Ali Wong’s obsession with food is genuine in the Netflix rom-com “Always Be My Maybe.” Her Instagram comprises photographs of her family, tasks, masses, and many meals. In an interview with IndieWire, where she discusses fashion designer Thai Nguyen dressing her for the pink carpet, the communique switches to Vietnamese food by some means. “When Thai first came over to my residence to drop off the get dressed, he added this banh from his boyfriend’s mother’s save,” stated Wong, who’s Vietnamese on her mom’s aspect. “It was near Chua that turned into first-rate sour, outstanding spicy. Pig Ears. Cha Lua. It was superb. The whole revel in working with him turned so clean and remarkable.
The way to Wong’s coronary heart is through her palate, pondered in the love story ” Always Be My Maybe,” which she co-wrote and stars in with Randall Park. She plays celebrity chef Sasha Tran in the movie, specializing in fancy, accelerated Asian cuisine in Los Angeles. Sparks fly When she reconnects with her childhood pal Marcus (Park) in San Francisco. However, they must navigate every other’s lifestyle earlier than becoming a pair. This includes Sasha’s technique of cooking and the way it reflects her feelings about identity and love.
In a scene early of their reunion, Marcus overhears Sasha at the smartphone discussing her new restaurant in San Francisco and claims she’s using her “smartphone voice.” The message is clear; she uses code-switching, intonation, and language. This topic returns later in the film. During an argument with Sasha, Marcus takes issue with the term “superstar chef” and then provides, “You realize what period I also hate? ‘Elevated Asian delicacies.’ Asian food isn’t imagined to be expanded. It’s supposed to be authentic. That’s what you used to do with my mother.
“I don’t understand why you’re doing this form of stuff now,” he keeps. “It’s now not true. Asian meals shouldn’t be served in a shot glass. It has to be served in a big-ass bowl. You’re just catering to wealthy white humans.”
In short, he’s accusing her of culinary code-switching. She’s still cooking Asian meals, even her local fashion of delicacies, but her technique conforms to high society standards for elaborate, fussy, and illogical presentation in his eyes. He needs his food easy, tasty, and filling. All the relaxation is just code-switching noise.
In the give up, Sasha and Marcus end up a pair because the rom-com gods dictate. But because the meal’s adventure has to observe fit additionally, Sasha’s technique to cuisine also returns to what made her glad in childhood. In the movie’s penultimate scene, she shows the restaurant concept for her New York eatery: homey Korean dishes from Marcus’ late mother’s recipes. The featured word is a big, bubbling vat of fiery purple kimchi jigae served in a huge bowl.
Wong stated, “[Director Nahnatchka Khan] has said that meals are reminiscences. And for her character, it’s a way that Sasha connects to Marcus, his mom, and their circle of relatives because they fed her. It simply made feel tale-clever for her to turn out to be cooking that sort of meal because that’s what she usually grew up with.”
This isn’t a new storytelling idea. The home may be in which the heart is. However, it’s additionally wherein the belly has been raised. That’s why early life sense recollections frequently decide what one considers consolation food. The snooty meals critic in “Ratatouille” is so moved to utilize Remy’s spin on the traditional French vegetable dish.
What is new is how “Always Be My Maybe” affords so many traditional Asian foods as ordinary American fare without clarification. More importantly, it’s supplied as appropriate and delicious — now not Othered as smelly, gross, weird, or inferior. Many Asian Americans have skilled meals-shaming one way or another, and that’s regularly amplified in the media, together with how “Gilmore Girls” mocks Indian food’s stinky scent. Even “Fresh Off the Boat” addresses this trouble in its pilot episode when younger Eddie (Hudson Yang) is avoided for bringing noodles to school.