Remember the furore this time last year about whether it was appropriate for Dutch Pancakes and Chips on a Stick to attract hordes of customers during the Multicultural Festival?
Our article Calls for ban on Dutch pancakes, chips on sticks at Multicultural Festival was one of the RiotACT’s most-read in 2016.
We’ve been monitoring the activities of the purveyors of these contentious tasty street food snacks in the months since, and have noticed two strategic marketing tactics the businesses have employed to deflect the critics.
One criticism of the appearance of Chips on a Stick at the Multicultural Festival was that they were not multicultural enough. Certainly, their signage at the festival last year made no reference to cultural heritage. They were marketed simply, as you’d expect, as chips on sticks.
But when the stall popped up at the Night Noodle Market during Enlighten a few weeks later (right next door to the Dutch Pancakes), new signage had been added describing these curly strips of fried taters as Korean fare.
I’d be willing to bet the same signage will be used at the Multicultural Festival this weekend.
I will be very surprised, though, if it transpires that there are any Koreans working on the stall. While many (possibly even most or all, it’d be interesting to do a poll) of the other stalls at the festival are run by community groups, embassies, families and individuals from the nation whose cuisine is represented, the Chips on a Stick stall does not appear to be, or at least has not appeared to be in the past. Does this fact make any difference to the argument that the origins of chips on a stick are Korean and therefore it is appropriate for them to be sold at the festival? I’ll leave that for others to ponder.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Pancake stall at the Night Noodle Market had ditched the Dutch tag altogether, instead adding some South-East Asian touches by selling coconut juice in real coconuts alongside the pancakes, and offering a sweet red bean option as an alternative to lemon, butter, chocolate, caramel and maple syrup. Thus it found itself fitting in better with the Asian offerings elsewhere at the Noodle Market, from dumplings to satays as well as many varieties of noodle.
I suspect the pancakes will be back to their usual Dutch selves at this weekend’s festivities.
Will you be queuing for a plateful of pancakes, or some chips on a stick, or seeking out the sorts of food it’s harder to find year round? Czech, Bolivian, Kenyan or Mongolian, say? Do you have a favourite stall at the Multicultural Festival?