Time Out London has sparked online outrage after comparing eating xiaolongbao, the iconic Chinese soup dumplings, to popping pimples.
In a video, posted on Time Out London’s Facebook page to promote Dumplings Legend restaurant, diners can be seen poking the traditional dumplings with chopsticks.
The clip was accompanied by the caption: “Love popping spots AND eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings at Dumplings Legend.”
According to Shanghaiist, many Asian foodies found the promotion offensive and felt the need to show the the proper way to eat xiaolongbao.
“This video is giving me anxiety because you are definitely NOT supposed to squeeze the soup out of them or ‘explode’ them as you crudely put it. my traditional food is not here just for your next cool trend,” one viewer said.
Another wrote: “Time Out London This is not how you eat soup dumplings. Popping soup dumplings is the equivalent of smearing jam all over your plate/dining table and eating your toast plain, while taking loads of videos where you look like a complete fool. I wasn’t aware that this site would recommend what is essentially wasting food/playing with your food.”
And another one commented: “White people love to experience other culture in their own way, without knowing what’s good, what’s bad, what’s respectful, what’s disrespectful. Ayyyyy white people the superior race!”
Online publication AsiaOne criticized Time Out London in an open letter, saying: “Dear TimeOut London, xiaolongbaos are not like exploding pimples.”
Meanwhile, Gothamist threw some shade in an instructional video: “The soup from a soup dumpling is not meant for your bowl—it’s meant for your belly!”
Since the massive backlash, Time Out London told the BBC that they do in fact know how to eat xiaolongbao, and just popped the dumplings for the amusement of their audience:
“We love nothing more than discovering and celebrating incredible food from around the world. We burst soup dumplings to show people in our video the delicious soup that was inside them, so they could enjoy the visual treat of the broth that is tasted but not seen.
“Later on, you see the journalist biting into the unburst dumpling and enjoying the ‘explosion’ on her taste buds.”
In response to the blowback, Time Out has issued an apology on its website and asked readers to send in their culinary recommendations: “After our recent video on Chinese dumplings, we’ve been politely informed that bursting these lovely little parcels of culinary joy before they reach your lips really isn’t the done thing at all.”