Popular food blogger Half Baked Harvest is facing controversy for her version of a pho recipe uploaded to her site. The recipe in question has been accused of being cultural appropriation and white washing. Read on to find out what happened.
Half Baked Harvest first uploaded her ‘Vietnamese inspired noodle soup’ recipe under the name ‘Weeknight ginger pho ga (Vietnamese chicken soup)’ but soon received an outpour of negative responses to it.
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is a meal of tradition for many Vietnamese people, often taking hours to make.
Tieghan Gerard is the woman behind Half Baked Harvest and has a huge following of over 2.7 million on Instagram.
What is the Half Baked Harvest pho controversy?
Essentially, Tieghan Gerard received backlash for her ‘pho’ recipe, after many accused it of being a form of cultural appropriate, as the recipe was different from actual pho.
“A classic Vietnamese Pho is made with thin slices of beef, noodles, and a very steaming hot broth. The broth is poured over the raw slices of beef. The heat from the broth cooks the meat. If you’ve ever had Pho out at your favourite restaurant, you know how delicious it is. And just how warming and comforting it can be.
I love the idea of Pho at Home, but didn’t want to work with raw beef. I wanted something a bit lighter. So I did a chicken pho with crispy roasted chicken, noodles, and broth. It’s just as delicious, but slightly lighter, and simpler to make at home,” she wrote.
As she wrote herself, pho is traditionally made from specific ingredients, which when changed drastically, make it no longer pho. Half Baked Harvest’s recipe included soy sauce and caramelized chicken..
“I actually LOVE plenty of your recipes and I respect what you’re doing, however this isn’t pho. And calling it pho (even rooster pho) is not only appropriation, it is truthfully hurtful,” wrote one follower. “This recipe doesn’t replicate the precise Vietnamese components that go into pho, on a regular basis and work that goes into pho or the precise flavours OR even the presentation of pho.”
Tieghan Gerard’s responses to the recipe backlash
The name of the recipe has since been changed to ‘easy sesame chicken and noodles in spicy broth’. The blogger responded to many of the comments pointing out the mistake, replying with the same message each time:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I understand where you are coming from and have decided to change the recipe tittle [sic]. It was never my intention to offend or hurt anyone or the culture. I will make sure do be much more conscious when deciding on recipe tittles [sic] in the future and be sure to do more research. Thank you for kindly bringing this to my attention, I really appreciate you kindly letting voicing your concern. xTieghan”
According to Buzzfeed News, when follower Stephanie Vu messaged Half Baked Harvest to point out the key differences between her recipe and pho, the blogger wrote:
“Hey there! Nope totally understand, I described actual pho and the entire recipe on the blog and state that this is just my creation of what you can make at home. Hope this makes sense J”