Using Authenticity, Exoticism, and Creativity to Express Deli ...

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  • Title: Using Authenticity, Exoticism, and Creativity to Express Deliciousness and Valorize Food: Signifying Good Taste in Food on Yelp
  • Author(s): Weranuj Ariyasriwatana
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Authenticity, Exoticism, Creativity, Geographic Specificity, Simplicity, Personal Connections, Historicism, Local, Hawaii, Yelp, Social Media
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: December 02, 2022
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v13i02/15-37
  • Citation: Ariyasriwatana, Weranuj. 2022. "Using Authenticity, Exoticism, and Creativity to Express Deliciousness and Valorize Food: Signifying Good Taste in Food on Yelp." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 13 (2): 15-37. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v13i02/15-37.
  • Extent: 23 pages

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Abstract

This study aimed to investigate (a) qualities Yelp reviewers (Yelpers) use to signify good taste in food, and (b) contemporary conversations about Hawaiian cuisine and Hawaii’s local foods. A corpus of 1,200 online reviews of the forty-eight most popular restaurants in Hawaii was collected from the social media site Yelp to see how foods were discussed in the context of dining out in a uniquely multicultural location. The method used for analysis of the data was qualitative content analysis. The coding scheme was created by deductive category application and inductive category development. Findings revealed five main categories of food authenticity: authentic, synonym or word associated with authentic, local, four qualities (simplicity, geographic specificity, personal connection, and historicism), and other. There are two main categories of food exoticism: exotic and food containing unusualness, foreignness, or excitement. The findings build upon and expand existing literature. Categories of food authenticity and food exoticism were developed within the modern scene of dining out (before the COVID-19 pandemic). I proposed creativity as the third frame for valorizing food. Besides valorizing food, these three qualities—authenticity, exoticism, and creativity—can be used to express deliciousness. Linking authenticity with deliciousness helps explain why being “local,” a dimension of authenticity, is meaningful to consumers. This might lead to food sustainability and healthy eating. Moreover, a multicultural perspective was recommended as an alternative to avoid troubles associated with imperialism. This study contributes to many fields, for example, sociology, food studies, and food communication.