Shocking video footage circulates today of an apparent kitchen worker scooping up some sort of spilled food from the ground behind a popular Chinese restaurant in Toronto, then putting that food in a bucket with his hands and bringing that bucket in through the back door of Hong Shing.
The scene is strikingly reminiscent of the time at The Office, where Kevin Malone dropped his famous chili all over the carpet at Dunder Mifflin and then tried to “save” it by scooping the clutter back into a pot using office supplies.
But unlike Kevin’s effervescent chili failure, no one laughs at the Hong Shing clip – least of all the people who own Hong Shing.
The restaurant and its followers are unhappy that the video has gone viral (with permission from 6ixbuzzTV) without any context behind it, potentially harming a local business that has already struggled under pandemic lockdowns and recently a devastating fire.
This is either brilliant advertising for Wah Too or a declaration of war against Hong Shing secret street sauce 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/0oYk16tiNj
– o³ (@oyeowoo) December 28, 2021
That clip first appeared on Instagram earlier this week when a user named @certifidee uploaded three videos showing a man cleaning up sauce and putting it in buckets in the alley behind Hong Shing, which can be found on Dundas Street West just east of the University.
“Please do not support Hong Shing anymore, it’s disgusting,” reads the caption of the original post, which was quickly re-broadcast to the wildly popular (and wildly controversial) local Instagram account 6ixbuzzTV.
In less than 24 hours, a 53-second, seamless version of the video has garnered more than 660,000 views.
“Hong Shing says it’s not so …,” 6ixbuzz wrote in its caption, explicitly calling the restaurant for those who may not recognize the video’s location.
Gathered comments and jokes about “special sauce” began pouring in almost instantly as people shared the video and promised never again to eat at the restaurant, which has long been a favorite among office workers, students and people seeking late-night downtown Toronto .
So Hong shing made us eat the general tao w snow in it ??? Violation
– Dgp (@ DonUno11) December 29, 2021
It did not take long before Hong Shing publicly commented on what it says was actually taking place (while taking pictures on 6ixbuzz in the process).
“We are disappointed that we still have to tackle problems and stories such as this recent post on 6ixBuzz, where they continue the discriminatory narrative that Chinese restaurants are unhygienic and did not reach out to us to fact-check or find out how the product was disposed of, “reads a statement the restaurant has sent to IG Stories on Tuesday.
“Hong Shing has a full operational guideline for handling and disposing of damaged goods. In the event that goods have been damaged during the reception process in public spaces, every step should be taken to restore the area to its original condition.”
“Damaged goods are moved into Hong Shing’s premises to be received, inspected and documented by management regardless of condition,” the statement continued.
“Losses are clearly marked for disposal and are removed by a food waste disposal service and not bundled with general waste. We work closely with Toronto Public Health and follow all DineSafe guidelines.”
While some online seem reluctant to believe Hong Shing’s explanation, many more say it sounds perfectly reasonable, and they even praise the restaurant for having a policy in place to clean up clutter that could otherwise harm local wildlife or passers-by.
Fans of the restaurant and haters of 6ixbuzz have expressed overwhelming support for the nearly 25-year-old business on Instagram, as evidenced by all the stories re-broadcast by Hong Shing over the past 20 hours.
“Colin has put a lot of effort into his restaurant and his brand to become a staple of the city. After a devastating kitchen fire over the holidays, his team managed to reopen for Christmas Eve,” an Instagram user wrote as he shared Hong Shing’s statement via Stories.
“The video and its opinions do not have the full context. This is the last thing another small business (restaurant) in town needs after these brutal 2 years.”
“So sorry about @ 6ixbuzztv and the girl who posted the video of @hongshingto and decided it would be nice to make her own STORY of events, which hurts a wonderful local business, especially during such a happy holiday season,” wrote another.
“Imagine being a business owner and dealing with the last 2 years of restrictions / lockdowns and then recently recovering from a kitchen fire, to get started again in time for the holidays, just for some fake
news account to post something without any context, “wrote another supporter still.
“We have personally eaten here for many many years. Collin and his staff have always given us a great experience and great food. We should build each other up, not attack small businesses.”
Some use the case to highlight widespread anti-Asian racism in Toronto and talk about the harm that unfounded stereotypes can cause.
“Local restaurants do not need this kind of slander, especially during covid. The guy was about to soak up a spill and did his job,” an Instagram user wrote as he shared Hong Shing’s statement. “This whole dirty Chinese restaurant stereotype takes us 50 years back.”
Hong Shing, which appreciates the support, announced last night that it would temporarily offer a 30 percent discount on everything online and pick up orders for people using the code “SUPPORTLOCAL.”
The owner of Hong Shing has not yet responded to an immediate request for comment from blogTO, but told us in the fall that he hurried to reopen after the fire before Christmas – something he managed to do.
“We hope we can now look ahead and be excited about upgrades to the restaurant, especially into next year,” Colin Li said at the time.
“There are not many places in the city in 25 years, and for us to have a chance to give it a facelift, we are happy to share with our loyal fans and create a better experience with them.”