A recent Short Order asked whether Asian-style street food courts could inspire a similar concept in Richmond, based on a suggestion in Anthony Bourdain's recent book, “Medium Raw.” We heard from several readers who proposed the former GRTC space in the Fan District for such a business model. And then there was this:
“Bourdain's proposal shows a profound lack of understanding of the reality of American life and society. Or it is a shabby way to introduce a hidden agenda. We already have food courts in all of our malls. The American market is driven by American tastes. All of these little vendors would Americanize their food and it would all end up being fried. Eventually, these stalls will end up selling hamburgers, pizza, hotdogs and faux Chinese-Japanese stuff, just like food courts have now. Prices, expenses, and cost of living in the United States are such that these hawkers would not be able to sell their food for less than what is sold in food courts today.
“And this brings me to the heart of the matter: immigration. What Tony and most affluent dilettantes want is to enjoy the poverty of those who serve them. Food is so cheap in vendors' stalls on the streets of Asian cities because their standard of living is miserably low. Bourdain wants to bring that kind of poverty here. I don't want to live with the kinds of things these swarms of foreigners will bring with them — their food, habits, prejudices, languages, accents, politics and disease organisms. West Nile virus, snake head fish, and radical Islam are just a few of the ways they have enriched our society in the last two decades.
“I am revolted by the sight of swarms of foreigners working in restaurants, crawling all over construction sites and everywhere else. The sham battle between so-called liberals and so-called conservatives has concealed the fact that those with wealth and power are turning our country into a Third World dump. They are destroying our economy, our standard of living, our environment, our democracy and our society.
“I don't mind having to fly to faraway places to sample exotic sights and cuisines. That's what makes them foreign and exotic. If they have the money, foreigners can fly to the United States and sample Colonel Sanders, Subway, Wendy's, Sbarro, and the rest of the stuff we eat.”
— A Native Virginian