What we talk about when we talk about NYTimes lifestyle articles

Dear Violet,

I don’t know how you feel about the NY Times style articles (but I think I have a pretty good idea). Me? I find them frequently pretty stultifying. For instance, there’s this weird theme running through an otherwise just-fine rundown on Korean tacos in the dining section:

But it’s a 21st-century paradox that Korean food, still considered exotic by many Americans, has begun to gain widespread acceptance, when wrapped in a Mexican flatbread and topped with taco truck embellishments.

I mean, I don’t have the data on this, but it seems to me that Korean tacos are kind of just-as-exotic as regular Korean food. I mean, I definitely have been meaning to check out Taco Chino, for a while now, but that kind of has more to do with my feeling that Korean tacos are, if anything, more exotic than regular Korean food and a potentially delicious novelty.

To be fair, who knows, the NYT may well be onto something here. After all, Korean food hasn’t yet been Americanized the way other Asian cuisines have, so maybe tacos are We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For or whatever… but still I kinda suspect that if regular Korean food were being sold out of taco regular Korean food trucks

it would also sell pretty ok. In my experience, the inaccessibility of Korean food for American diners has more to do with the the fact – and I know I’m being a total racist and generalizing – that a lot of the best Korean restaurants are really intimidating for completely non-culinary reasons (located in strange windowless storefronts, having menus completely in Korean, etc), so much so that I just don’t go any of them without one of my token Korean friends.

Anyway, the point is why why why does the NYT try to shoehorn every trend into the Theory of Everything? Can’t Korean Tacos just be Korean Tacos?


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