The Stream

Eating out, with a side of cultural appropriation

What constitutes cultural appropriation when it comes to food?

Eating foods from different cultures can be a way to connect with people around the world. But when is borrowing flavours from backgrounds other than your own considered wrong?


In Portland, Oregon, two white women were forced to close their Mexican burrito cart after people on social media criticised the business for what they saw as cultural appropriation. After a local newspaper report told their story of learning how to make tortillas for free during a trip to Mexico, the two women said they had even received death threats.

Why is there so much anger over these burritos? On Wednesday’s show, we want to examine the issues surrounding food, identity, and being accused of cultural appropriation. What is the difference between flavor inspiration and a culinary rip-off? 

Joining The Stream:

Nick Zukin @extramsg
Restaurant owner, Mi Mero Mole

Asha Gomez @ashagomez
Chef and cookbook author

Dakota Kim @dakotakim1
Food editor, Paste Magazine

Lucy Long
Director, Center for Food and Culture

What do you think? Leave your views in the comments section below.