In terms of Asian travel, the closest I have gotten to it is driving to pick up some honey chicken from my local Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, I am yet to fully experience travelling abroad to an Asian country and soak up all it has to offer within its culture.
Growing up in a small town, my exposure to Asian culture was minimal. I remember occasionally seeing some anime on TV, but I never actually watched it, I was more of a Saddle Club kind of girl. My family holiday in Melbourne as a child introduced me to Chinatown. The buildings were beautiful and the food we ate for lunch was even better. When I was 11 years old, two Chinese sisters started at my school. Being a town without much diversity, all the students were so intrigued by them and asked all sorts of questions about their previous home, we even wanted to organise an excursion to their village. Soon enough they pretty much became professional Mandarin teachers with everyone wanting to be their best friends. For most of us, it was our first real exposure to a culture outside our own, it was so innocent.
As I grew older and moved out into the world, I realised there was one main aspect of Asian culture I really enjoyed and couldn’t escape – the food. From sushi to tom yum we are spoilt for choice and it’s all delicious.
As much as I love what is on offer here in Australia, I am still intrigued by what else is out there. Video platform YouTube is where I do most of my research on these unknown foods. Japan is probably the most commonly featured country in my viewings I mean who wouldn’t want to try all those flavours of KitKat?!
Or try canned bread from a vending machine? Maybe that isn’t for everyone…
It is so interesting to see all the different foods and flavours I am yet to try. You can see the culture embedded within the products, they reflect the needs and wants of the nation in the form of flavour.
Over the past two years, a trend that started in South Korea has really taken over YouTube with ‘mukbang’s’ becoming common content on many popular vlogger’s channels.
The word ‘mukbang‘ is a combination of ‘meokneun’ which means eating and ‘bangsong‘ which means broadcast.
The individual’s film themselves eating while answering questions from their viewers or subscribers.
I think the exploration of food and its consumption via YouTube could be a good topic to study for my autoethnography project. Food is something everyone enjoys and can relate to, I mean we literally need it to stay alive.