This comes from our friends Xiaojing and Vaughn—photos from the restaurant China Poblano in Las Vegas, which combines flavors from China and Mexico—under the eye of a Spanish chef and owner. From the website:
What brings Mexico and China together? You could start with the Spanish galleons that first sailed the Pacific in 1565 in the reign of King Philip II. Along with the lucrative trade in silk and silver, they brought Asian spices and fruit to Mexico, and New World peppers to the Middle Kingdom of China. They also brought the legend of an Asian girl kidnapped by pirates and shipped to Mexico, known as La China Poblana.
Under the direction of renowned chef José Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup, China Poblano continue a voyage, first dreamed by Christopher Columbus, that has connected East and West for the last five centuries.
Whitewashing Spanish imperialism and genocide in the name of cosmopolitan food—how lovely. The restaurant’s interior is more whitewashing—or maybe España-washing—juxtaposing Mexican and Chinese cultural artifacts and stereotypical symbols to create a politically ambiguous yet exotically global feel for consumers to partake in.
Maybe part of the appeal of this restaurant is in the moral ambiguity of it all—pastiche, after all, allows a viewer plenty of room to make their own meanings from vaguely familiar, juxtaposed symbols. Free from context, anything can be sold as a curiosity to satisfy one’s cravings.