'I love Chinese food, you know that it's true'
Alison Gold's viral music video "I Love Chinese Food" is taking the internet by storm - and viewers in China aren't as offended by it as Americans are
“I love Chinese food, you know that it’s true, I love fried rice, I love noodles, I love chow mien, chow mo-mo-mo-mo-mien!”
This is the chorus of a song titled “I Love Chinese Food”, sung by 12-year-old Alison Gold and released on Youtube on October 14.
In it, the pre-teen croons her love for Chinese food over a sugary sweet beat, prances in a field with a man dressed in a giant panda costume, and has a pillow fight with her friends, while declaring that her love for egg rolls, chop suey, fortune cookies and wonton soup is without equal.
Aside from its chorus, the song includes other choice lines such as “I smell food in the air, it’s Chinese food, my favourite, so I’m getting getting getting getting hungry” and “Chinese food takes away my stress, now I’m going to go and eat Panda Express.”
These lines were penned by Patrice Wilson, co-funder of Ark Music Factory, a musical production company in Los Angeles that filmed and promoted the video. Wilson, who appears as the video’s panda, originally founded Ark Music Factory to discover and display the talents of young singers.
The company has achieved notoriety in the last few years for music videos that have, in the words of internet bloggers, “exploited the dreams of pre-teen girls” and achieved “so bad it’s good” status. The company’s most famous video, “Friday” by 16-year-old high school student Rebecca Black, was notably ridiculed in 2011, but became a viral hit, even reaching number 58 on the US Billboard 100.
“I Love Chinese Food” seems to be emulating this success. In the three days since it was uploaded, the song has received over six million views and inspired hundreds of comments, which have labelled it everything from “the next viral sensation” to “racist”.
“[This song is] the best example of why American children … are among the worst educated in the world,” wrote one particularly vehement reviewer on Apple’s US iTunes store, where the song is available for download. “[Alison Gold] poorly identifies Japanese food as Chinese frequently throughout the song … as well as in the music video. A horrible song.”
While Gold’s video does feature a segment where the singer dances in a Japanese kimono, her references to “Chinese food” are probably not meant to refer to actual Chinese cuisine and are instead an ode to the stir-fried dishes served in takeaway restaurants in the United States. Many Chinese viewers, who were generally more sympathetic than their American counterparts, picked up on this when they watched the video.
“I think it’s very good,” said An Tanyo, a lifestyle writer from the mainland. “But fortune cookies only exist in overseas Chinese restaurants. Still, the little girl is cute and the black man dressed as the panda had a nice twinkle in his eye.
“You could probably say that most foreigners don’t know much about actual Chinese cuisine. But having a cute blond haired girl sing ‘I love Chinese food,’ is something I think many people will find adorable.”
Other netizens on China’s Sina Weibo social network echoed these views. While many pointed out that Gold’s Japanese dress and love for egg rolls were “not really Chinese”, an equal number agreed that the singer was “very pretty” and “the panda absolutely stole the show”.
Others called the video “some sort of foreign divine comedy”, and one Weibo poster even pointed out that “Alison Gold’s technique for holding her chopsticks is not bad.”
David and Andrew Fung, an Asian American Youtube comedy duo known collectively as the Fung Bros, also viewed “I Love Chinese Food” in a more positive light. In a response video, the pair said that the song was only a joke intended to go viral, and not the racist work that some American viewers had made it out to be.
“If you want to look at the positive end of this, the video is getting people who never think about Chinese food to think about Chinese food,” Andrew Fung said.
“People [in America] used to make songs about how [Chinese people] eat dogs and cats and rats,” David Fung added. “And now people are just saying ‘I love Chinese food’.”