Making Crepes is Not Cultural Theft

US Jianbing Maker Accused of “Stealing Chinese Culture” | The Nanfang.

A young American goes to China. She finds out how to make jianbing, a popular local street food. She goes home to Portland, and she opens up a shop to make it.

And is promptly excoriated by Chinese netizens for “stealing Chinese culture.”

Leave aside unfathomable presumption (or cultural chauvinism) that would prompt someone to suggest that only Chinese should be allowed to make Chinese food (or that only French should make French food, or that only Italians should make Italian food.)  Those who have issues with Alisa Grandy making her living on making Chinese crepes miss the bigger point:

This is exactly the kind of cultural diffusion that the Chinese should be applauding as a natural result of China’s rise. The world is discovering Chinese culture, and in the process more and more aspects of China will wind up woven into the world’s cultural fabric.

If Chinese chefs can make hamburgers, pizzas, and fajitas (and I know more than a few who do, and some very well), American chefs should be allowed to adopt – and extend – Chinese cuisine.


The problem is not food, the problem is an issue of social justice. Western countries ruthlessly exploited China for hundreds of years. When things like this happen, it is just another instance of cultural imperialism and Chinese people are fed up with it.

It’s all about what’s fair. It’s not fair for Westerners to come and appropriate Chinese culture and then make money selling it in a corrupt capitalist system. The author of this article needs some serious education and it’s shocking to see such uneducated right-wing drivel on an otherwise correct-thinking website.