Othering and Low Status Framing of Immigrant Cuisines in US Restaurant Reviews and Large Language Models


  • Yiwei Luo Stanford University
  • Kristina Gligorić Stanford University
  • Dan Jurafsky Stanford University




Identifying implicit attitudes toward food can help mitigate social prejudice due to food’s pervasive role as a marker of ethnic identity. Stereotypes about food are representational harms that may contribute to racialized discourse and negatively impact economic outcomes for restaurants. Understanding the presence of representational harms in online corpora in particular is important, given the increasing use of large language models (LLMs) for text generation and their tendency to reproduce attitudes in their training data. Through careful linguistic analyses, we evaluate social theories about attitudes toward immigrant cuisine in a large-scale study of framing differences in 2.1M English language Yelp reviews. Controlling for factors such as restaurant price and neighborhood racial diversity, we find that immigrant cuisines are more likely to be othered using socially constructed frames of authenticity (e.g., authentic, traditional), and that non-European cuisines (e.g., Indian, Mexican) in particular are described as more exotic compared to European ones (e.g., French). We also find that non-European cuisines are more likely to be described as cheap and dirty, even after controlling for price, and even among the most expensive restaurants. Finally, we show that reviews generated by LLMs reproduce similar framing tendencies, pointing to the downstream retention of these representational harms. Our results corroborate social theories of gastronomic stereotyping, revealing racialized evaluative processes and linguistic strategies through which they manifest.




How to Cite

Luo, Y., Gligorić, K., & Jurafsky, D. (2024). Othering and Low Status Framing of Immigrant Cuisines in US Restaurant Reviews and Large Language Models. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 985-998. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v18i1.31367