Kantong – 100% Australian

August 10, 2007 6:30 PM

Kantong is Australian

“Mama’s making Kan Tong, it doesn’t take long for the word to spread around.” – jingle in Kantong advertisements.

For those who don’t know, Kantong is a 30-year old Australian brand of Asian cooking sauces manufactured by Master Foods. It makes it real easy to cook Asian-style cuisine – stir-fry the vegetables, brown the meat and pour in the sauce.

Juji did a piece about Kantong which is related to what I wrote about the portrayal of Asian culture in local advertising in a previous post, “Of 7-Eleven, Kwik-E Mart and Apu“. Except she did it in art form.

Check it out, and click on the image to enlarge it for the hidden meaning. 😉

Kantong – Wholly Australian Made.

And while doing the research for this post, I stumbled across a Metafilter discussion about an ad which Kantong ran a couple of years ago. It’s a parody of wacky Japanese/Taiwanese TV ads using a mish-mash of stuff: the actors are Vietnamese-Australians (the guy is Hung Le, a comedian) who speak Vietnamese, the flashing words are Chinese with no meaning to the ad or product whatsoever, and the product is Australian.

Kantong TV commercial
Kantong TV commercial
Kantong TV commercial
images via: CultureBuzz

Watch it on YouTube. (thanks Herman!)

Some commentators on the MeFi thread saw racism, while some said it was a clever parody. I’m in the latter group. I’ve seen Hung Le’s act and that’s one of his favourite topics – ridiculing the more absurb aspects of Asian culture but in a good-hearted way. When my family first saw this ad, we all thought it was hilarious. Like I’ve said before, racial comedy can be really funny when done right.

15 thoughts on “Kantong – 100% Australian

  1. juji

    haha, i was slightly puzzled about the banana comment you made, but now i realize why!

    this was actually one image of a series of drawings i did.

    i’ll post the others to clarify. 🙂

  2. virgin_undergrad

    haha, i’ve always wondered what’s up with the name Kan Tong. As far as i know, ‘kan tong’ only makes sense as a figure of speech in a sentence like ‘i was caught drink-driving, so my license kenna kan tong’

    not exactly the most auspicious of trademarks hehe

  3. Yuuka

    The most annoying advert jingle to date! It`s really horrible and my brother and I hate it with a passion but I can`t get it out of my head so I suppose the advertising company did it (terribly) right.

  4. mooiness Post author

    v.u.: yeah it doesn’t really mean anything. Heh.

    Yuuka: yes, if you can remember it then it’s a good jingle. I think it’s because it’s so easy to sing along to. Hahah!

    herman: thanks for the link!

  5. mooiness Post author

    yurl: I think if I’m lazy enough I might try it one day. But when you can get Lee Kum Kee, Maggi or Ayam brand sauces quite easily, why would you as an Asian try Kantong? 😉

  6. AP

    haha I used to love this ad, because it’s so over the top and obviously a parody.

    I guess the problem is, unenlightened typical Aussies may not ‘get’ the humour and draw conclusions…

  7. teabie

    oohh, i din know it was by masterfoods! haha, i’ve always wondered what kantong meant. i’ll take a closer look when i next pop by Kmart tomorrow. as a chinese, i swear by lee kum kee. hehe.


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