Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Are There So Many Asian Food Bloggers?

Asian Faces


[Edit: Please try to read the comments section, as it's arguably more important than the principal text (which was meant to serve as a jumping off point). Common concerns have been adressed, and plenty of alternative theories have been presented. Eventually, I plan to compile all the alternate explanations and insert them into the main body.]

"Why are so many food bloggers Asian?"

Ah yes, this age-old question. As the food blogger community here in Los Angeles continues to blossom, we simply cannot look past the abundance of (East) Asians in the sphere. A few weeks back, I decided to perform a quick Google query, hoping to find a reason for this anomaly. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of those rare instances where Google failed to turn up any material of satisfactory substance. As such, I decided to expound on the matter myself.

I'm entering into this endeavor with some trepidation, as anything that deals with issues of race tends to be a touchy subject. I realize that the term "race" itself is a loaded word, and I'm somewhat hesitant to pigeonhole people into such simplistic bins. However, for the purposes of this discussion, I will use a classification established by the US Census Bureau: Asian, Black, Hispanic, White. This is a far from a perfect nomenclature (especially concerning "Hispanic," which is more of an ethnicity), but will be used here for economy and consistency to Government data.

With those caveats dispensed with, I propose that the plenitude of Asian food bloggers is a multifaceted phenomenon, the result of a combination of five forces:
  1. The Cultural Significance of Food
  2. Higher Educational Attainment
  3. Higher Median Income
  4. Better Access to Technology
  5. A Propensity for Conspicuous Consumption
I first started noticing the preponderance of Asian bloggers in late 2008. Initially, I thought that it might just be that I tended to gravitate toward other Asian bloggers, a sort of sampling bias, if you will. However, I subsequently had the question of Asian hegemony posed to me on numerous other occasions, from persons outside the blogging circle, individuals that should be, in theory, free of the aforementioned bias.

Thus, to quantify the degree of overrepresentation, I set out to create a comprehensive list of food bloggers; the results are shown in the table below. Please note that the list is heavily slanted toward restaurant blogs based in the LA metro, as that's the realm that I'm most intimately familiar with (it also bounds the sample size). I apologize if I've left your blog out, and doubly so if I've misstated your race. Please do let me know of any errors or omissions.

50 Meals Asian
52 Desserts Asian
The Active Foodie White
Adventures of Jennifer Ko Asian
Adventures of a wanna-be foodie... Asian
ah-pe-tite Asian+Asian
a.k.a. dandy Asian+Asian
All Things Andy Gavin White
Alli411 White
The Almost Foodie Asian
An American Seoul Asian
Another Hungry Asian Girl Asian
Atsuko's Food Photo Blog Asian
The Backyard Bite Black
Bacon and Butter Asian
Banana Wonder White
The Bedroom Pantry Asian
Best of LA Asian
Bites and Bolts White
Bites For Me Asian
Bokeh Bunny Asian
Breathing Words Asian
Bree's New Blog: Pizza y Paella White
Brekkie Fan's Blog Asian
brubrubites Asian
Bun Boy Eats LA White
Burp and Slurp Asian
Cake & Heels Asian
Caroline on Crack Asian
Charliegogogogo Asian
The Chocolate of Meats White
Chou Down Asian
Chubby Panda Asian
ChubbyMeats Asian
Clayfood Asian
Cookie Chomper Asian
Cork & Rind White
Darin Dines Asian
Deep End Dining Asian
Delicious Coma Asian
The Delicious Life Asian
Designing Delicious Dishes Asian
Dessert Darling White
Destination Eats Asian
Diana Takes a Bite White
Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman Asian
Dig Lounge White
DineDelish Asian
The Dining Diva White
The Dining Duo White+White
Dining Outlaw White
Dining with Doreen Asian
Dining with the Catty Critic Asian
Dishing Up Delights Black
Dishy Goodness Asian
Doah's Hungry Asian
Drey's Palate Teasers Asian
e*star LA Asian
Eastside Food Bites Hispanic
Eat Drink & Be Merry Asian
Eat Food With Me White
Eat in OC White
Eat & Repeat White
Eat. Sip. Chew. White
Eat Suki Eat Asian
Eat. Travel. Eat! Asian
Eat Your Heart Out L.A. Asian/White
Eating for the Masses Asian
Eating L.A. White
Eating My Way through OC White
Effing Dericious Asian
Eileen Likes to Eat Asian
The Endless Supper Asian
Epicurious Travels Asian
Epicuryan Asian
Eric the Epicure White
Exile Kiss Asian
Experience Taste Asian
Exploratory Dégustation Hispanic
F for Food White
Famished Foodie Asian
Famished L.A. White
Feed My Sole Asian
Feed The Monster White
FeedYourBoss White
The Fifth Deadly Sin Asian
Folie à Choisauce Asian
The Food and I Asian
Food Fashionista Asian
Food Frenzy Asian+White
Food GPS White
Food Is My Nish Asian
Food, Je T'aime Asian
The Food Ledger Asian
Food Liberal Asian
Food Makes Me Happy Asian
Food Marathon White
food obsessed Asian
The Food Pervert White
Food, She Thought White
Food Truck Times White
Food Woolf White
FoodDigger Blog Asian
Foodie in Disguise White
The Foodie Traveler White
Foodtruck Adventures Asian
for the love of eating Asian
Frugal Nosh Asian
Galley Girl White
The Gastronomnom Asian
Gastronomy Asian
Gastrophoria Asian
Girl Loves Food Black
The Glutster Hispanic
Gluttony Expedition Asian
Gmangoman Asian
Go Find Alice Asian
Go Ramen! Asian
Gourmands Review White
Gourmet Pigs Asian
Griffin Eats OC Asian
Grubtrotters Asian+White
Gutter Palettes Asian+Asian
Guzzle & Nosh White
The Happy Hour Tour Black+White
Harb Knock Life White
Here, Eat This! White
Hobson's Choice White
A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Asian
Horny for Food White
The Hungry Dogg White
Hungry Hungry Hanh Asian
Hungry Kat Asian
The Hungry Trojan Asian
Hungry. Will Travel. Asian
I Eat Therefore I Am Asian
i heart yummy Asian + White
I Nom Things Asian
i'm hungry and proud of it Asian
iFlipForFood Asian + White
An Immovable Feast White
Infinite Fress White
Ingredients of Love Asian
Is It Really That Good? Asian
It's More Than Just Eating Asian
Jamazin & Jantastic Adventures Asian+Asian
Jewelz, What Are We Doing Today? Asian
Journey of an Epicurean Cutie Asian
juliewolfson’s posterous White
Just Relish White
Kat's 9 Lives Asian
kevinEats Asian
kimchi con queso Asian
The Knife White
Kung Food Panda Asian
L.A. and O.C. Foodventures Asian
L.A. Easy Meals Asian
LA on 20 a Day White
Lady Ducayne Hispanic
Let Me Eat Cake Asian/White
Life Needs Autofocus Asian
The Liquid Muse White
Living to Eat Asian
Looking for Food Trucks Asian
Los Angeles Foodie White
The Los Angelicious Times White
love me...hate me...feed me... Asian
Loving Annie White
Low End Theory's L.A. Restaurantz Asian
Thelustyglutton White
Marian the Foodie Asian
Mattatouille Asian
Melissa Good Taste White
Memo Eats... White
Midtown Lunch White
The Minty Asian
Mise en Place Asian
Mmm-yoso!!! Asian
Monster Munching Asian
Ms. Foodie White
Munchabout White
My Last Bite Asian/White
My Life, A Constant Work in Progress White
My Life as a Foodie White
my so-called food blog Asian+Asian
My Weekend Passport Asian
Nanciful's Blog Asian
NakedSushi Asian
Nom Nom Cat Asian+Asian
The Nomlog Asian
Noms, Not Bombs Asian/White
Notes from the Napkin White
O Hei There! Asian
Obsessions of a Misunderstood Bella White
Oh My Food Coma! Asian+Asian+Asian
Oishii Eats Asian
One More Bite Asian
Overworked. Underfed. Asian
PapaKaster Eatin' White
A Peek Into Citynitz's Sentiments Asian
phileatsLA White
PIGletventures Asian
The Pinoy Panda Asian
Pleasure Palate Asian
Potatomato Asian + Asian
Potential Gold White
The Princess Gourmet Asian
Princess Kitty's Lala-Land Asian
The Provender White
Quarry Girl White
Rameniac Asian
Rants and Craves Asian
Ravenous Couple Asian+Asian
Refined Palate White
Reformed Foodie White
Reservation for Three White
Restos & Rezzies White
Right Way to Eat! Asian
Ritz Bites White
The Roaming Belly Asian
Rock My Palate Asian/White
Roller Pig White
S.O.F.A.T. Blog Asian
The Salty Lawyer White
Sasaki Food Time Asian
Saturday Night Foodies White + White
The Savory Hunter White
Search and Devour White
Seconds for Shirley Asian
Seeking Food Asian
The Sensual Foodie White
Shangri-LA Food Blog White
ShopEatSleep Asian/White
SinoSoul Asian
Sku's Recent Eats White
South Bay Rants n Raves Asian
Starchy Marie Asian
Stellar Recipes White
Street Gourmet LA Hispanic
Stomach Life Black + Hispanic
Sushi Lush White
syori the foodie Asian
TableConversation White
Tales of a Fattie Asian
Taste It LA Asian/White
Taste With The Eyes White
Taster Tots L.A. White
The Thirsty Pig Asian
This Foodie's Life Asian
Tiffin Unboxed Asian
TNT Adventures Asian
To Live and Eat in L.A. White
Tomostyle Asian
The Truck Chaser Asian
Tummy Diaries Asian
Tuna Toast Asian/White
Two Hungry Pandas Asian+Asian
Uncouth Gourmands Hispanic
The Unemployed Eater White
Unrivaledkitch Asian
Vegas and Food Asian
Viva LA Foodies White
Wandering Chopsticks Asian
The Wanderkind Asian
We Eat LA Asian
Weezermonkey Asian
What's to Eat L.A. White
Wine & Dine Hispanic
Wlabeachgirl White
Worth Every Bite Asian
Yesi's Adventures Hispanic
You Gonna Eat That? Asian
Your Next Bite White
Yutjangsah Asian


We see that roughly two-thirds of food bloggers in this survey are classified as Asian. According to the US Census Bureau's American FactFinder, Asians make up 12.9% of the population in Los Angeles County. Thus, having established that Asians are over five times overrepresented in the food blogosphere, we will now turn to more detailed explanations as to why:

The Cultural Significance of Food - Ni chi fan le ma? Such is a saying in Mandarin Chinese, which translates more or less to "Have you eaten yet?" When I was growing up, I remember that this was how my mother would greet her friends, not with a "hello," "how are you doing?," or even ni hao. This little anecdote underscores the notion that Asian cultures tend to be food-centric. In Food in Chinese Culture, KC Chang notes that "few other cultures are as food oriented as the Chinese". Food, thus, rises above the role of mere sustenance, becoming a contraption of societal interaction--one just has to note how often Asians tend to share and eat "family style." Dining therefore represents a critical social construct, a key environment for the free exchange of ideas and the establishment of personal relationships in both business and leisure contexts. Given these circumstances, it's not surprising that food blogging tends to be a social as well as culinary experience--one only has to look at how close-knit (some would say incestuous) we LA bloggers tend to be. [Edit: For more on Asian food culture and history and their role in food blogging, please view Dylan's post on the matter.]

Higher Educational Attainment - The image that we all have of overbearing Asian parents pressuring their kids to succeed academically is almost clichéd at this point. However, I reckon that the scenario is often times reality. As much as I was vexed my parents' domineering attitude, their constant harassment seems to have paid off for me--and I'm not the only one. According to the US Census Bureau's American FactFinder, for the year 2008 in Los Angeles, 47.6% of Asians aged 25 or over have attained a Bachelor's degree or higher. Whites are next, at 31.6%, followed by Blacks at 21.4% and Hispanics at 9.7%. [Edit: Thanks to Jocelyn for pointing me to this updated data.] Blogging, with its emphasis on experimentation, research, and writing, can be considered a somewhat academic pursuit, and thus, we can imagine that those predisposed to academic achievement would have a higher proclivity for blogging as well.

Higher Median Income - Urasawa ain't for the faint of wallet. All these dinners cost money, and though some of the expense may be defrayed by comped meals, I believe that cost is still a limiting factor, especially in the fine dining realm. Quite simply, if your level of income makes it difficult to cover even basic expenses, it's not very likely that you'll want to spend your earnings on "fancy" meals. We again turn to the US Census Bureau's American FactFinder. For the year 2008, in Los Angeles County, median household income for Asians is reported as $62,509. $62,045 is the corresponding figure for Whites, while Hispanics report $44,924, and Blacks, $41,925. If we look at per capita income, Whites lead the way at $33,915, with Asians not too far behind at $29,476, Blacks at $23,439, and Hispanics at $15,604. One implication here is that Asians have a higher than average tendency to cohabitate, which may magnify an individual's spending power. [Edit: Again, I want to thank Jocelyn for providing this data.] These results, of course, relate the educational attainment figures above--it's no secret that income tends to rise with education.

Better Access to Technology - It's pretty hard to blog without a computer and Internet access. According to data collected by the US Census Bureau, Whites and Asians lead the way when it comes to computer usage. 64.6% of Whites and 62.7% of Asians aged 15 or older use a computer at home, while only 44.8% of Blacks and 39.1% of Hispanics do. Similar patterns can be found when looking at computer usage at work and at school. A computer, though, is only half the equation--we still need to look at Internet usage. Whites lead the way here, at 62.3%, with Asians not too far behind at 58.0%. Blacks ring in at 45.6%, and Hispanics, at 37.6%. Intuitively, the results make sense: access to technology should rise with income and education. The US Census Bureau data strongly supports this notion. Clearly then, the digital divide is well and alive.

A Propensity for Conspicuous Consumption - This is surely the most controversial of the five factors, but the tendency for Asians to conspicuously consume is legendary. After all, who hasn't heard the stereotypes about Asian women's obsession with all things Louboutin and Louis Vuitton, or the penchant of Asian men for Swiss watches, Italian shoes, and German automobiles? We've all seen the anecdotal evidence, but according to an article in Entrepreneur magazine, such behavior is endemic: luxury products comprise an $80 billion industry, with half of that revenue coming from Asians. For our good friend M. Vuitton, it's been estimated that, at one point, an incredible 88% of the brand's global sales stemmed solely from Japanese consumers. So what's the reasoning behind all the bling? Radha Chadha, author of The Cult of the Luxury Brand, points to the waves of socioeconomic change that have swept through Asia over the past decades. Historically, Asia had been, for the most part, relatively poor vis-à-vis its "Western" counterparts. With the influx of cash in recent years, combined with the dismantling of old, rigid social structures, spending lavishly becomes the most effective way of denoting your place in society. Furthermore, in their paper Conspicuous Consumption and Race, Kerwin Kofi Charles et al even argue that conspicuous consumption is a method of signaling to others that you've "escaped" the poverty of your people's past. Blogging, thus, becomes a foodie equivalent of the Patek or Birkin bag.

People blog about food for a variety of reasons. What I've tried to capture here is why Asians have a much higher tendency to do so. Thus, to summarize: culture provides the context; education/income/access provide the capacity; and a proclivity for conspicuous consumption provides the catalyst. [Edit: To clarify, the first and last factors encourage, while the others enable.]

Although this post makes no claim to be an exhaustive treatise on the subject, I do feel that I've touched upon the bulk of the most pertinent factors at play. I very well may have missed a few important points however, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

164 Comments:

Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

VERY interesting research with this one Kevin. Although it's not surprising with the data, I was intrigued with your take on the reasons why we dominate the LA Food blog community.

I'm interested to see what other feel about this subject as well.

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:25:00 AM  
Blogger Jin said...

Interesting analysis, Kevin! I'd also add that in the U.S., Asian Americans are lumped together by ourselves and by others so it's easier for say, a Korean American to try Vietnamese food with his/her Vietnamese friends. Personally for me, I grew up eating Korean food at home and at school (and had ppl ridicule me) and it wasn't until I went to college and was able to spend my own money that I got to try other Asian cuisine that I wasn't exposed to (like Vietnamese, Malaysian, Burmese, Filipino). After that, I gradually grew comfortable trying other cuisine. I'm sure for others, especially growing up in the OC or Irvine where a lot of Asian Americans live and intermingle, that experience comes much earlier on. Plus, I wholeheartedly agree on the conspicuous consumption theory. It was a leap for me when I first spent over a hundred dollars on a meal but after that, it wasn't such a big deal (though I still tend to lean towards more affordable fare).

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:25:00 AM  
Anonymous arnold | inuyaki said...

This is a pretty ballsy post...and I dig it. I've kind of wondered the same thing, and I first noticed this in SF when I used to Yelp. There are tons of Asian Yelpers, and it seemed like we were the majority of Yelpers in the Bay Area. Don't know if it's the same for SoCal Yelpers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is.

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:26:00 AM  
Blogger sygyzy said...

Very interesting post. At first I thought you just sought out other Asian bloggers but maybe there is something to be said about this phenomenon. At first glance I would point to things like higher income or better education but most of my peers are white and are similar to me in education and salary. What I think is the most important factor is the value placed on good quality food. I think most people simply don't grow up eating very well so they don't know better. And by eating well, I don't mean expensive or in restaurants. A bowl of homemade pho teaches a Vietnamese kid like myself more about food than the Taco Bell my friend's admitted to being fed as children.

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ravenous Couple said...

very intriguing post--it would be interesting to see what other metropolitan polls would yield--or better yet, what food blogger communities such as FoodBuzz would yield. At the recent conference there was a good representation of Asian bloggers, but certainly not the majority. But we can attest to the importance of food in the Vietnamese family--eating family style was common in our household. Also, when coming home from college, instead of saying "hello, how are you...how are your classes? grades etc" my parents would "have you eatened yet, how've have you eatened? etc" At the time, I even complained and said, "how come you don't ask how i'm doing?" But now I realize it was our parents way of showing their love and affection-the time and effort of preparing a Vietnamese dish was lost to me at the time, but now I can appreciate how much love does go in her foods.

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:30:00 AM  
Blogger Shanna said...

Great analysis. I have mentioned this tendency myself in the past to my foodie friends but never delved into the exact reasons.

A couple of comments:

1. Blogging about food does not need to be expensive. One can easily blog about the great inexpensive food available at small hole in the walls. The amazing pho shop or taco stand are examples.

2. You do not address why someone would think that someone else is interested in their comments on a place. There are many foodies out there with the income to go to the Urasawa's, with a computer and internet access, with the educational background to write well, but they do not blog. There may be something there.

Monday, January 11, 2010 7:52:00 AM  
Blogger CITYNITZ said...

Kevin- interesting theory and conclusions you've come to. However, I would have to disagree with your reasons for this occurence.

The main reason why I think there are so many Asian bloggers is because food is just a more integral part of our lives. If you look at Asian malls/plazas what is the main focus? FOOD. Look at other cultures and they usually concentrate on clothes/jewlery or any other means for sale. For example, in American malls food courts consist of fastfood and places that will not take away from the main focus of making sales from other stores.

Also, I think in today's age most of the population has access to technology, whether it be the library even. Looking at the whole group of bloggers as a whole it seems as though other non Asian bloggers are blogging about other areas of interest perhaps (i.e. fashion)?

Just some thoughts swimming in my head. Nice change in comparison to all your other posts! =)

Monday, January 11, 2010 7:52:00 AM  
Anonymous mdp said...

Minor quibble with your data: you've focused on LA dining blogs for your blogger race statistics, but compared them (I think) to nationwide census data. I think this could create some funny effects. For example, you might suppose educational attainment would be very different for all races living in LA county than nationwide if (and my intuition tells me this is the case) there are other parts of the country where there are very few Asians and very low educational attainment and income levels across races. You could spin out a number of scenarios where nationwide data might obscure some of the things you want to look at. It would be very difficult really to exhaustively study this trend, but I thought I'd just point this out.

I also wonder, after reading Arnold's comment, if there is something cultural about what forms of communication different people choose.

Monday, January 11, 2010 7:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting research Kevin. I'd like to add that as a white girl, I think I am also lazier in this regards. With all of the amazing (Asian!) bloggers in L.A., I don't have to write and post my own blogs. I have more time to research, experiment (eat!), cook, and direct friends to your and others' great posts. Elissa

Monday, January 11, 2010 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Gastronomer said...

This is definitely a good first stab at explaining why there are so many Asian food bloggers.

The commenter who suggested looking at LA specific Census data has a very good point.

Also, taking a look at the psychology behind the phenomenon, as another commenter suggested, would be fascinating. Why do all these Asian kids *think* they have the authority to talk about food? Perhaps its the model minority stereotype at play again.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Tad said...

Thanks for the post. Even though there are stereotypes around, often they come from tendencies or propensities of a certain group to do certain things.

I agree that cultural importance of food is probably the most important factor. However, I think there is an additional point which may be contributing to this phenomenon.

The greater LA area represents many cultures and cuisines well, but Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese enclaves are especially deserving of being catalogued and rated. By this I mean, there are a large number of restaurants, high turnover rate of restaurants, over a large geographic area, wide variety of foodstyles and quality levels, and many are not English-friendly. i.e. it helps to have a guide or an expert to get the best food. If someone is born to that cuisine/culture, they have an entry point and expertise that can be the base of a blog.

Such knowledge is not as necessary for the best burger or the best pizza. Yes, there are lots of places in town, but once known, anyone could go to that place and order the burger and get the best burger. Translates to 1 blog entry.

In my mind Mexican regional cuisines would be the other group in LA that are blogworthy.

No offense is meant by not including other cuisines. Let's take India - fascinatingly complex food, strong regional characteristics, etc. But highly concentrated in Artesia, and lacking the diverse representation that say, Chinese food has. Primarily from only 5 of the 28 states in India. As such, a bit more manageable for a well-motivated person to visit a few times, familiarize oneself with the offerings, develop some favorites, etc. So not that it's not amazing food worth writing about, but the community hasn't reached that critical mass number where many people are compelled to blog about each meal they ate, each dish they ate, how they ordered it, how did this version compare, etc etc.

Oh, yeah, and all Asians like to study engineering in the library, then go to Yogurtland in their Hondas. Ha ha

~Tad
Asian American from Hawai`i

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post as well as your blog overall. I laughed when I first read the title however this post was actual educational as well. I would have never thought to look at all those reasons. I agree with sygyzy that it also has to do with how you were raised. I am not asian, I am persian/russian but I was always taught that food was important, not fast food but home cooked meals. Persians especially are very insistent that their kids eat a lot especially when they are a bit on the skinny side. I am a big foodie, but I'm a bit too lazy to blog. thanks for such a delicious blog, my mouth always waters.

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Eileen said...

Woohoo~~~~ I am on Kevin's list! ^^
This is a very interesting article. And there's no African American food blogger?

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

I'm pretty sure you're already implying this but I think it's important to mention that most of the Asians you're talking about are 2nd or 1st gen. Our parents and grandparents are the ones who really brought over our food culture and instilled it in us, No matter how smelly it was :) But I guess most Asians we come into contact with fall into this category.

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Esi said...

Interesting read. In response to Eileen's comment...yes! Me (although I mainly do recipes vs. restaurants)

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger MyLastBite said...

Kevin DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

I am part
"Asian Pacific Islander" (Okinawa)
and
"Clan Maxwell" (Scottish)





Kidding! You KNOW I'm kidding! LOL!!

Great read. x

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

It's interesting to see that I'm not the only one that wondered the same thing. Bold post, but well written.

I wonder what the breakdown is for other blog genres...

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

California also has a high Asian population. Anyway, though there are many food bloggers, there aren't many good food writers i.e. Ruth Riechl caliber.

Quality > quantity
Just sayin'

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Protocol Snow said...

Nicely reasoned post. I agree with all 5 factors as contributions to this phenomenon. Strangely enough, I've never wondered about why there's so many Asian L.A. food bloggers. Coming from the Asian-dominated SGV, I guess I take the heavy Asian population here for granted. I also tend to specifically seek out blogs about Asian restaurants, which would obviously skew my sampling as well.

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RacisitEats?

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:10:00 PM  
OpenID thegastrognome said...

Hmmm, I am glad someone is looking into this, if only because it seems interesting. That said, I've never noticed this phenomenon, so I'm wondering if it is a product of your environment--as in your list comes from where you know, what you know. I've mostly noticed that they seem to be chubby white girls, that they seem to be Jewish and that they seem to be left handed--3 things which I am. It would be interesting to take, as someone said, the numbers from something like FoodBuzz.

Another question is if it is only SIGNIFICANTLY READ food blogs that are by Asians because they loan key information about their food heritage, be it Korean, Vietnamese, or whatever, that other people don't know about. Little tidbits, specific to their culture that feed America's hunger for delicious Asian food...

Just a few thoughts to fuel the fires of research!

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger ila said...

i particularly find it funny that above anon can't spell "racist" correctly.

good reads! i just assumed that most food bloggers are asian because asians love to complain. i mean, cause every race/ethnicity's gotta love food you know? otherwise they'd die out :P

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger PulledPorker said...

Interesting. The one question that jumps out is: Is this trend true in other major cities? Obviously we have thousands of outstanding Asian restaurants. I wonder if a city that isn't as spoiled for choice as we are still inspires such a large percentage of Asian food bloggers. I would love to see informal data on cities like Seattle and San Francisco, and also cities like Miami and Atlanta.

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I have to wonder, though, if your study has selected blogs among those you know and follow and is therefore giving you a biased result.

For instance, looking down those blogs listed on Digesty LA, there are quite a few you have left out. Of course, I have no idea what the ethnicities are of those bloggers, but your own selection of blogs could be affecting your result.

This isn't to question your premise. Clearly, there are many Asian food bloggers and you do a good job of addressing the issue of why that is, but you may be overstating the proportion based on your own selection.

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger sygyzy said...

@PulledPorker - I am not following your logic. You think there are a lot of Asian food bloggers because LA has a lot of Asian Restaurants? Asians can and do eat in non-Asian restaurants. In fact, Asian food represents a small percentage of what kevinEats covers.

Now, if you are alluding to a connection between the number of Asian restaurants and the ethnic makeup of the city (more restaurants = more Asians), then that's a fair point but you bring it up in a very unusual way.

Monday, January 11, 2010 12:57:00 PM  
OpenID sydneyfoodie said...

I live in Sydney, Australia. I don't blog but do read a lot of food blogs. I would say a lot of food bloggers in Sydney are Asians too.

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:37:00 PM  
Blogger PulledPorker said...

Yes, I see what you're saying. No, I don't think that Asians only eat in Asian restaurants. I definitely know that's not the case. (I chose not to make it a long comment and I see how it could have come across that way, I apologize.)

I wasn't actually using any logic or drawing a conclusion, but rather I was thinking over Jin's comment that Asians are more likely to experience other Asian cuisines. Is this true? In my own limited experience, it is. (But that's a pretty small sample size.) If it is true, I was wondering if cities with large Asian populations (I should have included that phrase originally) and lots of Asian restaurants inspire a larger percentage of Asian food bloggers.

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because Asians are full of themselves and like to hear themselves talk. Or in this case, like to see their opinions published in a blog as a way to validate their opinions and boost their ego.

(I'm asian)

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:12:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Due to the large number of comments received, I'll be breaking up my responses into parts:

Danny: Once again, you're the first to comment! I think that we've discussed this issue before during one of our many outings. Can you think of any other reasons?

Jin: Interesting point you make about college, as that's when I first became exposed to so-called "ethnic" cuisine, and I did in fact grow up in OC. Also, I completely agree about the "$100 barrier;" it took me a while to break it, but when I did, oh boy...

Arnold: It is nearly the same way on Yelp down here, and I'd guess for the same reasons. Maybe you could take a look at the phenomenon as it relates to the Bay Area food blogging/Yelping scene?

Sygyzy: I'm not sure if I seek out other Asian bloggers, or if they seek me out, but my immediate circle of blogging buddies does tend toward Asian. The list of bloggers here, however, includes all bloggers that I could think of, including those whom I've never even met. Also, I agree with what you said about the value placed on food, which I believe stems from its cultural significance.

Ravenous: Indeed, I'd love to see this research extended to other geographical locations and different types of user communities. What percentage did Asians constitute at the blogger conference you mentioned? Also, your parents sound like mine. ;)

Shanna: (1) I completely agree. However, can it be said that even blogging about lower-end places may be a form of "showing off," so to speak? (2) Do you think that this perhaps stems from food-centric culture? That is, thinking along the lines of: "Food is such an important aspect of my life; therefore, others who share that ideology will care what I say."

Jackie: I think we're sort of saying the same thing. You're just emphasizing the role of food in Asian society and culture, which I totally agree with. This would perhaps also help explain why non-Asians may tend to dominate in other types of blogging.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:19:00 PM  
Anonymous balsa said...

the stats are not that surprising if the sample is LA... but if you ask me, it just feels like Asians are foodies by nature, just looking at the street food culture, they snack ALL THE TIME!! and since many of those countries are in hot and humid weather, they can usually enjoy eating way more and sweat off all the pounds they'd otherwise pile up if they lived elsewhere.

Another great cultural example is the evening news from Taiwan, also available in the states btw, they ALWAYS end the program with a report on the latest hip restaurant or some famous hole in the wall eatery.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Loving Annie said...

Kevin,
I think your points were very valid, and I'm flattered/pleased that you included me on your list :)!

Went to SAAM the other night, and was disappointed a bit by the food. 5 out of the 20 courses was extrordinary - the others were just good. Cleverly presented, definitely, but not memorable in terms of taste.

Service was great, the Chef went out of his way to accomodate some of my menu requests, the price was very reasonable... but the noise level and the 'wow' factor' of a superb molecular gastronomist like Heston Blumenthal or Pierre Gagnaire just wasn't there.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Or in this case,"

I was not referring to one blog in particular btw.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Interesting post. And, to add to your list... The Liquid Muse (http://www.theliquidmuse.com) focuses mainly on cockatils - but food too. And, yes, I'm liquored up white girl. ;-)

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:36:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thanks for pigeonholing me into such a simplistic bin. Charles Murray would be proud.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:53:00 PM  
Blogger H. C. said...

Very ballsy post indeed; I can't say I agree or disagree with your hypotheses for the Asian inclination to blog, but I have a hard time swallowing reasons 2 - 4 since you're using national data for a local phenomenon (at least based on your tally of just LA area foodbloggers.) And reason 1 is lofty since many cultures across the globe treats dining as a convivial experience, I think family-style is probably the norm for the world as a whole with the U.S. concept of individual plating being the exception.

As for me, I've been blogging on a variety of topics for almost a decade now -- what led me to foodblog was simply because I'm the most food-obsessed of my group of friends (yes, of similar education, income, tech savvy, culture, consumption and yes, mostly Asian) and blogging saves me the effort of repeating myself over and over when asked "Where to go for...?" or "How's this place?" -- it's just easier to tell folks that I've blogged about it rather than trying to recollect every significant detail of the experiences.

Monday, January 11, 2010 2:56:00 PM  
Anonymous streetgourmetla said...

Very poignant topic, that at the very least is a relevant curiosity.We've all pondered at some point here.

But, you've left out an important factor, and that's the socialization,identity factors, and acculturation.Food blogging is a social pursuit, and while some can be expert, informative, or highly specialized, it is primarily social.

Cultural Significance of food? Exists everywhere outside mainstream American culture, which includes ethnic minorities that have become quite integrated into American food culture.Agreeing with HC 100%, any other notion is inaccurate.

Higher Education Attainment? I wouldn't call food blogging an academic pursuit.

Professional food writing is dominated by non-Asians, despite the high academic achievement in the Asian community.All it requires is a camera and an opinion, mostly.

For me, food is about the soul and expression of a people, not about academics.

High Median Income? Very few bloggers focus on expensive dining and paying out of pocket. As a younger group of people, the blogging community hasn't fallen into the $$ years yet. Most appear to have access throught the blogger events.And, as was previously stated, there are all levels of restaurants, and certainly all ethnic groups mentioned in this piece are able to dine out.

Better Access to Technology? All groups have sufficient access to technology, while Latinos represent the lowest percentage, we certainly have the population numbers to make up for it.It's just not the way various Latino groups with a diverse range of acculturation in LA interact in regards to food culture.Breed St. was a great example of a Mexican, or Mexican-American cultural exchange.On the street rather than online.I'm not stating that one way is better than the other because all of these exchanges have value and merit.Street food culture is of course is wildly popular in most parts of the world, but particularly in most Asian and Latin-American countries.

A Propensity for Conspicuous Consumption? To show off you mean? You did preface this by deeming it controversial, but I find this not to be the case. As a member of this blogger community I of course have gained new and dear friends that are Asian, none of which ever seemed to be doing it out of anything other than a love for food.

Not to mention the variety of Asians and the dominant presence of Asian women, and women in general.

As a 41 year old "Pocho", American born person of Mexican ancestry, and not represented by any of your demographics here, maybe I'm just in touch with my Asian feminine side.I would add the the dining community of foodies, including the discussion boards, and social networking groups,also is female dominated. So, lucky us, it's great dining with women who love food, I say.

It is an interesting "first stab", and has stirred discourse, but despite the research, which I respect you for your work on this,and for making a fine list of LA bloggers, it's peculiarly subjective.

Thanks for including me on your list.

Monday, January 11, 2010 3:24:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

mdp: Yes, I definitely think that income/education/access statistics should ideally be drawn from Los Angeles County data. Unfortunately however, I couldn't locate such a breakdown. If you could point me to such data, I'd gladly incorporate it. That being said, if we did have LA-specific data, I'd reckon that income/education/access would be shifted up for all racial groups. I don't think however, that the overall conclusions of this post would change. Also, regarding forms of communication, do you think that it's cultural, or perhaps a combination of the other factors as well?

Elissa: Interesting. Do you think your "laziness" is a result of you not feeling the need to flaunt your eating endeavors? If so, then this would suppoint factor #5.

Cathy: Could you help in finding LA-specific data? You do work in academia, don't you? ;) As for the sense of authority, don't you think that it ties into a culture that emphasizes the role and importance of food?

Tad: You make an interesting observation. Though it doesn't apply to me personally so much, I could definitely see how it could to many other bloggers I know, who do somewhat "specialize" in certain "ethnic" cuisines. BTW, what does the food blogging scene look like over there in Hawai`i?

Anon: I'm intrigued by the Persian side of things. Obviously, you mentioned that food culture was part of your upbringing, but do you think that it's endemic to Persians in general? How do the other factors apply, in your experience?

Eileen: You've been on my list for a while. ;) Also, unfortunately I'm not aware of any African or African-American food bloggers.

James: I'm definitely talking about 1st or 2nd generation Asians; thank you for pointing that out. As time and generations progress, do you feel that the tendency for Asians to food blog would decrease? I'm guessing that it would.

Monday, January 11, 2010 3:30:00 PM  
Anonymous kristi said...

Nice post! I always wondered about the large amount of Asian bloggers. I figured it was because food is such an integral part of most Asian cultures. Here in Las Vegas, there are hardly any food bloggers. In fact, I can only think of around 5 of us who somewhat regularly blog. And out of those, 3 of us are East Asian! Vegas is, of course, a much smaller city than LA (my hometown), and with an even smaller Asian population... currently around 5.5%, with the majority being Southeast Asian. Vegas is also obviously pretty close to LA in proximity, but I wonder if Asian food bloggers aren't an uncommon phenomenon nation, and maybe even worldwide (or wherever there's at least a small Asian population).

Monday, January 11, 2010 3:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: Sinosoul is a GAY Asian. He's Gaysian!

Monday, January 11, 2010 3:41:00 PM  
Blogger H. C. said...

also, you may want to further note that your list of foodbloggers as primarily "dine out" bloggers. In my gatherings with LA recipe bloggers (most of whom aren't called out in your list), I don't think Asians hold the majority -- so it may just speak to a culture of dining out versus cooking in.

Of course, there's the caveat of recipe bloggers being considerably harder to pin down by location, and harder to meet and ID by race/ethnicity.

Monday, January 11, 2010 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Esi: Is there any reason that you favor recipe blogging over restaurant blogging? Admittedly, the recipe blogging sphere is pretty foreign to me.

Jo: I never knew that your other half was Scottish. That explains the boozing. ;)

Jennie: Do you consider The Happy Hour Tour a food blog? If so, would you like to be included in the list? As for other blog genres, I'd imagine that Asians are also overrepresented, though not to such a degree.

Mona: We do have a high Asian population, but even adjusted for that, Asians are still overrepresented amongst food bloggers. I do agree that there aren't many Asian professional food writers, or writers in general. That, I believe, is due to a hesitance for Asians (and their parents) to pursue a career in the literary arts.

Protocol Snow: I really like the point you make about not noticing the plentitude of Asians bloggers, specifically because that's all you see living in the SGV.

Anon: If you're going to submit a one-liner that contributes nothing to the discussion, at least get your spelling right.

Naomi: I'd love to see you extend this research to the Pacific Northwest. Your point about "key information" is fascinating, and relates somewhat to what Tad posted earlier. Perhaps we need to examine the relationship between the race of the blogger and the blog's Alexa ranking!

Monday, January 11, 2010 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

I often ask myself the same question! Great post!If I blog and I am half Filipino and half white do I count in the demographic towards both =)

Monday, January 11, 2010 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a blogger, don't know Kevin, but because of his picture and reputation often see him at openings. Either I am shadowing him or he is shadowing me (ex. Alinea: you from LA? That guy Kevin was here last week). Kevin, what you do is a ton of work and an art form; I put away a fraction of your table orders and drinks and go home for a white man snooze (often forgetting a lot of culinary detail).

One observation: As evidenced by Kevin's blog and others, the quality of dining reviews, chef research, photo's, etc has grown exponentially over the past several years. IMHO, only a handful of food bloggers can keep up the openings, special events (ex. the $$$ Keller/Achatz Mentor and Protege dinners), and have the gumption/pull to meet with chefs and request special menus. I don't expect to see a lot of new faces entering the blogosphere at Kevin's level of diligence - from any demo group.

Q for Kevin: is it possible the alpha blogger Asians are competing (in a subtle way) with each other to be top dog?

Thanks Kevin for what you are doing, I am a big fan!

Monday, January 11, 2010 5:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Finally someone said it. This has always been a point of topic in my convos with bloggers, but no one has really addressed it in print.

I agree with H.C. in that you need to be careful in comparing national statistics to a very small cross-section of L.A.

Also, L.A. has an extremely high Asian population in comparison with the rest of the country, so your stats may be skewed in that respect as well. I doubt there are as many Asian food bloggers in a state like South Carolina as there are in California.

And like other commenters have mentioned, recipe/cooking blogs are food blogs too, and I don't necessarily see an overwhelming majority of Asian bloggers in that realm.

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:03:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ila: I lol'd at that too. ;) I believe that everybody loves food to some extent, since it is required for survival. However, don't you think that food (and other things) can be emphasized in certain cultures more than others?

PulledPorker: I'd love to see nationwide data as well. I would guess that Asians would still be overrepresented. Are there even any other cities out there that have as vibrant of a blogging culture as we have here in LA?

Anon: Good suggestion with Digesty. I've added eight additional blogs to the list as a result: five White, three Asian. I've tried to include all blogs, including those of people I don't know, but even so, I agree that there still may be some remaining selection bias.

sygyzy: I was sort of wondering that myself. Please see PulledPorker's response below.

sydneyfoodie: Interesting--thanks for the international data point. Perhaps you could give us a rough estimate of the percentages there?

PulledPorker: I would also agree that Asians are more likely to experience other Asian cuisines. Thus, perhaps this gives Asian bloggers more "fodder" to write about?

Anon: Anecdotally, this is often true. Do you have anything to substantiate the claim though? Also, the "ego" factor may be direct result of reason #5.

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old, old, dusty, crusty news. One of the best Asian food bloggers in LA has already covered the topic...over 2 years ago.

Read Dylan Ho's piece on "Why Are There So Many Asian Food Bloggers?" from his Eat Drink & Be Merry food blog.

The old school LA food blogging guys and girls have covered it all. The new jacks (like you) are just regurgitating old school cud. How's that for a topic?

Dylan's post:
http://eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com/2007/05/thesisdissertation-why-are-there-so.html

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan Ho's original "Why Are There So Many Asian Food Bloggers?"

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I think Yelp has a lot to do w/ it too.

Monday, January 11, 2010 8:34:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Balsa: So you're tying Asian food culture to the climate of certain geographical regions...that's a very interesting way of approaching things--I like it. How does, then, Asia differentiate itself with regard to food to other hot and humid areas around the world?

Annie: I read your Saam review, and I'm surprised that noise was a factor. It was near silent last time I went. I do need to return sometime to see how things have changed under the new chef.

Natalie: I've added you to the list. I've actually known about your blog for some time, but have always considered to be more drink-centric.

Steve: You're quite welcome. Please explain the reference to Charles Murray.

HC: I've updated the post with some of the new data you pointed me to, though it's unfortunately not quite up to the task of replacing what I had in there already. In any case, I doubt that the any shifts in educational, financial, or technological figures would be so large as to completely undermine my conclusions. And HC, you were always special in my eyes. ;)

Bill: I appreciate the very detailed response. (1) Yes, the cultural significance of food exists throughout the world, but is it equally strong everywhere? (2) It's not academic per se, but certain aspects of it are I believe. Professional food writing is dominated by non-Asians, but that, I think, is because professional writing in general is dominated by non-Asians. (3) I agree. However, higher income does allow for a few more options when dining out, which may translate into more blogable material. (4) This is a fascinating point, as it regards different ways to experience and express the enjoyment of food. Again, culture is at the forefront here. (5) Fair enough.

As for the preponderance of women in the scene, I was tempted to include a discussion of gender and food blogging here, but decided against it to keep this post more focused. And yes, lucky us indeed.

So in the end, since this topic is subjective, what do you propose as the cause for the disproportionate representation of Asians in the food blogging realm?

Monday, January 11, 2010 8:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Somewhat related to your first factor, Asians seem to have led the way in food photography also back in the early nineties. There seems to be a general fetishizing of food among many Asian cultures.

I think the biggest factor between whites and Asians, since the income and educational levels are similar, is that white people just don't know how to eat. Well, American whites. This has to do much with the receptivity of American families in the Fifties and Sixties as application of food technology reduced the time and effort spent in the kitchen, while homogenizing all the flavors. Even acclaimed food writers such as Jeffrey Steingarten admit that their childhood consisted of rather bland culinary offerings.

Something curious is also happening with the relative anonymity granted by blogging. If there is a strong Asian cultural factor at work the encourages eating and sharing food, there could also be a strong cultural factor against sharing opinions. I know growing up that you don't really criticize someone else's food, and individual voice also wasn't celebrated. Perhaps this is more relevant to Asian-Americans who have much influence from ideas of Western individualism.

Monday, January 11, 2010 8:56:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Kristi: I'd wager that Asian food bloggers are indeed a nationwide phenomenon. That is, they will tend to be overrepresented given that they're only a small percentage of the overall population. BTW, nice Vegas reviews. As you said, there aren't many of you!

Anon: Lol. No comment.

HC: The restaurant vs. recipe blogger debate is an interesting one. Cooking is generally less expensive than eating out, so perhaps factor #3 is key. Also, recipe blogging seems less "showy," so perhaps #5 comes into play as well. And of course, we can't discount culture either.

Anon: Thank you. What you said about Alinea is hilarious, yet awesome. I love your phrase "alpha blogger Asians," and actually I think you do make a good point. Perhaps Asians do tend to be more competitive, and are always trying to outdo each other in subtle ways, in the process feeding into this whole Asian predominance thing. Maybe this is related to factor #2, the pressure of academic achievement?

Nancy: Certainly, LA does have a very high Asian population, at 12.9%. But even so, I still do think that there are more Asian food bloggers than there "should be," if we assume that propensity to blog has no correlation with race. In places like South Carolina, I'd imagine that Asians would be a strong minority when it comes to blogs, but that they'd still be overrepresented. I agree with what you said about recipe blogs--what do you think is the cause for the disparity?

Anon: Old school? New jack? Come on now. Curmudgeonry aside, Dylan does delve into the issues of Asian food culture and history, and touches upon the role of technology as well. I will include a link to his seminal work in the main body of the post.

Sam: Please elaborate. I'd guess that Yelpers do what they do for many of the same reasons. Well, for the dating aspect too. ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010 9:34:00 PM  
Blogger Stan said...

Whites (Americans) have a simple palette which is inherited from the English and the Germans. Affordable, complex and high quality food for whites doesn't exist, you get a burger, hot dog or sandwich from mostly chains. The result is most Americans don't really care all that much about food, it's just sustenance. When they do care it's only available as expensive fine dining. Asian food has unbelievable complexity and quality that's affordable coupled with The Cultural Significance of Food and you have zillions of Asians blogger and lurking readers like myselef=)

Monday, January 11, 2010 9:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Whites (Americans) have a simple palette"

Wow, so is this very well thought out blog now an excuse to essentialize entire races?

By the way, the list still seems to exclude a lot of pretty established LA food bloggers: Chowpatty (white), Sku (not sure of race), Professor Salt (not sure of race). Maybe this is more reflective of a given clique of bloggers that are mostly Asian.

And someone once told me that most of the posters on Chowhound were Asians and Jews, and come to think of it, most of your explanatory descriptors could apply to Jews as well.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Booker said...

You forgot the fact that Asians are cheap and starting a food blog increases one's chances of getting a few comped meals here and there.

You were ballsy enough to say everything you said, you may as well have thrown that in too.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

In SD this analysis wouldn't apply. There are all two of us that blogged in San Diego among a myriad of bloggers.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Hey Kevin,

Thx for the add! I would be interested in additional segmentation of the Asian demographic. I was always curious if there were other Filipino bloggers out there (aside from the ones that focus on recipes).

BTW, if you're still having trouble finding the data/statistics, let me know (by email). I can try to pull some strings with my research vendors. It's my day job and pays for my meals. ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Frank said...

Interesting post, Kevin.

Stan - go fuck yourself.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger streetgourmetla said...

Thanks Kevin.

In regards to point number (1).Looking at your travels, I see that you've only covered the US, mosly LA, and a little in Japan.So, how can you really address this with a perspective other than that of an Angelino. Respectfully, your focus on fine dining has narrowed your experience.Have you traveled through Latin America? All over Asia?Europe? Africa? The importance of food in the Latin American food can't be measured by going to a taco truck or eating in East LA. Having traveled extensively throughout Mexico(21 of 31 states), 7 states in Brazil, Colombia,Honduras, El Salvador,and still have a huge part of my family in Mexico. Arguing the importance of food between Asian and Latin American cultures will result in an exhausting stream of oh yeahs! What about Morocco, France, Armenia, Georgia,Italy....? Point is, it's not exclusive to Asians and therefore not a distinguishing factor.Equally strong? This isn't quantifiable.

I've also dined in Asia and Europe, and America the thing that's not like the others, which might explain your view
growing up in a tight Asian family in Los Angeles.Maybe you should have joined us on the Baja trip!!!


(3)This is a little exclusive to your experience it seems, but most bloggers, and many of them being Asian don't even have the $$ to throw down night after night, and still go to many of these same places on another's dime.Maybe my professional musician gig gives me access to things others don't, and not just dinner either, but it's not unattainable for others.Blogging comes down to interest, and where there's a will there's a way, mine is the saxophone.Yours? $$, but seems travel is limited, perhaps?

I believe blogging to be a social outlet in the Asian community, and while there hasn't been any studies on Asian food bloggers, there's plenty of material out there about the socialization of 2nd, 3rd generation Asians in America.The majority of the transactions are social, hooking up for meals, reading each other's blogs,commenting, back slapping,making new friends,and seeking approval.Fun!It's an accepted and comfortable medium in the Asian community, which is great.Glad to be a part of it,too.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

interesting observations. i think this data and reasoning make a lot of sense in cali. not sure if the same over-representation can be found in the midwest or new york. either way, asian bloggers like you provide asian readers like me all this great food porn! so keep up the good work!

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Don't worry about it, Kevin. It would be lost on you.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Wesley said...

Daring post, one that has been long overdue. Being asked why most food bloggers are Asians several times or the look on peoples faces when they see us all congregate.

I feel this was very well said and supported.

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because Asians eat pretty much anything. We know people that have eaten dogs and/or reptiles. You can't be a food blogger if all you eat are beef, chicken, egg salads.

Plus, it makes us really cool in our little virtual community. Yes indeed...yes it does indeed!

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Nastassia: I've included you in the list. Thank you.

Aaron: Food photography back in the early 1990s? Please elaborate. I can see your point about technology dulling our palates in the past; is there anything you can back that claim up with? As for your second argument, so you're saying that blogging provides a "voice" for those of us who've been stifled all these years? I can buy that.

Stan: Now that's sure to get people riled up! Certainly, the English and Germans aren't well-known for their cuisine, but what about the French or the Italians?

Anon: I've really tried to avoid such a sampling bias by trying to list every blog I could, regardless of personal affiliation. Soliciting input from others such as yourself also helps. Unfortunately, I can't ascertain if sku is Asian or not. However, I do have chowpatty listed under Eating LA, and I've added Professor Salt (who is indeed Asian). As for Jews, I can see how factors 2-4 would apply--not so sure about 1 and 5 though. I suppose that that's an area for further research.

Booker: But being cheap sort of goes against reason #5 right?

Charlie: What do you attribute this difference to?

Jocelyn: I'd love to see that, but unfortunately it's hard enough to determine if some bloggers are even Asian, let alone what type of Asian! However, just running some quick numbers for bloggers that I'm sure about, it's about two thirds Chinese, followed by roughly equal amounts of Koreans and Vietnamese, then Filipinos, then Japanese.

Frank: I don't blame you for that lol.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Bill: (1) Definitely not quantifiable. And certainly, I don't question the importance of food in Latin American cultures. I guess what I'm saying is that the emphasis on food and eating is not exclusive to Asians, but that there are groups that are exluded. Don't you feel that different groups of people, different nations even, emphasize different things in culture, in society? Think mainstream America.

(3) I think we can agree that higher disposable income certainly doesn't hurt. Its effect, though, is perhaps more prounounced in certain blogging circles.

I agree that food blogging serves an important social function. In fact, the social aspect is arguably my main impetus. What I'm wondering, then, is why Asians seem to take advantage of this over other ethnic groups.

Steve: Come on now, don't just post an abstruse/patronizing quip then refuse to back it up when questioned.

Wes: Indeed. I swear, I must've been along with you for a good number of those times...

Anon: "You can't be a food blogger if all you eat are beef, chicken, egg salads." <-- I wouldn't be so sure of that. I've seen food blogs dedicated solely to fast food (chain fast food, at that).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:05:00 AM  
Blogger e d b m said...

Kevin, correction: i'm a POOR asian haha. great speculation/research done on this. can anyone answer another question i'm dying to know? why do asians LOVE R&B slow jams so much haha?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

byocristal? now that's what i call conspicuous consumption!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 2:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

As for the rise of Asian food photography, I'll have to do some research to find something more substantive. But from my personal experience, I've notice in Hong Kong and Japan especially that Asians have been taking pictures of their food for as long as they've had cameras. Perhaps it's just some manifestation of the deep cultural significance of food that had always been there.

As for technology changing the American preferences for food, it must have been something I read in either Omnivore's Dilemma or The Man Who Ate Everything. I refer to the 50s, when previous wartime technology in food preservation and preparation was commodified into home kitchens. This continued with the introduction of food tech that was pioneered with the space programs of the 60s and 70s (See microwave ovens and the rise of TV dinners). As America was going through something of a scientific renaissance, the pursuit of food science focused on breaking down food into components, isolating them, and manufacturing them. That's why the packaged food that now dominates American homes is so primordially satisfying. The food scientists have determined everything you want to taste (basically fat, salt, and sugar) and delivered it to you in contained units of convenience. Simply put, America's celebration of food has been going the wrong direction for the last few generations. The emphasis was on convenience and frugality, not on community and quality as it has been in Asia for time indefinite.

That said, I'd be curious if your analysis would hold in a country like Italy, that has always had a culture for food similar to Asia. A shame there aren't quite as many new Italian immigrants to give you a good data set here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:39:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I did. Why don't you re-read Murray's Bell Curve since you endorse his "methodology." While you're at it, perhaps you should do some more research to see if Jews are guilty of factors 1 and 5. Apparently it's self-evident that they fall under 2-4.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:11:00 AM  
Anonymous steetgourmetla said...

Kevin,
Right, I wrote this in my original response, outside mainstream America, everyone else is into food. That includes all the ethnic enclaves in LA. But, good eating doesn't lead to blogging.

Having a good job, the will, and disposable income is all that's required. Every night Beverly Hills is packed with non-Asian diners who eat out frequently and don't blog.There is a mover and shaker Latino community out in these places, too, just not blogging.Actually, the musician community is in a perfect position to be world traveling food bloggers. Paid travel with expense accounts that can run pretty high on bigger gigs. But, the musician social outlet is backstage, and the rock 'n roll excesses.

Every community has its social lubrications,blogging is effective, but not the only means of course.Where are the Persian bloggers, or Armenian? Those communities are smaller, but quite affluent.They have huge banquets and parties all month long, night after night. For them it's weddings and banquets, maybe.In the various Latino communities it's the same, parties, rumbas,cruising,block parties,concerts,enough holidays for every month of the year and a type of party to go along with it.In Latin America, we park a car at a gas station with the woofers blaring banda, and start a dance club on the spot."No time to blog eh, I'm going to a kick back and check out da hynas ." "Puro pari!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 8:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Entertaining, but don't you think your list is a bit self selecting based on the bloggers you know and/or follow? If I look at my reader or Twitter list (which has a lot of LA area bloggers) it's more evenly spread. Also, how does it split between restaurant bloggers and recipe bloggers?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

As the other half of Infinite Fress, let me elucidate what you were not able to discern from my husband's ironic comments: Your words, dear Kevin, give the impression that you might be harboring anti-Semitic feelings. The Charles Murray reference? (You could have Googled it, by the way.) Let's just say a reasonable, fair-minded person would not want to be associated with his discredited methodologies, which are blatantly racist. Kind of like your post. While it's a good thing, sociologically speaking, to pose the questions you've presented, the way in which you set about answering them is inherently problematic and laden with stereotypes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:46:00 AM  
Blogger ila said...

@Kevin, @HC

not to open an ugly can of worms... but here's some observations i've made based on my experience in food sales in the LA/OC area:

1) on the micro level: Modern Chinese & Vietnamese people (and families) tend to dine out more than, say, Korean and Japanese. Maybe ethnicities with stronger street food cultures tend to eat out more? Based on personal observations, I've noticed this tendency even on a micro-micro level. People from Osaka (insane!!! street food culture) tend to eat out more than people from other parts of Japan (i.e., rural Hiroshima).

2) on the macro level: Asians are *more inclined* to try out new restaurants, whereas non-Asian clients tend to stick to what they already like. Which explains the demographics dynamics that iso often seen during a restaurant's opening year (well, at least Asian restaurants): there will be a huge initial influx of Asians, but after the first quarter, or after the 'hype' dies down, the loyal (and local) non-Asian patrons tend to stick with the restaurant while the average Asian patron will go and search a new place to try.



just my observation!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I have thought about this question for several years, it's exciting that you took a stab at it. I live on the east coast and use Yelp/Chowhound more than blogs, but observed the same phenomenon.

I don't think education and income have as much to do with it. For one thing, many blogs do not regularly feature very expensive meals like yours does. On Yelp, it's also rare to find people who have the resource to go to expensive restaurants all the time. Rather, some of the most prolific reviewers tend to focus on inexpensive, quite often ethnic places with good food.

In sum, I believe cultural/social factor have more to do with this than educational/economical/technological factor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

Yikes. The Charles Murray card has been thrown! And you really don't want to be associated with that dude....

I can't say I agree with anything you've written, dear Kevin, but interesting topic nonetheless.

My take is that your view may be a bit myopic. While this list seems comprehensive, you might actually be missing lots and lots of other bloggers.

I think the seeming prevalence of bloggers of Asian descent is largely colored by the company they keep. A lot of bloggers tend to associate with other bloggers. Even more so, Asian bloggers often associate with other Asian bloggers.

You may only know what you see, and what you see may not be the complete picture.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger MyLastBite said...

Sake & Scotch baby! : )

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Julie Nguyen said...

kevin, pleeeaaase. :) From one fellow Bruin and foodie to another:

Food is the sex. Cooking is like screwing. Blogs are a platform for porn. Asians are perhaps the most sexually repressed race in the US. Asians are just putting their sexual energy into eating.

I propose this to be one of the main catalysts of the Asian food blogging phenomenon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Julie Nguyen said...

Of course, any evidence I have of Asian sexual repression is only anecdotal. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Hall-e said...

Kevin,

Again, you've posted an interesting read, but I agree with WeezerMonkey. Everything here is secondary research, and a lot of this seems to be based only on what you see and what you've heard from others. If you wanted to do some primary research here, perhaps you could interview a bunch of Asian foodies in the area, and include those who blog and those who do not blog. Then you can go out and do the same with non-Asians and qualitatively determine what key differences there may be. Then, you will likely have more basis to form your hypothesis. Not that I am discounting any of this excellent work you have done already, but this would actually make for an interesting research study - and one that may not be so hard to do, given that bloggers are so well connected with one another (as you mention), and you definitely have the social circle to do so.

OR, you could pay me (in food, urasawa, donuts, tacos, or whatever currency) to do the above, as its what I do for a living ;)

Nevertheless, great post indeed. Definitely got people talking.

-Holly

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Dylan: Good job with your initial post on the matter--I knew I couldn't be the very first person to tackle this. As for R&B, I'll leave that one up to you.

Steve/Marisa: So I'm an anti-Semite? No. Now onto Charles Murray. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Murray's main point in The Bell Curve is that IQ, not socioeconomic status or other outside forces, is the central determinant of one's quality of life. Controversially, he also tied intellect to race, and implied that IQ differences are genetic. In my post, I make no mention of intelligence or genetics. Rather, I attribute blogging to cultural and socioeconomic reasons, factors that are not intrinsically tied to race. Please do not misconstrue my post to say that Asians are somehow genetically superior.

Anon: What should we drink instead?

Aaron: Thank you; I appreciate the explanation, and you may be on to something--reminds me that I need to read Omnivore's Dilemma. Also, now that you mention it, I do recall hearing about how the Japanese had a tendency to photograph food...

Bill: Ok, so what you're proposing is that although differences in education/income/technology may exist, their impact to food blogging is relatively minimal once a certain threshold is reached. Once that minimum is achieved, most groups of people will have a similar appreciation for cuisine. However, differences in cultures will affect how members partake and express their appreciation for food and dining. I can buy that.

Kate: Certainly, the list comprises many bloggers whom I don't know or follow. That being said, there probably is some bias present nonetheless. However, I don't believe that such bias would materially affect the main thrusts of this post. As for the restaurant versus recipe debate, this post clearly aims to deal with the former, though I'd love to see a study done looking at the differences between the two groups. Please let me know of any restaurant bloggers that I can add to the list.

Ila: Great commentary. Since you do work in food sales, I appreciate the unique point of view.

Peter: "I believe cultural/social factor have more to do with this than educational/economical/technological factor." I agree with the statement, though I believe that the other items do come into play in some regard.

Sharon: So you're proposing that the very premise of the post is flawed, that Asians are not overrepresented? I do agree with you that there may be some selection bias at play. However, given that Asians are so overrepresented (over five times) in the list, don't you think that there must be something else at play, other than mere sampling error?

Jo: A winning combination!

Julie: Wanna cook? ;)

Holly: I think that a combination of primary research and up-to-date statistics would be best. You could help with both, no?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Marisa & Steve said...

Oy gevault. Thanks for reciting what you found on Wikipedia. We appreciate your nuanced response. Moreover, we did not call you an anti-Semite; we merely pointed out that what you wrote could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. Please read -- and write -- more carefully. All the best, the IF Team

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:17:00 PM  
Blogger Anna A. said...

Very interesting post! Oh, and I am BananaWonder and almost consider myself asian after growing up in an almost all asian community in nor cal - Mah Jong nights, Chinese school soccer team, etc. Plus I'm Asian Minor Greek! I love your blog, Kevin. Keep doin what you're doin!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

Asians are "so overrepresented" on your list. I don't take your list as gospel. "Mere sampling error" is not mere. It would refute your whole theory that persons of Asian descent dominate the food blogging scene.

Even if I gave credence to your list as an accurate representation of food bloggers in Los Angeles, that's all it would be -- a list of food bloggers in Los Angeles. Pure geography could explain the phenomenon.

As for your five points, #1 is the only one that could possibly hold water to me. I agree with Steve -- the rest really smacks of The Bell Curve.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

And I hope you dropped my real name on accident and not to piss me off.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the need for the LA data (if it exists) and with the people who wrote about the "you list who you know" factor. I can think of a number of non-Asian LA-based food bloggers you don't have on your list:

Hot Knives - White
http://www.urbanhonking.com/hotknives/

Soul Fusion Kitchen - African-American
http://soulfusionkitchen.blogspot.com/

Hobson's Choice - White
http://nochoiceatall.blogspot.com/

Matt Bites - Hispanic
http://mattbites.com/

Fresh Approach Cooking - White
http://freshcatering.blogspot.com/

And so on.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 5:59:00 PM  
Blogger Esi said...

Kevin, I prefer recipe blogging because I love to cook. It relaxes me and in my crazy, stressed out life I just don't have a lot of time to eat out all that much. At the same time, I very much enjoy going out to eat and I try to bring my camera when I do so I can document some of those experiences as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6:42:00 PM  
Blogger sku said...

I can definitively state that Sku is not Asian. He's white and Jewish, if that matters.

I agree with the earlier poster that Jews, too, seem disproportionately represented in food media, if not blogging. There's Gold, Steingarten, the Sterns, etc. Perhaps people who have spread out all over the world develop tastes for a wider variety of cuisines than those who live in more homogeneous environments, but I don't know, I'm a food blogger, not a sociologist.

Interestingly, the much smaller community of whiskey blogging, of which I am also a member, is nearly all white guys, but maybe that's just because of all the Scots.

Cheers,

Sku.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6:50:00 PM  
Blogger Hall-e said...

@kevin

Yes, and Yes. This is actually the kind of stuff I do every day. Surveying a random sample of people who have food blogs in the LA area (not just the ones that people can recall in this comment thread) wouldn't be too difficult to do, but unfortunately, there's a cost involved. And because you're really trying to see if Asians differ from Non-Asians in their motivations for food blogging, you'll need enough total sample size to cut the data by ethnicity while ensuring you still have a fairly representative sample (i.e., not skewed towards any one gender) but still with enough Asians to analyze as a separate group. I'd think you'd also want to pull out other profiling variables such as gender, income, education, type of food blog (recipe vs. restaurant), and then some. I could go on all day. Again, this is all possible to do, but to do it right, there's a cost involved because of the methodology used.

That's why I suggested interviewing bloggers you know first, but you should use an independant person to conduct the interviews to eliminate bias. Hearing what they have to say vs. what we may see/assume about their motivations could be/and is likely very different. This too, can be costly and is not quantifiable, but i think it's just easier and still gets you some answers you need.

However, I'd be happy to bid this entire study out to the highest bidder! ;) hey, I'm still saving for my "first dinner at Urasawa" and yes I'm asian, and yes I have a food blog.

-holly

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger puppychao said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:43:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Marisa & Steve: I think we can agree: Charles Murray, thus, would not necessarily be proud.

Anna: Thanks! So I take it your blog name's a reference to being both "Yellow" and White?

WM: I actually used your name because I've seen a lot of other people using it freely in their blogs. But since you've protested, I will revert back to WM. In any case, Asians make up 12.9% of LA. If you can put together a list of restaurant-focused bloggers with a similar percentage of Asians, then yes, you could completely refute my whole premise. Please see my response to Infinite Fress regarding Mr. Murray.

Anon: I appreciate the links. I wasn't able to add them all unfortunately, as I'm really trying to focused on restaurant-centric blogs for now. It'd be great if you could provide some more of those.

Esi: Thank you for that insight. I've always been somewhat curious about the differences in psychology between the two groups.

Sku: Thanks for chiming in; I've added you to the list. The world of drink blogging is a whole other realm, which I don't even want to begin to delve into. I'll let you tackle that one.

Holly: Ok, unfortunately it looks like the cost outweighs the benefit here. I guess we'll leave it to someone in academia to find a definitive answer to the question.

Puppy: Glad you caught it. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 8:19:00 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

Good article Kevin and looks like I'm adding you to my book marks. But heres a question which would be difficult to answer. Lets just say your number are correct and there is a high percentage of Asians who blog about food (vs. other ethnicities).
1. Is there a higher ratio of Asian food bloggers vs. Asian non food bloggers? How are you determining that a blog is a food blog, over 50% of entries are about food?
2. What is the overall amount of Asian Bloggers vs. Non Asian Bloggers (regardless of subject)
I'm aware you won't be able to get those stats but I think the answer could offer a less interesting answer. For example, if Asians made up of 75% of all bloggers, than by n large, whatever we write about will be of a higher ratio. No?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:17:00 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

I'm sorry, disregard number one. its confusing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Kevin, you've made an honest effort, but a weak one nonetheless. Firstly, saying that Asian bloggers in South Carolina would be overrepresented per their census figures based on your observations in Los Angeles is just pure speculation. There is no basis in fact.

Next, recipe bloggers ARE food bloggers. I saw that you said you only wanted to count restaurant-centric bloggers, but in fact, you have a few recipe ones on your list: Wandering Chopsticks (who does both) and Stellar Recipes, to name a few.

In putting together your food blog list, did you perhaps consider your social network connections? If I were to take a poll, first starting with my friends, and then my friend's friends, and so on, would I reach the "random sampling" that a good poll requires? No. Our social networks do not behave in such a manner -- we tend to associate with people who share like-minded values, needs and wants.

Your list of food bloggers seems to be just that. Friends, then friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. There's should be little surprise that MOST of them are Asian.

Now I'm not denying that there aren't a lot of Asian bloggers. There are. But your argument is weakened by such poor evidence.

P.S. I would also urge you to rethink your five caveats. I don't believe you are racist, but there are extremely racist implications in your arguments. Perhaps it's time for a follow up post with some alternative scenarios?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

I can't figure out why there are so many Asian bloggers in LA... I couldn't even begin to tell you or make a guess. I give you props for discussing the subject but as I look around to my friends I drink wine with there are surprisingly few of us that are of Asian descent. Most of these people are very well educated and wealthy.

When you walk into a fine dining restaurant a very small minority of the patrons are of Asian descent. An even smaller population in our age group.

Maybe us Asians just like to be seen and heard in LA and we're nerds for diddling around on our computers hehe. :P.

Fine post either way!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous r a m e n i a c said...

the reason so many asians - namely, asian americans - listen to r&b slow-jams is simple. our diaspora is so vast and our immigrant experiences are so varied that, unlike african americans, we've never managed to forge any sort of uniquely asian american musical tradition to call our own. african americans, perhaps due to a shared history of slavery, segregation, and the subsequent struggle for civil rights, can lay claim to having created jazz, the blues, and hip hop. we can lay claim to no such thing.

displaced and unable to identify with the music of the majority (tell me how many asians you're likely to find at a taylor swift concert) asian ams instead co-opt the posture and the music of the majority minority whether as a conscious or unconscious means of empowerment - and so we front the sound, style, and mannerisms of black america: hip hop, gangsta rap, and yes, even r&b slow jams.

in short, until asian americans come together to create a unique musical/pop cultural tradition of their own (and not one that's imported from Japan, btw), we'll keep right on rocking the hoop earrings and fade haircuts like we're at a keith sweat concert in 1989.

of course, it'll never happen because our parents would rather us be accountants and engineers than poets and rockstars. at least we can satisfy our deep-seeded need for adoration and minor celebrity status from the comfort of our shiny corporate cubicles, wherein we'll keep right on blogging about the shit we ate for dinner the night before.

nice post, kevin. =P

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Bill: (1) Disregarded as requested. (2) That is an excellent question. I'd hazard that Asians would also be overrepresented in the general blogosphere. You make a great point though. Maybe the question should be "Why Are There So Many Asian Bloggers?"

Nancy: (1) Yes, my comment about South Carolina is just speculation, and shouldn't have anything to do with the discussion at hand. (2) Though recipe bloggers are certainly a subset of food bloggers, I believe that the processes involved are different enough to warrant a division between the two. Thus, perhaps a more accurate title for this post would've been "Why Are There So Many Asian Restaurant Bloggers?" There is the issue of hybrid blogs, like yours and WC's--inclusion thus comes down to a judgment call. Stellar Recipes was included because Vern was previously associated with gastronomyblog.com, but recently broke away on his own. I'd have included him under gastronomyblog.com otherwise. Which other sites were questionable? (3) I agree that the poll is not completely random. However, I have sought out "neutral" sources such as Digesty and reader submissions, so it's not merely "friends of friends." I'd appreciate it if you could point me toward a more non-biased list. Do you believe that a truly random poll would erase all of the disparity? (4) Please point out the racist language, and I'll look into it.

Charlie: Ok, so your personal experiences would discount factors 2 and 3, but emphasize factors 4 and 5. That's fair enough. What role does culture play?

Rickmond: Impressive work--so Dylan really was on to something then: Asians' penchant for R&B slow jams and food blogging are inextricably linked! :P

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger bagnatic said...

kevin, good, ballsy post. blogging is a form of expression no? it is also one of the safest methods to express oneself to a larger audience unless you prefer to go on american idol like william hung to sing "she bangs." if age old asian stereotypes serves me correctly, in general, we asians like to play it safe like typing behind a computer. we asian people also like carrying cameras. a ha! no wonder we blog!

all joking aside, the five factors you've identified are somewhat simplistic due to the myriad of personal reasons each person has for blogging. i applaud you for your valiant effort to explain it nevertheless. perhaps next time, you can run a survey as well and that may provide some insight. if there's a part II, i'm definitely reading it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 1:24:00 AM  
Anonymous matt said...

It was mentioned earlier but I do think it bears clarification: these are mainly restaurant food bloggers. There's an entire world of other food blogging out there once you leave the dining room.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 5:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Simply Googling "Los Angeles Restaurant Blog" will yield several that are not on the list. Foodie Universe, Low End Theory, To Live and Eat in LA, Quarry Girl, Los Angeles Foodie, The Los Angeles Food Blog, etc.

There are a lot of people out there who blog about restaurants in Los Angeles. What's amazing is that all of the Asian bloggers have built up this community -- they dine together, they read each other's blogs, etc. I doubt anyone on your list is more than a few degrees of separation from one another in the blogging world.

You need to reach outside of that blogging web before you can make broad judgments about why something is the way it is. It may be as simple as Asians seeing blogging as a community that they feel comfortable about.

Your caveats are not about racist language, but about racist implications. By saying that Asians like restaurant blogging because they are generally wealthier and more educated is not saying much. Likewise, I can say Asians like to drive BMWs because they are generally wealthier and more educated. That wouldn't explain the reason why Asians prefer BMWs to Range Rovers, or why they prefer restaurant blogging to recipe blogging. Do you see where your argument gets sticky?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Burnt Lumpia said...

Great analysis, Kevin. I've often assumed that education went hand in hand with the large numbers of Asian food bloggers, but it's good to see the data back it up. With that said, it'd be interesting to see the other types of subjects (non-food blogs) that Asians blog about.

Besides the cultural significance of food among Asians, what else is important to us? Family in general? With that premise, wouldn't there be a large number of blogs about family written by Asians? I doubt that there are, I'm just thinking out loud. Would food be the #1 blogging subject among blogging Asians?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, you are a tool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger morabbiton said...

I'd like to point out that most of these LA bloggers are of low national/Internet prominence (no offense). You guys may be well known in the LA community, but it's not necessarily the case that your food blogs are popular among the wider population.
The most prominent asian food bloggers IMO would be Pim of Chez Pim, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, Robyn of Girl Who Eats Everything and is an editor/blogger at SeriousEats. I'd also include Diane of White on Rice Couple, and also Keiko of Nordijus. Also Francis Lam who's not exactly a blogger (former writer at Gourmet and now blogger at Salon)
These are bloggers that have been around since the beginning. They've also wrangled book deals from their blogs and have significant networks in the restaurant, magazine, and other aspects of the food industry.

I'm not really sure how this is relevant anymore. but I think your LA data is skewed.

Maybe another interesting question would be to see what percentage of food blog readers are Asian

I don't think you can in any way label SeriousEats as racist towards asians.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with morabbiton (above comment). No LA food blogger has been published or on television or radio. You know why? Because of your lack of research and mutual admiration club. Asian LA food bloggers might have some money but they got no clout!

You guys and girls aren't good enough to be published. Asian bloggers will always stay bloggers and not real writers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asian food bloggers blogging disproportionately about their favorite 'white' chefs!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 1:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’d like to start off by saying that I am Asian and not part of the LA food blogging scene, But I have had the opportunity to meet Kevin as well as a fair number of people that have commented on this blog. First off I would like to applaud your efforts in attempting to tackle the question of why there are a lot of Asian food bloggers in the LA scene.

Now putting things very bluntly, you believe culture, money, education, “access”(which I think falls under the category of money), and wantingness to show off, have to do with why there are so many Asian food bloggers. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with the asian culture idea or the asian wantingness to show off (because I believe that its more or less true), money and education, however, I believe have little to do with it and you present it in a tasteless (pun intended) and very misleading fashion.

My main issue with kevin’s article lies in the poor data analysis, as well as conclusion drawing. Kevin’s presentation of the census data is very misleading. So let’s use the same 1999 census data, and I argue the converse, that if money and education are a pretty important factor, then there should be significantly more white than asian food bloggers (and perhaps there are). As of 1999, there are 4,637,062 whites in LA of which 915,240 have bachelors or higher, as opposed to 1,137,500 Asians with 332,020 with bachelors or higher. Or to put things into percentages, of all college graduates, 61% are white, 22% are asian, 7% are black, and 10% or so are Hispanic. When presenting the information properly, this clearly argues against a level of education account. There are three times as many white college graduates than asian college graduates. By the same token, excluding college education, there are nearly 4 times as many white people in LA than asian people. Since the median incomes don’t differ very much between whites and Asians, this must mean there are approximately 4 times as many white people that make the same amount of money as asian people. In a similar vein, there are also probably 4 times as many white diners as asian diners so what drives asians to write about their experiences? Thus I would argue that education and money are hardly predictive factors of food blogging. (As a point of clarification, I am not implying that food blogging does not require money, simply that having money does not make you a food blogger. But I would argue that someone who makes 35k a year would NOT frequent Urasawa)

Now lets take a look at the “higher educational attainment data” that Kevin presents. I find irony in the fact that he uses the Asians 61.6% aged between 25-29 as support for the higher percent of asian bloggers because blogging has “emphasis on experimentation, research, and writing.” In some ways I am glad that critical thinking was not mentioned. Again, lets look at the raw numbers used in this 2003 survey. There were a total of 185,183 people surveyed. Of the surveyed people, approximately 4.2% were asian, 72.1% were white, 11.1% were black, 11.4% were Hispanic and 1.2% didn’t answer race. Of the grand total, 18,721 people were in the age range of 25-29 and if we assume a race distribution similar to the grand total, then that means there were about 786 asians, 13498 white, 2078 black, 2134 hispanic, and 225 unknowns in this age range. Now if we look properly at the raw number of the different races that have attained a bachelors degree or more, then that translates to 484 asians, 4616 whites, 357 blacks, 213 hispanic. Flipping it back to percentages of the people in the age range of 25-29 that have attained a bachelors degree or more, 8.5% were asian, 81.4% white, 6.3% black, 3.7% Hispanic. There are almost 10 times as many white people than asian people in the 25-29 age range that have attained a bachelors or more. So much for higher education being a factor in the disproportionate number of asian food bloggers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I ran over the character limit so this is a continuation of the above)

To turn things on its head, a more interesting question, and a less racially loaded one is what traits do restaurant bloggers have in common? And maybe to follow up, one might ask if these traits are shared predominantly by Asian folk. To be provocative, a couple things I wonder about restaurant bloggers are if they are primarily single and/or if food bloggers live at home (or are financially supported by their parents). Traditional Asian parents tend to want their daughters (and sons to some extent) to live at home until they marry. This would of course allow for a lot more money to be spent on the “luxuries” of life. Being single also allows for more funds. Or perhaps food bloggers have a higher tendency to live with roommates/housemates (as opposed to in their own apartment) which also allows for larger blogging funds. Things may of course be much simpler in that food blogging in general might just be a fad that is more popular with the Asian crowd.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Bag: Your point about self-expression is worth considering. It touches upon a comment made earlier by Aaron that Asians perhaps tend to be more repressed growing up, so blogging represents an outlet of sorts. Also, there are indeed many personal reasons for blogging; in fact, for me, it's mainly for the social aspect. The question then becomes, which "personal" factors transcend the personal and become endemic to Asians as a whole?

Matt: Absolutely, and I think that the different genres of food blogging attract different types of bloggers.

Nancy: I've added 15 additional blogs--we're going in the right direction. You make an interesting point about the community aspect--perhaps Asian bloggers beget other Asian bloggers. Regarding the caveats, I think that there's a distinction to be made. I believe Asians food blog mainly due to social and cultural factors; income and education provide some of the capability to do so--they're more like enablers, not necessarily the root of the issue.

Marvin: Great questions. I'd wager that Asians would tend to be overrepresented in other blogging spheres as well. As for the top subjects, I'm sure food would be up there. I think I've seen a decent number of family-focused blogs. Maybe technology, entertainment, music?

Anon: And you're someone who has trouble thinking of an intelligent contribution to the discussion, so you go for the ad hom attack, protected by the veil of anonymity afforded by the Internet. Yep, I'd rather be the tool.

Morabbiton: Pointing out the "low" prominence of LA bloggers is a fair observation. Perhaps we tend to be more inwardly-focused; that is, we blog for more of a local audience. You also raise a good point about the demographics of the readers--I would love to know that. Also, I don't quite follow your "SeriousEats as racist" comment; can you elaborate?

Anon: So are you saying that Asian LA bloggers suck, or all LA bloggers suck?

Anon: "Why Are There So Many White Chefs?" I'll let someone else tackle that one.

Anon: You're right. To clarify, I agree that income and education don't necessarily drive the desire to food blog. Rather, I believe that they are factors that make blogging more accessible, if one did have the urge. In other words, factors 1 and 5 provide more of the impetus, while the others provide the ability. This was not clear in the original post. Finally, why try to conceal your identity? Since you do know many of us here, would you not feel comfortable making your statement in person?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Reemski said...

I'd have to agree with Sydneyfoodie that specifically here in Sydney Australia the majority of food bloggers (both homecooks + restaurant reviews types) are Asian. It is noticed and very obvious at any major foodie event, yet does not appear to be replicated in other major Australian cities. I have no idea why. The replication that is!

check out: http://australianfoodblogs.wordpress.com/ for a fairly comprehensive rundown of Australian Foodblogs

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 9:48:00 PM  
Anonymous matt said...

Anonymous earlier mentioned:

"No LA food blogger has been published or on television or radio."

That's incorrect. Los Angeles bloggers have appeared in print and radio and continue to do so.

A number have been featured on our Good Eats radio show with Evan Kleiman, some bloggers write for Squid Ink, Eddie Lin has written a book, I've even appeared on the Martha Stewart Show.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 4:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, MORABBITON, ANON,

Do some basic research instead of talking out of your asses so much. A SIMPLE Google search would show you that Matt of Matt Bites has been on NATIONAL TV, hello, Martha Stewart Show. Ever hear of her??? Matt Bites also has been named one of the best food blogs nationally and internationally.

Another example, Eddie Lin, on Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel, another NATIONAL TV SERIES. He's also been published in the New York Times! Ever hear of that little newspaper??? He has a book published as Matt above mentioned. Deep End Dining was named as one of the best food blogs in Food & Wine Magazine. Google it!

Yet another example, Dylan Ho, FIRST LA food blogger on NATIONAL TV, Tony Bourdain's No Reservations. Maybe, perhaps, you've heard of that show?

Unfortunately I think you guys need another example. Sarah Gim of The Delicious Life has been on TV and mentioned by Pulitzer Prize winning food writer, Jonathan Gold many, many times. Do you know what a Pulitzer Prize is?

Kevin, you agree with Morabbiton's assesment about the "low prominence" of LA food bloggers. Really? How did you come to this accord? How many seconds did it take for you to agree with absolute bullshit?

Perhaps the "low prominence" is with the Asian people in the photo.
If you are referring to your immediate circle of "low prominence" Asian food blogging buddies, then I'd wholeheartedly agree. If this entire thesis is based on your "low prominence" LA Asian food blogging pals, then I have no problem with this little essay you tapped out.

Kevin, stop it with your myopia. Just because you use big words and present your argument in separate paragraph headings doesn't mean you know what you speak of. It's like a having garbage truck driver throwing on a lab coat and passing himself off as a scientist.

LA food blogging began long before you and your pals came along. You need to respect that.

Learn something before you begin lecturing.

Notice many high profile LA food bloggers aren't commenting. Why? Because they know this is a joke and they're laughing behind your back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Esi said...

Oh, I also forgot to mention that recipe blogging relates more to the career path I want to pursue. I like seeing the discussion on here by the way.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Shanna said...

It is truly amazing the number of comments this post has gotten.

To those who added to the discussion with more ideas, additional theories, etc, thank you.

However, I am shocked at the amount of hostility out there. Where does this come from??? Can't people agree to disagree amicably?

Kevin, you are handling it wonderfully. Thanks for you constantly intelligent and interesting posts and analysis.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Although not all parts of the points I agree with, I commend you for tackling this topic (and responding to so many different comments!).

The one that I laughed at was this "
Higher Educational Attainment". Quite obvious at my school. Teachers freely call a "B" the so called "Asian fail", which is quite scary. It was not only until this year I knew there was such thing!

How did you guess I was Asian? Restaurant posts and recipes? ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2010 4:22:00 PM  
Blogger uhockey said...

I just wanted to say this was a very enjoyable read - cheers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 6:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an exploding blog post comment thread! Any press is good press, and I think this will be great in getting your name out there.

Everyone has their theory on why so many food bloggers are Asian. I have a couple more ideas...First, I think a lot of Asians tend to like to document and remember things. Look at our elaborate wedding albums and overflowing collection of sticky pictures. Secondly, I think Asians are very good at delayed gratification. We value what we'll have in the future and often forget or overlook what we have in the present. In the case of the food blogger, perhaps creating a record of the experience becomes more important than the experience itself. As someone who eats very frequently with a food blogger, I wish sometimes he'd just forget about the lighting, angles, etc. and just be happy spending some time together.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:38:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Reemski: Thanks for the international perspective. I actually know a blogger from Sydney; she used to run tubntubby.blogspot.com

Matt: You're right. Good looking out.

Anon: And Javier Cabral (Teenage Glutster) has been on Bizarre Foods as well.

Esi: So I take it you want to become a professional chef?

Shanna: I appreciate the support, and I too am surprised at the response; I never expected over 100 comments. But remember, this is the Internet--perceived anonymity brings out the worst in people.

EatTravelEat: I think this pretty much does it: "I live in Southern California and have been into food as a child, having eaten a delicious bowl of fried rice at Hong Kong's Choi Fook in Fortress Hill." Love the bit about "Asian Fail."

uhockey: Thanks. I'm glad at least somebody enjoyed it.

Anon: Not sure if any press is good press, but I'll take it. And your two points, both apply to me. I always look back at all those meals that I had during my pre-blogging era and curse my self for not documenting them. For example, one of the best dinners that I've ever had was at Citronelle in DC--it's nothing but a vague memory now. My formative years are pretty much forgotten and lost.

Friday, January 15, 2010 3:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Erika said...

I agree that much of this seems to be just based on your own circle of friends - if you're looking at food bloggers in general, few of the "big names" are asian (chocolate and zucchini, orangette, david lebovitz, the weds chef, tartine gourmand, dorie greenspan.....) - in fact, the only ones i can think of are chez pim and white on rice. perhaps it would be interesting to see why this is purely a local, and not national (or global?) phenomenon?

Friday, January 15, 2010 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon: You guys and girls aren't good enough to be published. Asian bloggers will always stay bloggers and not real writers.

Lol. Mad that asians are more successful than you in every other regard? Maybe the reason a lot of asian bloggers don't gun to be published is because to them, blogging is a hobby. A "side dish", if you will, to their infinitely more important, and lucrative primary careers. Do you think a lot of people just randomly get published or spots on tv shows out of the blue purely based on merit? Are you telling me people get famous because they're just THAT good? A lot of effort goes into becoming "prominent"...finding a publisher, networking, connections, advertising etc.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger hummm said...

my first post here

good article

Sunday, January 17, 2010 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous The Duo Dishes said...

We're black bloggers, but we also do more recipes. Although we both come from very different families, neither one of us comes from a lower income household. Eating out and cooking at home were both important. At some point, we just realized the comfort, beauty and awesomeness of eating in is just as, if not more, fun than eating out. There's a disparity in the blog world for sure. It's interesting to compare/contrast the make up of the blog world (restaurants or recipes) and the real food world too...Very interesting!

Sunday, January 17, 2010 8:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Thirsty Pig said...

Very interesting post and comment list. I am Asian and I also have a blog - http://blog.thethirstypig.com

I do have a theory. Do you think since we are Asian that we are more inclined and have less reservations about trying new cuisine than our counterparts? Since Asian foods are similar and yet so different, we look forward to Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, etc. And just the sheer number Asians in the Los Angeles area, there should be an abundance of bloggers.

But I do agree with many of the previous posts that perhaps, it might be just as interesting to see data from other areas.

Just my 2 cents.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Regardless of personal opinion, I appreciate the anecdotal and statistical information you offer to support your claim. Based on the flurry of angry and supportive comments, I think you hit a nerve within the food blogging community. I hope those that oppose your view write up their own opinion pieces on their blogs and continue the conversation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Erika: I would guess that Asians in general are not as likely to pursue blogging as a career, hence the lower number of "big names."

Anon: That's my situation certainly. Not sure how it holds up for others though.

hummm: Hopefully not your last?

Chrystal+Amir: I appreciate hearing about what it's like on the recipe side of things. Thank you for the insight, and keep on cooking!

Jimmy: Yes, I've known about your blog for some time now! As to your point (I believe someone mentioned it earlier too), the relative similarity between Asian cuisines may have something to do with the phenomenon as well. I definitely think that it's more than the sheer number of Asians in LA though. Even accounting for population, Asians are still overrepresented.

Brooke: Amen to that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 7:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

(Sorry if this was stated, I just haven't read all the comments...)

Like everyone else, I think this is super interesting and well thought out and presented.

I have to add my (white-girl) theory though. It just seems food blogging is trendier and more socially accepted by Asians than for, um Caucasians. (OMG, sorry. Whites. Uhg. Whatever.)

Honestly, most (if not all) of my (equally well-educated, financially secure, white) friends find food blogging pretty mock-worthy, (So much so I don’t ever mention it around them. I just get a lot of eye rolling. I have no idea why, it's just my experience.) whereas it just seems more acceptable in Asian social circles.

I might think that because most of the food bloggers I actually know are Asian, (and therefore accepting), but that’s my take.

xoxo,
Rachael

Friday, January 22, 2010 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger Austin S. said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA this is so great

Friday, January 22, 2010 8:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Erika said...

Perhaps - but most of those "big names" just started out blogging on the side, with careers not attached to their blogging pursuits.

Friday, January 22, 2010 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Rachael: Thanks for the insight; I don't believe that anyone had mentioned that before. Perhaps the "acceptance" is due to the aforementioned cultural factors?

Austin: Indeed. As a chef, do you have any thoughts on the matter?

Erika: If the bulk of the "big names" did indeed start out blogging on the side, then maybe the difference is the desire, or perhaps the risk taking needed, to take their blogs to the next level.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Big fan of Kevin eats, but really, this post reeks of studies done by a certain 1940's country that did studies on why they were superior to others.

As an "asian", i consider my self more as an American. I love food. I love culture. Nothing more that bleeds culture than Los Angeles. POINTLESS POST. Respect Los Angeles. Respect America. Lets get back to FOOD AND CULTURE.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 1:59:00 AM  
Blogger charles said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelly von Hemert said...

Hi Kevin,
What a BRAIN!Thanks for the great post. I am white, but I often gravitate towards Asian restaurants and find Asian food an endlessly fascinating subject. Your mom's greeting to friends says it all. It's a really beautiful culture that looks at food totally different than caucasian culture does. There's always so much to learn. Cheers!
Kelly

Friday, January 29, 2010 3:31:00 PM  
Blogger me said...

BRILLIANT commentary, kevin. your research is sound, thoughtful and presented in such a neutral and non-offensive way. but i think you forgot to include the REAL reason why there are so many food bloggers - we're just a bunch of HUNGRY NERDS!*

*D'OH! of course you already covered this: cultural significance of food and higher edumacation levels.

you rock!

Friday, January 29, 2010 8:14:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Joseph: Indeed, I love the food, love the culture, love the diversity that we have here in LA. But when that diversity is curiously missing in the blogs, I hardly think that trying to figure out why is pointless.

Kelly: Thanks for the insight--very interesting!

Jane: Hungry nerd? Yeah, that probably applies to me! We should have dinner again sometime.

Sunday, January 31, 2010 8:07:00 PM  
Blogger Food Allergy Queen said...

Thanks for taking a stab at this Kevin! It was something I noticed at a foodblogger event a few years ago, but didn't realize how prevalent it was in LA. I would possibly add that the Asian work ethic propels us to work a little harder since blogging is a labor of love, but of course you can't measure that!

BTW, I was alerted to this by Jet Tila, yet another Asian food blogger. :)

Foodallergyqueen.com

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:38:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Interesting comment about the work ethic! I don't think that anyone had mentioned that before. It's a cultural thing, no?

Friday, February 12, 2010 1:50:00 AM  
Blogger shopeatsleep said...

For accuracy's sake, could you please change my race to "Asian/White"? Funny, a lot of people think I'm fully Asian :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Thanks, I've fixed it Maya!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 1:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Online presence, recognition and respect is the Louis Vuitton bag of the Internet. I would be surprised if Asians were not the biggest consumers of LV bags. :-) For the most part, it's easy to get out and eat, take pictures and write about the trendy restaurants. It's self gratifying to be recognized and followed because of it.

There are a number of other things that people can blog about. What about taking pictures and blogging about providing community service or helping others? I haven't seen too many of those types of blogs, there's opportunity to differentiate from the hordes of other food bloggers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of the comments, but I'm wondering if anybody addressed the impact on the restaurant business by having one cultural group with this much influence...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger brekkie_fan said...

Great insight on this topic Kevin. I used to wonder if it was more of an OC thing (since that's where I've met most bloggers). Of course, it's probably regional as well - as CA has a high concentration of Asians in general.

I know 'Asian' cuisine is one that never closes. If it's Thanksgiving or Christmas.....one knows they can always get Chinese in SF or OC.

Growing up, many of my friends were not Asian. When I would go to their homes, parents were always waiting with food to show their hospitality. In that respect, I think it's more of a courtesy thing. However, films like Eat, Drink, Man, Woman or The Wedding Banquet were some of the first to really explore the connection and importance of food and family.

Asian cuisine covers so many tastes. There are similarities that we can relate to (Hawaiian ~ Filipino ~ Mexican. This is an example I can relate to), so trying something new isn't as foreign as say someone non-Asian having it.

Loved reading through the comments. Glad to see your appetite hasn't slowed down since I found you on myspace.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Anon: So you're emphasizing point #5, together with some self-centered vainglory. Fair enough--I actually agree. Blogging about "providing community service or helping others" just doesn't stroke the ego the same way, no? ;)

Anon: Interesting point! I hadn't thought about that aspect before.

Anne Marie: Good to see that you're still going strong after all these years. Thanks for the input!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous catty said...

Great read and very interesting.. and all I can say is there are a LOT of effin' foodbloggers in LA!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 7:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Very interesting and excellently written! I just shared this with my friends. :)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 3:14:00 PM  
Blogger PERRY a.k.a YUSUF said...

A real great read! The variety of tastes that Asian food offers, plus a whole lot more undiscovered.... in some little corners, you'd be surprised...In my home alone, one dish, different varieties ;-))))
So the Asian foodbloggers now will only give birth to some more....
Thank you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:50:00 AM  
Blogger Tiffin unBoxed said...

Kevin, Very provocative topic. Props to you for posting even the semi-hostile comments. I won't dissect your reasoning, just applaud your choice of topic. As far as why I blog (and am Asian):

1. get practice with creative writing
2. improve photography skills
3. document aspects of my heritage (haven't started that piece yet, but coming up)
4. my culture is also food-centric and the common greeting is 'have you eaten?' vs. 'how are you?'. First thing my mom asks me every time we talk.

Also, my blog is spelled Tiffin, not 'Tiffen' - please correct that.

Finally, Jo's sake + scotch (baby) was my fav comment in the whole dialogue! Cheers.

Friday, December 31, 2010 2:14:00 AM  
Blogger NicoleM said...

I remember reading this blog post a while ago & thinking that someday I'd be cool enough to make the list of AWESOMENESS as I will now fondly refer to it.

Thanks Kevin!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 5:32:00 PM  
Blogger Toni Tanner Scott said...

Guess how I found this post? Searching for African-American food blogs! I was aware of the absence of AA food bloggers (I'll share my ideas about that)--but I had no idea there were so many Asian bloggers. Your ideas on this subject are thought-provoking. African-Americans are so secretive about their recipes. Even close friends and family members won't share--it's crazy! Also, for some reason--we're often the late adopters of technology. As an African-American food blogger I can see the playing field is wide open.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:06:00 AM  
Blogger Frann said...

Add me Add me! Lost Asian in Buenos Aires :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:37:00 AM  
Blogger Stella Dacuma Schour said...

I think it is also the predisposition of Asians to be non queasy about food. Asian cuisine has been snout to tail for the longest time. Also, religion does not forbid us to eat pork or seafood.

There's also the way our food is consumed. We have to consume it sitting down, on a plate/bowl using utensils.

Friday, April 01, 2011 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Veggie 101 said...

I am a biracial (Black/White) food blogger in LA, please add me! Anyway, my blog is focused on vegetarian/vegan cooking and restaurant reviews...so my question is, where are the black vegetarians???

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 4:07:00 PM  
Blogger syori the foodie said...

Thanks for linking, kevin! I didn't find out until now!
yeah, it's an Asian thing~ for some reason others don't enjoy food the same way as Asians do~~
Nice research! We should do a group blog outing... :p

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Interesting post.But I would like to clear up one misconception of yours that food (restaurant) blogging is related to INCOME of the person,whereas recipe blogging is done as its cheap

.Food (restaurant) blogging CAN BE DONE by any tom,dick,harry with a computer,camera,and an opinion.But for recipe food blogging,one needs skill.

Non-East Asian food bloggers are ahead in the race of food(recipe) blogging.Google search,you will find it yourself.Cooking is an art.And not everyone can cook.
So I disagree with you that ''income'' has anything to do with food blogging.

Plz change title of this post as ''Why are there so many East Asian Food(RESTAURANT) Bloggers.

And not everyone would want to waste their precious time of dining out by clicking pictures and making mental notes of the food.Coz most of us want to enjoy the food and company of the person we are out with.

Another point why you think there are more East Asian restaurant bloggers,maybe because East Asians are not that popular in the social scene.So the time that East Asian restaurant bloggers spend on typing and posting what they ate this morning,the same time the non-East Asians have fun in the ''REAL'' world with ''REAL FRIENDS'' who have ''REAL SOCIAL LIFE''.

Friday, August 19, 2011 1:35:00 PM  
Blogger TRACY BARNES said...

Hey Kevin!!!

That is so interesting research. i really enjoyed this post as well as your blog overall.

Sunday, November 06, 2011 9:05:00 PM  
Anonymous The Noodle Diaries said...

Loved the post Kevin. It's also a great resource for food blogs!
Having lived in Beijing for quite a few years and interacting with Chinese on a daily basis, I can definitely confirm that at least this subsection of Asians take their food seriously. From price to value through quality, they mean business when they eat.

Heck, it's no wonder that a lot of business in done around the dining table: How can you you trust someone to do business with if you can't trust them to order and manage a meal at the restaurant

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous titus said...

Asians love to cook and eat eat... for me that's the reason why so ,any food bloggers have Asian blood.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Penfires said...

That just one way Asians show their appreciation to good food. Go Asians.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many different reasons.

1) All those you stated

2) East Asians usually work 'boring' jobs (engineer, accountant, pharmacist etc.) so they need a "creative" outlet to balance themselves

3) How else would they gain recognition from non-Asian people? Nobody pays mind to the nerdy Taiwanese guy at Fogo De Chao but they'll read his blog once they get home

4) 2nd Generation Asians are essentially pop-culturally handicapped at birth (our parents generally know little of American pop-culture so we're clean slates) so we must compensate in other ways...writing blogs/Yelp is one of them

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 8:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

19Its an interesting post and well researched. You can't seem to eat anywhere without spotting a food blogger. From fast food to fine dining they're out there!

Just one little comment;
Aren't your categories meant to be caucasians and african americans, not "whites" and "blacks"

Sunday, August 12, 2012 4:36:00 AM  
Blogger theCineasthete said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger theCineasthete said...

Hey Kevin, Love your blog! Still read it even though I'm stuck on the East Coast these days. Never commented because I used to work in the restaurant biz out there and seemed like a conflict of interest. I think, as your research seems to imply, that we are looking for the common zone on a venn diagram of influences.

I keep seeing people ponder in that semi-dismissive way that LA residents have of philosophizing about the rest of the country, whether or not this is an LA or perhaps California phenomenon. Having lived and traveled extensively in the South Eastern States, I have noticed that, overall most cities out here have a much smaller yelp review volume, though oddly enough, seem to maintain as similar volume of, as you said (East) Asian yelpers.

I live in a small city known for being a southern mecca for organic produce and livestock, biodynamic farming and Farm-To-Table, Seasonal restaurant culture. We are also count tourism as our chief industry. Most of the yelp and chowhound reviews of local restaurants here are penned by visitors from larger cities (Atlanta, Miami, NYC, LA, Portland, Seattle, New Orleans) and among these itinerant reviewers, the ethnic/racial trend seems to be maintained. I would therefore like to posit, that this is not just a local trend, but rather a significant cultural movement.

I don't find it to be limiting however, as I think the more important demographic information lies in the age/generation of food bloggers and food microbloggers. While I have known very many bloggers of a variety of races, I have yet to meet a single one outside the age range of appx 25-45.

I think this may be a self-perpetuating phenomenon as well. The food blogging movement obviously began in metropolitan areas like NYC and LA due to the technological infrastructure, and simple preponderance of worthy restaurants. I think, especially in LA and New York, that young, successful, well-educated people of Asian descent, also seem to be born or at least raised in those cities, whereas young, well-educated, financially capable people of Caucasian descent typically seem to be transplants, relocating after college. While I was in LA many of my Local Asian Food Blogger friends knew vastly more about the local food scene and its nuanced histories than did even the most thorough of my (lesser amount) of transplanted food blogger friends. Would love to see this aspect further researched.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Baby Joe Kim said...

I've always wondered if other people thought about this.

My general sense, though not empirically tried, is that asians value food more....the typical "foodie" (I hate this categorizing word) is Asian.

Or rather....The typical asian is a foodie.

Your research points in the right direction.
But I'd also like to add, like many have already i'm sure, a thought experiment without statistics or details.

When we came to the states, we held onto our asian food culture..our heritage. We cooked asian food at home. Yet were exposed in school and everywhere around us to "american food."

Our palettes were immediately opened to different worlds, textures, flavors automatically...more so than a white american family that eats their normal food then goes out to eat chinese take-out once in awhile.
Along those lines, asian food as so many different, unique textures and flavors.

I mean, let's be honest...lots of asian cultures straight up learned to harness Umami or throw MSG straight into food without knowing how good it is!!

WHAT A BLESSING!!!!!!!

Food is a cultural bridge. I love taking my buddies out to try new foods of all cultures!

Great post!

Monday, January 07, 2013 7:10:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Chai-Whan Kim said...

I think there are so many Asian bloggers because the world is full of Asians. Think about it!

Friday, March 08, 2013 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Orchidthief said...

Food is all we know and love. The only thing we love more is money. When we spend our hard earned money on amazing meals and somehow get a discount, it's like a double rainbow. I take pictures of all my food conquests before I eat them. And then I facebook it. And then I yelp it. I am asian hear me roar.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Bartender said...

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger The Bartender said...

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Bartender said...

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:32:00 PM  

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