American food influencer criticized for misrepresenting banh mi

By Hoang Nguyen   March 15, 2023 | 05:47 am PT
American food influencer criticized for misrepresenting banh mi
Banh mi, one of the signature dishes of Vietnam. Photo by Lan Huong
Tieghan Gerard, a popular food blogger known as Half Baked Harvest, has faced backlash for misunderstanding and misrepresenting Vietnamese cuisine in a recipe she posted on Instagram.

Gerard, who currently has 5.2 million Instagram followers, uploaded the video "25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls" on the platform Tuesday.

In the clip she groups various Asian ingredients together like coconut rice, ginger-sesame ground chicken, pickled vegetables and cucumber salad, calling it "banh mi". She mispronounced the name of the signature Vietnamese dish when she said "bon my" throughout the video, NBC News reported.

Some viewers quickly pointed out her incorrect pronunciation and the inaccuracy of the recipe. Users were confused when Gerard called it banh mi even though she used non-Vietnamese ingredients like Thai basil and sambal chili paste.

"The ginger, sesame and honey flavors are definitely leaning more heavily into Japanese and Thai cuisine than Vietnamese, especially the inclusion of Thai basil," one user commented on the video, which has 1.8 million views.

A screenshot of Half Baked Harvests banh mi bowl recipe post on Instagram

A screenshot of Half Baked Harvest's banh mi bowl recipe post on Instagram

When Gerard stayed silent and didn’t respond to criticism, she received even more backlash in the comment section.

"I love you, your content and recipes. However, please acknowledge the mistake you’ve made here and not just sweep it under the rug. You have a platform, make it right. People make mistakes and that is OK. Ignoring it after knowing what is right is NOT," one user commented.

"As a Vietnamese, I can definitively say this is not a ‘banh mi inspired dish’ in any sense of the word. Try again," another commenter wrote.

This is not the first time that Gerard has been criticized for making a similar mistake. In February 2021, she was called out for posting a recipe on Instagram titled "Weeknight Ginger Pho Ga".

Many said that it was not pho ga but rather a quick noodle dish with chicken and sesame chili sauce. After that, Gerard changed name of the recipe to "Easy sesame chicken and noodles in spicy broth".

In Vietnamese cuisine, banh mi, which literally means bread, is a short baguette with thin, crisp crust and soft, airy texture. It’s often filled with pate, sliced meat, pickled vegetables, chili sauce and cilantro.

go to top