Best Of 2020

Best Surprising Cincinnati Shout-Out: Awkwafina

Actress and rapper Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell, Paradise Hills) chatted with The New York Times Travel section in November 2019 about “traveling to Asia and Staycationing in New York.” But the conversation about her recent hotel and travel habits took an interesting turn — one could assume for all parties involved. When asked if she’d been on any exciting trips lately, Awkwafina replied not with the standard celebrity list of vacation locations like Lake Como, Italy or the Cote d’Azur. Instead she said: “Two of my favorite cities — other than New York — are Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. I enjoyed Cincinnati. I enjoyed it, OK? They do this chili with cinnamon in it.” Yes. Cincinnati is one of her favorite cities (we’re ignoring the Pittsburgh part). And we appreciate her emphasis that she “enjoyed (Cincinnati), OK?” There is no reply from the interviewer, Tariro Mzezewa, but one can imagine her repeating “Cincinnati?” in her head with a questioning air of disbelief and/or concern that a visit to this Midwestern flyover gem could be considered an “exciting” vacation. Awkwafina also gave a shout-out to Cincinnati-style chili, which is indeed made with cinnamon and a bunch of other weird spices. So, thank you for that. It’s rare to find a non-Cincinnatian who can appreciate our elevated culinary masterpiece without calling it “horrifying diarrhea sludge.” We stan Awkwafina.