September 1, 2008

Street Food Videos from Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera's English channel has a street food series available on YouTube (h/t to noodlepie). The series is a truly international look at what the locals eat from Israel to Penang, London to Nairobi, and many points in between. The introduction to the first of the Beijing episodes made me laugh because Al Jazeera's take on modern China is exactly the same easy paradoxes as you'd expect from CNN or Fox News. They make up for the intro by immediately following it up with the stylings of Chinese chef turned rapper Crazy Chef, who guides the presenter around Wangfujing's snack street. Much of the video will be old news to anyone who has visited Beijing, but it is worth the watch for Crazy Chef alone, and there are some other gems as well, particularly for connoisseurs of Beijing-hua and those interested in glimpses into Beijing's street food past. The second video in the series scratches below the surface a little more to look at China's changing diet. The second video was interesting but gave me an uneasy feeling of deja vu. The tone of the video is almost the same tone as the global media, particularly European media, takes towards the US. Not the blatantly critical kind, but the kind that says, "you may be a superpower, but look at what it's done to you..." Beijing Gourmand wonders how long it will be before there are China sequels to Supersize Me and Fastfood Nation.

Update: Chinese health is trending towards obesity

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