A week for the foodies

This week our eyes are bigger than our bellies over here at the Globe, as we’re got not one, not two, but three food-based stories. First, our reporter in Bangkok Wanpen Pajai dared to utter the unthinkable and extoll the virtues of the much-maligned food seasoning MSG. Next, our intern writer in Kuala Lumpur Huei Ting Cheong ran us through the unfolding blend of old and new one of the Malaysian capital’s culinary heritage areas, Chinatown. And finally, senior reporter Andrew Haffner delved into the growing world of bug-based products – asking, are they truly the future of food? Bon appetit!

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January 16, 2021
A week for the foodies

‘On a huge scale in Cambodia’: Director talks slave labour in Thai fisheries

Despite industry efforts to clean up its act, workers on Thai trawlers are still being caught in brutal exploitation as they bring in seafood for the world. Director Rodd Rathjen brought these often untold stories to the big screen in his 2019 feature film Buoyancy, which recently sparked conversations yet again when it was introduced to streaming platforms. Our new colleague Stew Post spoke with Rathjen about the film, its motivation and the making. 

The hidden cost: Are Cambodia’s carbon credits really clean and green?

Carbon credit schemes are typically regarded as a best practice for mitigating climate change. But what if that narrative is off — what if carbon credits are actually making things worse? Scholar Sarah Milne from Australian National University explored this question previously in an excellent TEDx Talk and adapted this piece for us after. Well worth your time.

Heralded as the future of food, but are bugs all buzz and no bite?

Edible insects could save the world. Or not, if consumers decide they just don’t want to eat them. This is one of my articles, so hit the link to join me for a look at the youthful landscape of Southeast Asia’s bug startups. Let’s just say there are a lot of crickets involved.

Infiltrating a Vietnam tiger trafficking network: Confronting an online kingpin

This is honestly one of the more interesting pieces I’ve seen in awhile, both in terms of the subject — criminal smuggling of tiger flesh and other parts — and the journalistic process to get the story. It took courage for Vietnamese reporters Lam Anh and Hoang Chien to chase this gritty inside look at a thriving black market. Really not an article to miss.

In defence of MSG: The seasoning that revolutionised Thai cuisine

This one is also about food, but just slightly different than the article right above. Globe reporter Wanpen Pajai takes us on a deep dive into MSG, the divisive seasoning that’s played a starring role in modern Thai cuisine. Is it time to flip the script on MSG? After reading this, you might have a deeper appreciation for the stuff.

New and old meet as social media breathes life into Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

The KL Chinatown put down roots long before Covid-19 and it’ll be around after to tell the tale. But pandemic or not, writes Globe reporter Huei Ting Cheong, this urban core of the city’s Chinese community is going through a revitalisation. Can the modern update find harmony with the neighbourhood’s history? Read to find out.

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