What could be better than a plate piled high with all your favourite goodies from the local Chinese?
Many things, according to US audiences, who are currently displaying horrified fascination with Brits’ takeaway dining habits.
UK content creators have been flooding TikTok with videos of themselves showing off substantial styrofoam hauls.
Search for the hashtag “chinesetakeaway” and you’ll be greeted by mounds of noodles, fried rice, spring rolls and, of course, the obligatory prawn crackers, all bundled up in a steaming heap ready to be devoured.
But the trend has provoked fierce rebukes and mockery from American viewers, who can’t fathom how chips, curry sauce and chow mein could be considered a legitimate Chinese meal.
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One TikToker issued an excoriating critique of the craze, saying: “I don't want to judge any culture's cuisine, I don't want to shame anybody for the food that they eat, but British people need to stop with the Chinese food.
“Oh my God, what are you doing? What is that? You guys are ordering six different things, that's got to be so expensive – or is it? I don't know – and you're just dumping it all onto a plate.”
In a questionable attempt at an English accent, she continued: “You're like, ‘Let's plate up a Chinese.’ You always say ‘a Chinese’ you don't say Chinese food.”
She went on: “You're not getting kung pao chicken or anything normal – beef and broccoli, God forbid. It's always like, ‘I'm going to get [...] chips,’ and then they just smother it in curry sauce, egg fried rice, salt and pepper, chicken and chow mein. Then they take a bite and they're like, ‘Gorgeous’.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the horrorshow continued, with one user posting a series of screengrabs alongside the caption: “Just found out what the British call Chinese food, at a loss for words.”
The post racked up more than 580,000 views in two days, as UK commentators jumped to defend the country’s culinary honour.
\u201cJust found out what the british call chinese food, at a loss for words\u201d— dandy (@dandy) 1682918107
“Absolutely nobody in the UK thinks that this is authentic Chinese food,” one wrote. “We know it was made up especially for us to eat when we're absolutely hammered because we have four-year-olds' palettes.”
“This is mainly ‘Chinese Takeaway’ food not proper Chinese food, “ another pointed out. “Orders normally consist of salt and pepper chips, egg fried rice, noodles and some form of protein in a ‘Chinese style’ sauce, don’t think anyone is proclaiming this as proper Chinese food.”
And a third noted: “We call it Chinese food because it's made and sold mostly by Chinese people who live in England.”
Meanwhile, others attempted to turn the tables on the naysayers.
“Just found out what Americans call Italian food,” one quipped.
\u201c@daxdives Just found out what Americans call Italian food \ud83d\udc40\u201d— dandy (@dandy) 1682918107
“Americans don’t get to diss *anyone* else’s food,” commented another.
And another remarked: “Having eaten at the equivalent US version of Chinese food, there is little space for Americans to complain. 100 different varieties of sugared chicken are about as close to Chinese cuisine as this.”
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