Culture The Katchup

Why Boba Guys Refuses To Ban MAGA Hats From Its Restaurants

Illustration by Sam Brosnan/Foodbeast
Conversations and quotes in this article have been transcribed from the Foodbeast Katchup podcast episode titled “#94: Boba Guys Is For The Culture Pt. 2,” out now on Spotify, Anchor.FM and the Apple Podcasts App.

The current mainstream political atmosphere in the U.S. has an all-or-nothing, “choose your side” feel, and there’s very little room for moderates who see see the arguments from both ends of the political spectrum, as it can be misconstrued as choosing the wrong side, regardless of explanation.

That is the dilemma that Boba Guys co-founder Andrew Chau found himself in when he was asked about fellow Bay Area chef, Kenji Lopez-Alt, who tweeted (and later retracted) that he would ban customers wearing the infamous, red  “Make America Great Again” hats made in support of President Donald Trump.

The hat itself is polarizing, as to many, it is a symbol of hate that they feel has accrued under the Trump administration. To others, it is seen as a sign of change they wished to see under the administration.

Chau, who is outspoken about his beliefs, made it clear that he is not a fan of the hat and the baggage it comes with. With that said, it didn’t sit right with him to take the type of stance that would lead to banning customers from his Boba Guys locations.

Chau detailed the decision on the Foodbeast Katchup Podcast, and explained why he did what he did (The timestamped segment of the podcast begins at: 9:27).

“I’m from California. I’m from San Francisco. Everyone should know where we stand… you know what side of the world we’re on,” Chau said. “My stance is… I don’t ban them, but I’m like, if you cause trouble, you’re on the radar. But I’m not into banning.”

When Chef Lopez-Alt issued his statement on the hat, Chau was immediately asked by his peers, and even his own staff, if he would follow suit. He did his best to explain what he wanted to achieve with his stance on the matter, and while it did not sit well with some, it was a decision he stood by.

“It comes back to dialogue. We forgot how to talk about difficult things,” Chau said. “I said we won’t ban MAGA hats because I think it stops dialogue. The goal is bridging cultures, and you can’t achieve the goal of bridging cultures if I ban MAGA hats.”

He then made sure his guests knew that he was not going to tolerate anyone using the hat to purposely incite problems.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Boba Guys (@bobaguys) on

In the podcast episode, Chau went pretty deep into culture, food’s role in it, and ways he feels culture can be improved through empathy.

While his MAGA hat decision wasn’t a popular one, it is a form of diplomacy that isn’t often deployed in the U.S. these days.

Alcohol Beer Culture Opinion

Breweries Are Not A Playpen, Stop Bringing Your Kids

Though I haven’t been drinking for long, I’ve come to know a thing or two about bars and breweries. One thing everyone accepts is that you must be 21 or older to enter. Unless you’re a child, that is.

Look, I get that this might come off as arrogant or exclusionary, but with breweries on the rise in the last few years, it’s becoming a little ridiculous when every time I go to one I’m invariably met with a toddler scurrying about my feet or a toy patiently waiting for someone to step on it.

These instances aren’t rare. “I walked into a brewery with a group of 10 to 12 children running around outside, with waiters dodging them. It was like daddy day care out there. It looked like lazy parenting,” said Foodbeast Managing Editor, Reach Guinto.

Kids get me and I get them, I know they just want to eat and play. Who the hell doesn’t want that everyday? But look kid, I just worked eight hours and half of that pay is going to bills and the other half is going right down my throat with these few flights of beers.

I walk into a brewery with the mindset of shooting the shit with some friends and casually getting day drunk and hoping nobody notices.

Now I’m not saying to ban babies from breweries — the alliteration is nice, sure — but that’s a terrible sentiment. However, there should be some rule or guideline that a parent should consider when visiting a local brewery.

I get that a babysitter will cost a dumb amount for a few hours and as a parent you need some time to chill out with friends and have a beer and go out sometimes. That’s perfectly fine. But after a certain hour there’s a time when a brewery becomes bar-like and a baby’s presence seems, for lack of a better term, weird.

I’m not the only one that shares this sentiment.

Around 7pm is right when a brewery takes on the vibe of a bar, that’s the beauty of a brewery. It’s the feeling of having drinks and being social but not having to pay $30 for two cocktails and hear, for the millionth time, how terrible our political climate is.

Although a fair point to bring up by parents is that it’s a great way to introduce children to casual drinking at an early age, I hardly doubt that little Tommy is going to grow up a better person because you brought him to a brewery. Kids don’t care where they are, they aren’t socially aware of what is going on. You could be drinking turpentine for all they care.

The general climate around children at a brewery isn’t hostile in the least bit. Most people will try to ignore the child or even play with them, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to these crowds. But generally speaking, people find drinking and smoking a little less enjoyable while a child is present, and for good reason.

A normal patron won’t say anything negative about the children there, that’s why it’s up to the establishments to figure out the best way to go about this minor dilemma.

This problem could be solved relatively easily. There’s no doubt that there are some breweries that have a vibe children can play and relax at, then there are some that aren’t so flexible.

Take Golden Road Brewing in Anaheim, CA for example, a perfect place to bring a kid right after a game at Angel’s Stadium. They’ve got cornhole, a great outdoor play area for kids, and an awesome menu that caters to children.

But Ballast Point at night? With the condensed crowds overlooking the ocean, a very specific menu, and no play area, that kid might end up in the ocean.

If these two breweries advertised some sort of “children’s hours,” or something that would more outwardly show how equipped they are to handle the toddler crowd, then us thirsty patrons can plan ahead. Maybe take it easy in the afternoon at Golden Road, play some cornhole, then head to Ballast Point and forget everything we came with.

Drinking is a simple thing really, but it’s also sacred. Any disturbance in the force is felt with great magnitude.

It’s 7pm, hide yo kids and lemme drink.

Health News

San Francisco Just Banned Chocolate Milk From All Schools

Chocolate milk has been a staple in school lunches for the longest. You might not remember too many of your elementary school lunch items, but chances are you’ll remember the chocolate milk cartons, or in some cases, milk pouches.

In an attempt to curb student calorie intake, San Francisco, California just outright banned chocolate milk from its schools, according to the SF Chronicle.

It’s not #NationalChocolateMilkDay if you haven’t had your daily glass of Nesquik chocolate milk! 🐰

A post shared by Nestle Nesquik USA (@nesquikusa) on

When these young San Franciscans return to school from summer vacation, they will have one less drinking option to choose from, as the flavored milk ban will start in the Fall of 2017, for all elementary and middle schoolers.

High school students will have an extra semester to enjoy their chocolaty drink, as the ban will not take effect for them until the upcoming Spring semester.

Getting rid of the milk cuts the students’ calorie intake by at least 35 calories, and sugar intake by 10 grams.

They tested the ban on five schools last semester, and while the students weren’t big fans of the idea, they eventually just forcefully switched over to plain milk.

Over the years, San Francisco has really cracked down on unhealthy food, doing away with sugary snacks such as cookies, vending machine candy, and of course, sugary sodas.

While a piece of our childhood will be banned, looking down at my 28-year-old gut, I get it.

Drinks Fast Food

Starbucks Promises To Hire 10,000 Refugees After Recent Travel Ban


In the past few days, President Donald Trump’s executive order keeping refugees and citizens of majority-Muslim nations from coming into the United States has ben met with much protest. Many were detained at airports and checkpoints, unable to enter since Friday afternoon. Starbucks has since responded to Trump’s ban with some action of their own.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, announced in a public statement that the company will hire 10,000 individuals in the 75 countries that Starbucks is located in. The act is a concerted effort to welcome and find job opportunities for those escaping war, violence, persecution, and discrimination.

We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question. These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.

Starbucks is currently developing plans to make those hires happen, which is slated to be completed over the next five years. The coffee company will first focus on individuals who served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel.

If there is any lesson to be learned over the last year, it’s that your voice and your vote matter more than ever. We are all obligated to ensure our elected officials hear from us individually and collectively.

Glad to see behemoth companies like Starbucks taking a stance in times like these.

Hit-Or-Miss News

France Bans Plastic Forks And Plates


It seems like France has become the first country on Earth to place a ban on plastic cutlery, plates, and cups. A new law passed under the country’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act outlawing the plastic eating utensils.

According to the Washington Post, the law aims to promote a “circular economy” of waste disposal, with the same law also banning the use of plastic bags in the country’s grocery stores in early July.

France’s president says that the ban is a part of a larger campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diversify the country’s energy model.

The law will go into effect in 2020, with the only exception being for disposable silverware that are biodegradable.


FDA Is Banning Certain Pizza Boxes We Use Cause They Might Kill Us


In a shocking development for pizza lovers, the Food and Drug Administration is saying that there are chemicals in your pizza boxes that may cause serious health problems.

Three substances are being banned by the FDA, specifically for the waxy pizza boxes designed to prevent grease and water from soaking in. The substances all contain perfluoroalkyl ethyl which are classed as aspoly and perfluoroalkyl substances.

These chemicals are said to increase health problems and increase the risk of cancer as they can stay in the body for years. Common household items like wax pastry bags and microwave popcorn bags may also contain the substances.

Numerous health groups filed a petition against the chemicals leading to the ban which went into effect Monday.


Saudi Arabi Seizes 48,000 Cans Of Beer Disguised As BEBSI COLA


There’s a pretty firm law in Saudi Arabia that completely bans alcohol. Even though the law forbids it, there are a fair amount of folks who still find a way to get their hands on some booze. One guy in particular had a pretty creative plan to sneak some beers across the border.

According to the Washington Post, the smuggler was caught with 48,000 cans of Heineken disguised as Pepsi. The cans were carried in a truck which was stopped for a standard starch and inspection. It quickly became obvious that there were simply stickers over the beers.

This incident was one of the many attempts at smuggling beer into the country, according to customs officers. The penalty for smuggling alcohol can be as severe as a prison sentence.



Kosher And Halal Animal Slaughter Now Banned In Denmark


On Monday, Demark has issued a ban on the religious slaughter of animals. The move garnered tremendous backlash from both Jewish and Muslim communities, Time reports.

Because of the ban, slaughterhouses are now required to stun animals before they’re killed. Before, religious communities were given a pass when it came to this. However, that’s not happening any longer.

Dan Jørgensen, the Danish minister for agriculture and food, told Demark’s TV2 that “Animal rights come before religion.”

The Independent reports that activists are upset over the change calling it a “clear interference in religious freedom.”

Under both kashrut and halal laws, Jews and Muslims will not consume meat unless the animal is killed with a single slice to the neck, with the intent being to minimize the pain.