A Chinese food restaurant server took to TikTok to express her bewilderment at customers who request ketchup for their orders.
“I always have customers come up and ask if we have ketchup,” Kate opened. “I’m always so confused, because I’m like, what the f*ck are you putting ketchup on? Your fried rice? Your orange chicken?”
Kate continues, noting how she declines the ketchup requests: “It’s so funny because I’ll be like, ‘No, sorry, we don’t have ketchup.’ And they always look so confused, like so shocked. I’m always like, ‘What are you putting ketchup on, and why do you look so lost without it?’”
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Condiment conundrum: The video, which has been viewed over 162,000 times, resonated with many commenters, some of whom shared similar experiences with ketchup-loving customers.
“NO FR when I worked at Panda Express, I’d always get ppl asking for ketchup, LIKE WHY DO YOU NEED KETCHUP FOR THAT,” a confused user wrote.
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“Not the same but I work at a fried chicken chain where I live and EVERYONE gets so upset and sad when we don't have Mayo??” shared another.
Ketchup lovers explain: Several users made a case for their condiment choice, explaining the cultural significance of incorporating ketchup into certain dishes.
“Ketchup on East Asian fried rice is such a staple for elementary East Asian kids! It hits so differently!” shared one commenter.
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“Ketchup on fried rice is a thing actually and it’s so good,” another chimed in.
“In South Florida, it’s actually very common for folks to put ketchup on fried rice,” commented one. “I hate ketchup so much tho.”
“I make ketchup fried rice and it hits hard! Also if I don't have oyster sauce I add ketchup on my eggs 😁” shared a user.
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Not anti-ketchup: In a follow-up video, Kate explained that she’s not really "anti-ketchup," as she also loves putting the condiment on her pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches.
Ketchup in Asian food: Amid the online debate about how the tomato-based condiment pairs with Asian American food, it's important to note that ketchup does have a place in Asian cuisines. It is believed that the word "ketchup" itself originated from the Hokkien Chinese word “kê-tsiap,” a fermented fish sauce. Ketchup, as some users pointed out, also appears in some Chinese home cooking, in dishes like tomato egg stir-fry and even adding a touch of sweetness to Sichuan sweet and sour sauce.
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