Folks, please don’t put plastic rope on the grill

Screengrabs from Instagram
Screengrabs from Instagram

With all the microplastics we’re already inadvertently consuming along with our food, we probably should know better than to cook with plastic, right?

Yet an Indonesian food vlogger who goes by the name Kokobuncit has been receiving huge culinary backlash in the past couple of days over a video in which he promoted an eatery that put plastic rope on the grill.

The post, which was uploaded some two months ago, resurfaced as screenshots on Twitter this week, depicting beef ribs, tied together using plastic rope locally known as rafia, on a grill. Next to that photo is a screenshot of comments criticizing the method, to which Kokobuncit replied, “[the rope] is probably food grade.”

Amid ridicule towards Kokobuncit’s claim, celebrity chef Yuda Bustara offered his expert opinion, which, had common sense prevailed, we wouldn’t have needed.

“It’s certainly unsafe because rafia is generally made from plastic. And I look at the grill, the rafia comes into direct contact with the heat, so it can melt,” Yuda said.

“[The solution] is to find meat that comes tied or is pre-cooked so it doesn’t need to be tied,” Yuda added, referring to butcher’s twine, which is usually 100 percent cotton and grill-safe.

To be fair to Kokobuncit, he did say in an Instagram story he posted yesterday that people are free not to follow his recommendation to eat at the restaurant.

In a follow up story, Kokobuncit said he can accept criticism, as showcased by his refusal to take down the rafia video in an attempt to own up to the controversy. However, he lambasted personal attacks online that touched on his private life, his race, and his family.

“The DMs I’ve been receiving are scary. It’s like I’ve committed the most fatal of faults that won’t be redeemed even by God,” he wrote.

The hate towards Kokobuncit should absolutely stop. And in case you want to avoid/try (we won’t judge) the plastic rope ribs, you can head over to the humble roadside stall serving the dish in Sidoarjo, East Java. More details about the eatery can be found in Kokobuncit’s original post below:

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