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The Gutter Gourmet and the Gentrification of Poverty

pagpag

The Gutter Gourmet! I recently wrote a blog about PagPag. If you have not heard of PagPag it is a Filipino word that literally means to “dust of the dirt”, but in culinary terms means people that go around dumpsters, fetch food, essentially dust of the shit, and then sell it to other poor people in the slums. As you’d probably guess this is not done for fun, or choice, but is one of necessity. A necessity that even though pagpag can cause stuff as horrible as cholera it beats malnutrition.

I style myself as the Street Food Guy, and I know I have probably had dodgy oil during my time living in Asia, I’ve had the odd bad stomach, but whilst I do like to get down and dirty with the locals I feel lucky that I am not on an economic scale that would necessitate me needing to eat left-overs that could kill me.

But whilst I might have my faults, I feel that few would call me a hipster twat (although there’s a lot you could call me).

Discovering the gutter gourmet

Ironically on a flight from Taipei to Manila (home of pagpag) I found myself reading an article on the Guardian online called “I’m the gutter gourmet: how I have spent a month eating other people’s leftovers”. The article is written by someone called Andrew Meyers. I can’t work out from the article if he is a journalist, with the only things I can work out for sure is that he has a job, a father that seemed less of a twat than him, and that he is obviously king of the hipster twat people.

Gutter Gourmet

He spends the article talking about how he enjoys margarita pizza with cigarette ash on it, chicken chips from thrown in bushes from Arsenal fans (why did this massive cunt have to be a gooner), and about pretentious trips to high end parts of London to eat quinoa from dumpsters. 

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So, assuming you haven’t read his garbage, and assuming you are reading my verbal diarrhea, I’ll let you know the main summary of his article. There’s too much “street food waste” is supposed to be the message. OK that is a fair point, but not the drivel that follows.

The gentrification of poverty

He summarises with “its fun being the gutter gourmet. Perhaps word will get around the social media grapevine, and it will, with groups of bearded hipsters combing the sidewalks of Hoxton and Instagramming their putrid-palate pleasers”.

It’s hard to see if he is trying to be funny, or ironic with that ending, the ending of a shit article, that essentially is about there being nothing these urban elites won’t try to gentrify. I mean seriously?

The reality of a “gutter gourmet”

I feel strongly about this because of the amunt of time I have spent in the Philippines. Here what Andrew Meyers calls “Gutter Gourmet” is a fact of life. I have already linked to my blog about pagpag food, but to summarize. People collect food from dumpsters “brush of the dirt” fry it and cook it. This is born through the necessity of poverty. Do people want to do this? No. Does it make people sick? Yes it does, which is what makes it all so very offensive.

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In conclusion

Good job Andrew Meyers, you’ve managed the gentrification of eating from dumpsters, and having managed a side bit of cultural appropriation (that’s still a hipster buzz word right) from the people of Smoky Mountain in the Philippines.

Whilst I loathe to link to him you can read this steaming, obnoxious, pretentious pile of donkey wank here.

Written by Gareth

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.

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