TikTok is here to stay. It’s influencing our culture, dictating Top 40 hits and fashion trends. But remember, this is still just a platform full of people on the internet doing whatever they want. And when it comes to food TikTok, there’s a lot of info out there you just can’t rely on. This week alone we were duped by a hack for a $2 Chipotle burrito and alleged insider information that McDonald’s was bringing back the snack wrap.
We’re never going to tell you to stay off TikTok—it would be hypocritical of me to ask that of you when I can spend 12 straight hours scrolling without even thinking. But approach with caution. There are some genres of food TikToks that are more useful than others.
Based on the examples above, it’s safe to say you should always be skeptical of fast food TikToks. Anyone claiming they have insider knowledge could easily just be some guy—in the case of the snack wrap video it looks like the user went as far as to create their own snack wrap prop to double down on the authenticity. But until you hear it straight from the brand’s mouth (or official TikTok page), don’t get too excited.
Things like the Chipotle burrito hack or other “secret menu” intel may work for some, but it also can vary from location to location. Not only are prices different in different areas of the country, but there’s a lot of human intervention that can get in the way of a menu hack. In the TikTok claiming you could get just a bean and cheese burrito at Chipotle for $2, the user said the beans and cheese were rung up as “two sides.” That’s implying that all workers across all Chipotle franchises would do the same, and that’s just not something you can count on, as we found out the hard way.
Of course, we can’t discount how many people exist on the internet just to troll you. If something seems fake or somehow staged, it probably was. Take, for instance, Spokane-style pizza. While the creator of the TikTok claims he wasn’t trying to actually troll anyone, he admits that the salmon and strawberry monstrosity was created as a joke. And the joke was ultimately on all of us.
Some food-related intel can even be physically dangerous, like the frozen honey snack trend. For the love of god, please don’t end up in the hospital dehydrated from diarrhea for the sake of some social media clout. Just keep scrolling.
And the less we say about dubious “wellness” influencers on TikTok, the better. It’s probably best to ignore diet info and other health advice on this platform altogether.
Even with all those landmines, there’s still plenty of food knowledge (and fun!) to be had on TikTok. Many of those take the form of harmless kitchen experiments. There’s no misinformantion being spread about fast food menus, no dangerous recommendations about what to eat or not eat, just folks saying things like, “hey, check out what I did in my kitchen—maybe you can too!”
For example, I learned how to properly clean my stove top for the first time thanks to TikTok—did you know you can pop open the top of some ovens like a car hood to really get the gunk out?
And we’ll never fold our tortillas the same way again after TikTok. We’re not even that mad at that feta pasta recipe anymore. If these fun and simple albeit somewhat silly “hacks” are getting people to experiment in the kitchen, we’re all for it. Just don’t take everything you see on TikTok at face value, and don’t assume every “revelation” will work for you.