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This Chinese Restaurant Has a History of Cringe-worthy Ads, but There’s More to the Story

This Chinese Restaurant Has a History of Cringe-worthy Ads, but There’s More to the Story

Too busy to get your daily dose of RADII? We got you every Tuesday with a summary of all the freshest takes on China’s youth culture in the last week.

  • The Great Buffet of China has a history of cringe-worthy commercials, but there is more to the story than delicious food and poor Chinese-language skills.
  • The dating show Love Actually has captivated Chinese audiences — going viral online and generating discussions about dating in China.
  • Space Force pokes fun at the Trump Administration’s launch of a space service branch of the USA Armed Forces, with season two embracing ‘Chinese characteristics.’
  • Working from the local pub? Sounds good to us!
  • McDonald's China launches Xinjiang-inspired meal... and cilantro sundae,

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

The Untold Story of One of History’s Worst Chinese Food Commercials

If one expression sums up a tasty meal at a Chinese restaurant, it is the Mandarin phrase ‘hao chi.’ In Chinese, the character hao (好) means good and chi (吃) means to eat, so at its most basic, hao chi expresses satisfaction with one’s food.

The same characters (albeit with a different tone) can also describe a person who enjoys eating, perhaps a bit too much, and if ever there is an appropriate time to do so, it’s undoubtedly at a buffet.

The Great Buffet of China in Saskatoon, the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, took this phrase to heart when it produced a true advertising gem back in 1996.

It is also a 30-second masterclass in how not to say, “wow, what delicious food.”

The video, which has more than 13,000 views on YouTube, begins with an older gentleman defining ‘How Chee,’ as it’s written on the screen. We then see a trio of white folks take a shot at the phrase, with one guy using a particularly crude accent in the process.

Many Saskatonians (Saskatooners? Saskatoonites?) who were around in the ’90s are familiar with the commercial, and some have taken to the comment sections of Reddit and YouTube to reminisce on the decades-old clip.

“I always remember way back then thinking it was super racist for that white dude to say ‘how chee’ with a Chinese accent… and now it still seems super racist,” reads a Reddit post by Stoon5555.

Another now-deleted account chimed in, “I haven’t seen that in decades, but when I pressed play, I knew all the dialogue. So cringey but a local classic for sure.”

When I began investigating the story — and terrible Chinese pronunciation — behind the Great Buffet of China commercial included above, I assumed it was a one-off ad from a bygone era.

It turns out there is actually a second advertisement up on YouTube. It shows a family doing tai chi in a local park, and it’s just as memorable as the original.

But there is more to the story than delicious food and poor Chinese-language skills, read here for the full story.

It has been a long winter. With the long-awaited Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in the rearview mirror, the mania for ice, snow, and slopes is slowing down, and it’s time to look forward to sun, summer, and a quick trip to island paradise — Sanya, perhaps.

We’ve got a few summery tunes to get you in the mood for the approaching spring, such as all-star side project Mole Eyes, Bohan Phoenix’s new single, and Voision Xi’s lovely debut album under her own name.

As always, don’t forget to check out the latest episode of SoundCheck, where Wes Chen, host of hip hop podcast thePark, and Bryan Grogan talk about their favorite tracks of the month.

Zhan Zhonghua was born in the Year of the Tiger in 1962 and, like everyone in his family, has been a farmer his entire life.

Bountiful rice farms, passed from generation to generation, aren’t the first images people associate with Shanghai. Nonetheless, that is the reality of the Zhan family going back for ages — to Zhan’s great, great grandfather and beyond.

“In a city that’s changing as much as Shanghai,” says Zhan, “maybe the most courageous thing you can do is remain the same.”

Click here for more videos from the ‘Spirit of the Tiger’ series.

  • Taiwan-based fashion brand NAMESAKE held an eclectic fashion event that drew an assortment of Shanghai’s movers and shakers, including Feezy from hip hop group Straight Fire Gang and French hip hop dancer Bouboo.
  • LVMH named two Chinese designers among the semifinalists for the 2022 LVHM Prize, a global contest for young fashion designers. If either of them can make it through the finals, it would mark the first time that a Chinese designer has been awarded the prize.
  • Chinese citizens have been speaking up about Xuzhou’s woman in chains — raising awareness and vocalizing their concerns via different methods.
  • Jackson Wang’s life and career have been an eclectic journey, from fencing prodigy to K-pop idol to wildly successful solo performer. Here, we introduce you to "Jackson Wang from China."

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