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Friday, December 12, 2008

"I like seal meat better"

It's curious to see American corporate imperialism show up in the guise of "hamburger taste tests" in remote areas of the world, and even more curious to see it come to Chiang Mai. Somehow they managed to find a Hmong village within 15 minutes of a Burger King and a MacDonald's here. That the Hmong villagers who participated had never had a hamburger is not surprising at all, even tho Chiang Mai has had both franchises for at least ten years and in multiple locations. Nothing about a hamburger except maybe the tomato and lettuce would be familiar to them: bread is not part of their diet; ground meat patties (if you can even call it 'meat') are unknown; and the requisite sauces are boring compared to locally available condiments. The cost alone would not allow them to indulge in such dietary adventurism. And it's just as well. They eat far more healthily and sustainably than most Americans, as do probably most of the other remote groups sought out by the taste testers. Lets hope that this publicity exercise remains just that and does not influence these people to alter their diets. Maybe it will even make those conducting the tests reconsider their eating habits after trying the home cooking of their subjects...maybe.

(I would normally include a link to the site showing the video for these so-called taste tests, but it's getting enough press lately and I just don't feel like contributing to it- check out Huffington Post among other sites. Other regions visited include Romania and Greenland- where seal is the meat of choice.)