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Is ‘Chinese Food’ the worst song of the year?

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Egg rolls and chow m-m-m-m-mein are all the rage on the Internet this week, but not necessarily for their gustatory appeal. We’re talking about the song “Chinese Food,” by teen-pop singer Alison Gold, which debuted Monday on YouTube and already dubbed by Time magazine as “the worst song of the year.”

The song itself, with its candy-coated production and laundry list of favorite Chinese foods, seems innocent enough. But it’s the music video, and the dim sum-like assortment of Asian stereotypes, that’s soured people on the song.

Among the imagery:

* Producer Patrice Wilson rapping in a Charlie Chan styled voice while wearing a panda suit.

* A dog figurine placed on Oriental Avenue on a Monopoly board.

* Young girls dancing around in geisha outfits - and hey, if you’re going to stereotype, at least don’t confuse Japanese traditions in a tune about Chinese food.

All that’s missing in the video is a fortune cookie that says, “Take a wok on the wild side.”

“Chinese Food” also inspired some epic ranting on Twitter by Eddie Huang, the ever outspoken chef and restaurateur behind the best-selling memoir, “Fresh of the Boat.” Sample tweet: “ARE U IDIOTS AT BILLBOARD SUPPORTING THIS RACIST (EXPLETIVE)?”

So what’s next for Wilson and his latest would-be singing sensation? An ode to soul food or Indian cuisine sung by another would-be Hannah Montana?

Wilson is the same producer behind “Friday” by Rebecca Black, another Internet song sensation that earned its own “worst song of the year” nods in 2011. Food plays prominently in another Wilson production, “It’s Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook, with its video imagery of turkey and mac ‘n’ cheese and lyrics that reflect Thanksgiving food favorites.

The video for “Chinese Food” currently has meanwhile logged a whopping 5.2 million views and counting on YouTube. Feel free to add to that tally by clicking this link, and decide for yourself if everyone’s just getting too PC here or if “Chinese Food” deserves its widespread bashing.

Read more articles by Chris Macias

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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