneur, 39(10), pp. 128–133. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2019).
Ducci, M. ( 1 ) and Syskowski, S. (no date) ‘An aesthetic foray into chemistry: Chemical reactions in bubble tea balls’, Chemie in Unserer Zeit, 52(6), pp. 390–397. doi: 10.1002/ciuz.201800805
Jennings, R. (2017) ‘Taiwan Flies South’, Forbes Asia, 13(8), p. 012. Available at: (Accessed: 19 October 2019).

Instant Noodle Mukbang



Mukbang, a phenomenon that has recently taken over not only Asian platforms but platforms all around the world. With slight hesitation to the idea of the concept, we both decided to immerse ourselves into the mukbang culture to see what all the ‘hype’ was about for our group Digital Artifact this semester. We intended to indulge in this concept first by watching other creators videos to gain insight as to what these videos actually are before attempting ourselves. 

mukbang-diva-jezte-online-a-s-trochou-stesti-vydelate-miliony-3-615x360.jpgMukbangs are a YouTube trend that was started in 2010 and originated in South Korea. During a Mukbang the creator consumes a large portion of food while narrating and interacting with their audience. These Mukbang creators are gaining substantial benefits from uploading this content and making money. Mukbang creators make their money through either ad revenue if uploaded on Youtube or through live streaming being sent donations and gifts of money…

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Throughout the semester we have been asked to engage in autoethnography practices in relation to Digital Asia. Our group project was an opportunity to put our learning into practice and truly undertake autoehtnography research and present it in a digital artefact.

As a group we all have a collective interest in make-up, beauty and the online beauty community, making us passionate about educating ourselves about the beauty scene in South Korea. We each have been raised with a similar cultural framework that translated into all members having similar views, beliefs and experiences. 

In relation to our group artefact we collectively chose a topic we all heavily understood and engaged with in our Western context – make up. We frequently engage in the beauty community online through social media sites. The interactive platforms and YouTube are major influences on our buying habits of make-up products. Through online tutorials this expands to application methods and full looks or styling.

There are a multitude of differences between Australian and Korean makeup and beauty standards. Australia’s makeup trends are often heavily influenced by Youtubers and the online beauty community. South Korea also have a vast beauty community with a large online following. 

Beauty in South Korea is seen as a commodity and there is immense pressure to achieve the ‘perfect’ look. South Korean women are encouraged to aim for pale skin, big eyes, a high nose bridge, skinny legs, cherry-like lips, a small face and a nine-to-one body ratio, where the body is nine times as long as the face. (Guardian, 2018)

Undertaking this DA meant extensive research into the reasoning and history of South Korean makeup and beauty standards. The research helps us deepen our understanding of the culture and consider how the history of South Korean beauty standards influences modern practices.

Recently South Korean beauty has had an immense impact on western beauty trends. Australians are now opting for more ‘natural’ and ‘glowy’ makeup looks- a trend that has been ingrained in South Korean society for years. The famous ‘10 step skincare regime South Koreans use to achieve their ‘glass-like’ skin has made its way to Australian waters and is now praised by Australian beauty bloggers and makeup gurus such as Shani Grimmond and Cartia Mallan.

In Australia, government trade figures show Korean cosmetic imports had almost doubled from 2014 and 2015, reaching almost 18 million dollars and are estimated to reach 7.2 billion US dollars in global sales by 2020. (Guardian, 2018)

Drawing on our limited experience and knowledge about South Korean makeup and beauty we had a number of preconceived ideas about what our experience would be like. Overall we all knew that South Koreans favoured pale skin and big eyes, but were unsure about the reasoning behind this. 

We decided to present our DA in the form of photos and a time-lapse videos to demonstrate the process of learning Korean makeup techniques. We each chose a different Korean makeup tutorial or photo to follow as this gave us a variety of inspiration to draw from. We also searched Pinterest for similar inspirations.

As a part of the experience we decided to visit Asian stores that sold popular South Korean beauty products and cosmetics around Wollongong. We all visited Bubbleberry- a store that sells bubble tea, frozen yoghurt and Korean cosmetics. We all took note that the store had a large focus on bright and fluro colours, which can also be seen in the cosmetics they sold.

Ellis (2011) defines epiphanies as “remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life.” Throughout this experience each member experienced epiphanies that correlated to their cultural framework and past experiences.


I attended make-up school a number of years ago as I was extremely passionate about make-ip. I consider myself well versed in make-up trends and techniques and had a solid knowledge of the latest and best products. Throughout make-up school they taught techniques that would enhance the appearance of the traditional ‘western’ appearance. They lacked education about cultural techniques and trends. 

I didn’t know that Koreans prefer to have straight brows and do their eyeliner in a downward motion to widen the eyes, as I had always been taught to flick the eyeliner upwards. Overall, this experience educated me on different trends and techniques that I will implement in the future.


This interest really came to light in 2017 when I went on a family holiday to Cairns. With it being a hot spot for tourists there was a variety of people. One thing I really kept noticing throughout my adventures on my holiday was how different their make-up looked to mine.

The rosey/peach tones mixed with porcelain skin was almost the opposite of anything I had ever done in my experimentation with make-up. Being bronzed and sculpted were the key elements. The Korean method of having vibrant colour was thing aspect that definitely stood out to me which is usually located on the lips, eyes and cheeks.


While doing my korean style makeup timelapse, I had an epiphany where I have created a look like this before for dance concerts when I was younger; the bright red lip, light coloured eye shadow and pale foundation were used on me when I danced to a Japanese style cultured dance. 

Probably would not do this again as my makeup is of a different shade than the natural korean look and the powder made my skin very dry. The lipstick was also of a low quality and took a few attempts to fully cover my lips.


 I found an image on Pinterest when I searched ‘Korean makeup’ a common theme was light, pale, peachy and highlighted looks with little emphasis on brows and eyelashes unlike Australia/western makeup trends. The blush in many images was what stood out to me when attempting to recreate the look. I also picked up a Korean gold mask and applied this before the makeup to give me the glow that is achieved with many of the looks.

There is a reason why different cultures do their makeup differently not just relating to beauty standards. Various makeup looks do generally suit races and face shapes etc. I feel without the beauty standards present in Australia i.e contouring my face almost looked flat and I also think the peach colours brought out the redness in my skin.



,Edmonds, M 2019, ‘How Makeup Works’, How Stuff Works, viewed 11 Ocotber 2019,

Ellis C, Adams T E, & Bochner A P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1

Giakoumelos, P 2016, ‘From beauty balms to snail-slime moisturiser, cosmetic production is one of South Korea’s fastest-growing industries.’ SBS News, viewed 18 October,

Haas, B ‘Escape the corset’: South Korean women rebel against strict beauty standards,’ The Guardian, viewed 15 October 2019,

Hyo-Won, L 2018, ‘The complex culture and history behind ‘K-beauty,’ Nikkei Asian Review, viewed 13 Octover 2019,

Influencer Marketing 2019, ‘How Social Media is Shaping the Beauty Industry’, Influencer Marketing, 25 June, viewed 10 October 2019,

Nihei, M 2018, ’10 Best Korean Beauty Brands’, Japan Wireless, 24 August, viewed 18 October,

Pinterest. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2019].

Urquhart, M 2019, ‘These are the 10 best Australian makeup brands you need to know about’, Marie Claire, 5 August, viewed 18 October 2019,

Trying Japanese egg cuisine!

Japanese cuisine has been influenced by the food customs of other nations but has modified them to create its own unique cooking style and eating habits.

Two significant foreign influences on Japan were China around 300 BC when some Japanese went to China to learn about the Tang Dynasty’s constitution and cultures and the U.S. occupation of Japan following World War II. Much of what we know about Japanese cuisine and culture today can be traced back to China. Rice, domestic chicken, soy sauce and tea, all originated in China.

For our DA, we focused on Japanese egg cuisine, or ‘Tamago’ as it is called in Japan. We chose this focus as Tamago is a staple of the Japanese diet, often cooked at home and enjoyed in the bento boxed lunch.

According to the International Egg Commission, the average Japanese person eats around 320 eggs per year, placing it in the Top 3 worldwide. In comparison, the average American eats around 245 eggs per year (Barry 2018).

Eggs are enjoyed in many sweet and savoury dishes, and we decided to try one of each: tamagoyaki, a sweet egg roll, and omu-rice, a savoury omelette cover on fried rice. Additionally, both of these dishes have featured on Japanese media that we have consumed, including the popular TV show Midnight Diner.

To ensure an authentic experience of Japanese cuisine, Leah (our cook) followed the instructions of Japanese YouTubers and the Japanese chefs on Midnight Diner. Through this, we found that the sweet egg roll is the firm staple side dish in the bento boxed lunch and that the dish is enjoyed both hot and cooled down. To have a bento boxed lunch experience, Leah prepared the tamagoyaki four hours before filming, which is the way the meal is typically consumed in the boxed lunch.

Additionally, we learnt that the omelette rice is a perfect example of how Japanese cuisine has been influenced by China and America. It is served with Chinese fried rice as the base, and a Western-style soft omelette as the cover. Westernisation after WW2 brought new ingredients like tomato ketchup to Japan.

Through our auto-ethnographic study, we learnt that our immediate reactions and epiphanies were shaped by our sense of familiarity with the foods. The omelette rice felt more nostalgic and familiar to us due to our proximity to the western diet, whereas, the tamagoyaki felt unfamiliar. Additionally, this provided an interesting insight into how western and Chinese culture has influenced Japanese consumption and cooking of eggs.

Food is an important part of the culture in both Australia and Japan. In both countries, traditional food culture and the act of eating a meal ties in with a larger cultural identity, as well as a means for socialisation and celebration. It’s notable to say that the unique food cultures in Australia and Japan have been influenced in a way by the eating customs of other nations and cultures all over the world. Due to this, there are both similarities and differences that we have identified whilst doing this digital artefact.

Immigration leading to the multicultural society we now have in Australia has meant that what we now know to be Australian food culture has been largely influenced by places like the United States, the UK, and Asia. Wahlqvist (2002) notes that “Australia’s food and health patterns are inextricably and increasingly linked with Asia” with traditional foods, cooking facilities, techniques, and utensils now commonly used in Australian households. In our homes and in restaurants in Australia, we consume dishes from all over the world, often known as fusion cuisine. In this way, we can see key similarities between the Japanese food we tried and the food we regularly consume in Australia.

Popular Japanese dishes have also been influenced by the United States and other western countries. The Omu-rice which we taste-tested in our video is recognised as a western-influenced dish. Brooks (2018) notes that “After World War II, the influence of Western cooking and the accessibility to ingredients such as ketchup, onions, green peppers, and meat made it easier for restaurants and families to make this tasty meal.” Along with many other meals, Omu-rice is served in western diners in Japan and is a simple and nostalgic traditional dish. As we state in the video, when trying the two dishes, Millie and myself both preferred the Omu-rice because it tasted familiar which makes sense when learning of the origins of the dish. Although neither of us had previously tried Omu-rice, it felt similar to an omelette or scrambled eggs covering fried rice, all things that are commonly eaten in homes in Australia.

Through our autoethnographic research, we have described our personal experience to understand deeper cultural experiences, and through the analysis of our own personal and cultural understandings, we’ve been able to gain further insight into interesting facets of Japanese egg cuisine and food culture more broadly.

Ellis et al. (2011) argue that “auto-ethnographers… use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” A key element of this is to explore ‘epiphanies’ or key understandings during the research project and consider the ways others may experience similarities.

Epiphanies are lightbulb moments in our research experience that are made possible by being aware of our own culture throughout the field study, which makes insiders and outsiders able to recognise cultural features distinctly. At the beginning of our reaction video we each introduced ourselves and our cultural background. This highlighted our position in relation to the research and helped outsiders understand our epiphanies. As Pitard (2017) would say, for a reader to trust the perspective of a qualitative researcher, “the disclosure of the researcher’s position in relation to the data is vital.”

The epiphanies of Lydia and I are recorded throughout our reaction video to trying Japanese egg cuisine. Due to our lived experience of growing up in Australia, our relationship and experience were different from Leah who grew up in China with connection to Japanese cuisine from a very young age. This is why we decided to overlay audio of Leah cooking the Japanese meals that she loves and is somewhat familiar with and include Lydia and I’s reaction to the meals that we had never tried before.

Notably, an example of an epiphany that we experienced was the significance of chopsticks. Lydia and I both recognised chopsticks as an important part of Japanese and Asian food culture, however, we did not understand the wider significance or history behind them. Leah, being from China, had much greater knowledge on this topic and knew that chopsticks originally came from China. Combining our personal and cultural understandings with our autoethnographic fieldwork, we came to understand that Korea, China and Japan all use chopsticks of varying length, shape and material. Chopsticks were originally created as a cooking utensil, however, are now commonly used for consumption of food as well.

Additionally, an interesting epiphany that Lydia and I experienced stemmed from the fact that neither of us had eaten egg in the way that the Japanese cuisine presented it. Tamagoyaki, the sweet egg roll, is a meal that consists only of egg and is very popular across Japan. Japanese cuisine tends to isolate ingredients so that each is very recognisable in a meal. This differs from the way we usually consume egg as a secondary ingredient that may be unidentifiable by taste or smell in a western diet. These epiphanies were made possible by possessing our particular cultural identities whilst being part of another culture.

By Millie, Lydia and Leah.


  • Barry J 2018, ‘Egg Consumption Booming’, Australian Eggs 
  • Brooks R 2018, ‘The Japanese Omurice: A Brief History & Best Places to Try It’, TripZilla 
  • Ellis C, Adams T E, & Bochner A P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1
  • Nye J 2011, ‘The Future of Power’, PublicAffairs
  • Pitard J 2017, ‘A Journey to the Centre of Self: Positioning the Researcher in Autoethnography’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18:3
  • Reynolds C 2012, ‘The Soft Power of Food: A Diplomacy of Hamburgers and Sushi?’, Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Wahlqvist M 2002, ‘Asian migration to Australia: food and health consequences’, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 11, Issue 3, pp. 562-568
  • Link to Google Slides