Recently I've been following a web site for "foodies" called Chow. This is the sort of site which is heavy on recipes that include balsamic vinegar, edamame, pine nuts and goat cheese. If you read the boards, you will easily come away thinking that this is a site frequented by people who turn up their noses at "pedestrian" fare. I've read threads where they've taken the time to express their impressions of the latest set meal at KFC (hint: they're not fans) and spoken disdainfully of places like Applebee's (one wag said he wouldn't inflict it on Saddam Hussein).
This same group of people rub their hands together with glee because a Japanese department store is now offering green tea "soft cream" (that's soft serve ice cream) in their area (in a U.S. city) with optional azuki bean topping. This is the crap that you can buy in convenience stores all over Japan. The people who sell it take bags of pre-made (likely powdered) mix, pour it into a machine, add water and pump a little air into it then squeeze it out through a tube for you. It's essentially the same gloop you get at Dairy Queen in the U.S. but instead of it being topped off with canned crushed pineapple that has been boiled with sugar it's topped with canned soy beans that have been boiled with sugar.
I don't have a problem with people who like exotic or gourmet food and dislike food prepared with cheap, low quality, or commonly-used ingredients. I do have a problem with the hypocrisy of people who praise the pedestrian fare of one culture while putting their noses in the upright position for similar pedestrian fare from another culture (usually American). Soft serve ice cream from the U.S. is swill. The same thing from Japan in a different flavor is a culinary treat.
I've witnessed this sort of hypocrisy mainly in regards to Japanese food because I know it so well from having lived here. I know when cheap Japanese food is being lovingly embraced as if it were haute cuisine because I know what is commonly available. However, I've also seen glimpses of it on (sometimes chef, author, and full-time T.V. personality) Anthony Bourdain's food and travel programs for the Discovery channel. On the whole, I enjoy his shows but he really has a thing for taking every opportunity to speak derisively of America's popular food culture. He went out of his way to chase down the origin of nachos in Mexico not to teach us how this monstrously popular snack was created but how it was originally served to American wives of dignitaries when there was nothing better around to serve them. The ladies had the low taste to enjoy this off the cuff concoction and it somehow (supposedly) spread to the U.S. from this one experience. The notion that this one instance where a Mexican served stale chips with cheese and peppers set off a trend is pretty absurd. At the same time, I've seen Bourdain praise relatively mundane fare in Europe. The most memorable one was a crepe spread with Nutella (a mass-produced chocolate hazelnut spread full of fat and sugar which you can buy in a jar at most markets which is also extremely yummy) and a few bananas. Qualitatively speaking, this is little better cuisine than a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
The problem with food snobs isn't that they have a taste for food which is unique in flavor and texture. The problem is that they dislike food simply because it is popular with a lot of people or available to the masses. These are the sorts of people who would view meatloaf dismissively but get excited about an order of tsukune when they're both little more than ground meat and regionally-determined seasonings mixed up, pressed together and cooked.
Sometimes I wonder what it is about human nature that compels people to deride what others embrace while talking about what they love. Is it really so hard to simply love what you love and let others enjoy what they like without subjecting them to your disdain? I guess it is if your ego is structured such that you can only elevate yourself by putting down something.