News

David Sedaris gets pretty offensive while discussing his hatred for Chinese food

Pin it

David Sedaris talks about Chinese food

Isn't it terrible when you realize that two things you really like hate each other? Like when your best friend confesses he's always kind of hated your boyfriend, or when a cute dog gets in a fight with your dog as you're walking him. Or, when one of your favorite gay satirists confesses his weird, biting hatred of the world's most delicious food. Writing in The Guardian, David Sedaris goes on a bit of a tear about how disgusting the food in China is — and in the process, comes off as bit of a dick. 

"It was while eating my second duck tongue that the man at the next table hacked up a loud wad of phlegm and spat it on to the floor," he writes. "'I think I'm done,' I said."

Later, Sedaris writes about eating a rooster: "Here, though, I thought of the sanitation grade, and of the rooster, pecking maggots out of human faeces before being killed. Most of the restaurants in China to me smelled dirty, though what I was smelling was likely some unfamiliar ingredient, and I was allowing the things I'd seen earlier in the day — the spitting and snot blowing, etc — to fill in the blanks."

I have a few things to say about this. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties living in mainland China, and while duck tongue is certainly an option, no one is forcing you (or probably even encouraging you) to order it. The other parts of the duck, however, are notably delicious. Sedaris, as a self-described picky eater, probably should have just gotten duck breast (perhaps tea-smoked? It's lovely). Also, while it's obvious that everyone in China feeds their roosters human feces, the maggots that live within? That's quite rare.

What I suppose could graciously be called a satirist expressing his preferences, comes off more like a bigot playing up offf some unflattering stereotypes. Which, in my humble opinion, crosses a bit of a line. This is something a lot of people have been talking about recently, and I generally side with the comic's right to offend. But this isn't a standup comic trying out material; it's a well-known writer with an editor publishing in a national paper. 

Also, the food is China is delicious. So delicious that sometimes I dream of it at night, and when I wake, cry because the Chinese food on my block is so crappy. I like you David, I really do. But don't make me choose between you and soup dumplings. You won't fare well.