Pop Culture

Fans of 'Crazy Rich Asians' Are Sneaking (Crazy Good) Snacks Into the Theater

August 21, 2018

This weekend, moviegoers surged into theaters across the country and catapulted Crazy Rich Asians to the top of the box office. The film, based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel by the same name, is a boon for Asian and Asian American representation and a cultural touchstone the likes of which audiences haven’t seen since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club.

Much has been said and written about the importance of filmic representation, the particular joy and beauty of seeing someone on a screen who looks, talks, and eats similar to you. I returned to my desk Monday morning to a slurry of essays (like this one from Alyse Whitney at Glamour), and initial reactions to the film and to its subject matter—but especially to its subjects.

Amidst all this wonderful thinking, I kept happening upon one particular theme: the importance of food in the movie. Perhaps that’s because my job revolves around food—and looking for it in all places—but more likely because the conversation was there. I just had to listen.

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Take, for instance, this article on Eater. It tracks all the important food moments throughout the film: a visit to a night time hawker’s market, elaborate feasts, a particularly poignant dumpling-making scene. Food becomes much more than sustenance, something that propels the plot, moves the story forward, and reveals the characters' every desire—and flaw.

Not only is the cast all-Asian, but much of the food featured in the film is Asian, as well. Here, representation extends beyond casting and onto the plate, a theme that carries over into the audience.

In addition to crowding theaters across the country, moviegoers are stuffing their pockets, bags, and purses with snacks. It seems a vibrant celebration of identity, of culture, and of home.

I first noticed this trend when New York Magazine staff writer, E. Alex Jung, took to Twitter to praise his roommate's ingenuity:

Jung’s roommate wasn’t alone. The replies started to roll in:

For so many, Crazy Rich Asians is cause to celebrate—a chance to revel in characters and storylines on-screen that are often overlooked. There’s a beautiful symmetry in watching your culture represented while enjoying its flavors in real time.

Sure, it’s common knowledge that sneaking food into a theater is not allowed. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

Sometimes a snack level-up is in order.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • nancy staub
    nancy staub
  • Clairegeit12
  • HalfPint
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


nancy S. August 30, 2018
This is what makes me crazy about today's movie audiences! Attending a movie is not meant to be a restaurant experience...even tho the big movie houses with their Gold Star seating keep encouraging this. It's bad enough with noisy popcorn and chips and Malteasers...now it is sandwiches, hot food, endless food smells, the rustle of paper napkins....iimagine what is getting on the seats! Enough people. Just enjoy the movie......mind you we don't object to a glass of wine though.
Clairegeit12 August 21, 2018
Pocky has always been the best movie snack
Eric K. August 21, 2018
Especially the strawberry one.
HalfPint August 21, 2018
I wish Kevin Kwan would write or co-write a Crazy Asian cookbook because I was salivating for Singaporean/Malaysian foods while reading the trilogy. I even toyed with the idea of making roti pratha (roti canai) and pineapple tarts.
Eric K. August 21, 2018
Ah, that's a great idea.
HalfPint August 21, 2018
Ack! That should be "Crazy Rich Asians" cookbook. Sorry.