Hong Kong-based food critic says Japanese omakase ‘treats diners like idiots’

A Singapore-born food critic in Hong Kong has been criticized for stating that Japanese omakase chefs treat “diners like idiots.”

In a post uploaded to Weibo on Aug. 22, food writer and TV personality Lam Chua, 82, expressed his disappointment in the Japanese omakase dining experience. He added that he has “an issue” with the chef choosing the dishes throughout the entire course.

“Lately I have an issue when it comes to eating sashimi, omakase meals where the chef decides on everything and treats diners like idiots,” Lam wrote. “If I want to eat something I can order it, there’s no need to bother the chef.”

Lam shared that rather than providing patrons with the essence of Japanese cuisine, an omakase dining experience allows for the restaurants to calculate their costs more easily.

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On Tuesday, however, a Chinese newspaper columnist, Xian Zhou, criticized Lam in an article where he described him as being “worse than an ordinary food blogger.” While Xian recognized Lam’s expertise, he stated that Lam has never been to a majority of the top restaurants in Japan.

Xian explained that omakase restaurants are able to provide the best ingredients by managing their costs well.

In response, Lam uploaded another post on Weibo on Tuesday where he shared his opinion on food costs in Hong Kong.

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“It costs HK$1000 (approximately $127) per person to host a banquet in Hong Kong, and people tell me it’s cheap,” Lam wrote. “With my life savings, I can eat at any restaurant in the world.”

When it comes to his philosophy, Lam stated that money spent on food must have both value and a reasonable price.

"Dumpling wonton noodle soup, hamburgers, pizza, are the prices reasonable? Not at all if they turn out to be rubbish," Lam wrote.

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Featured Image via ChuaLam Colorful World

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