View Single Post
Old 08-06-2019, 02:06 PM
Kobal2's Avatar
Kobal2 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 18,982
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Authenticity, really, shouldn't be an issue in and of itself. There are many, many well-loved and thriving Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. that aren't particularly authentic. Same is true of a strong majority of popular ethnic restaurants in the U.S., I would think.
Sure, but they might not be considered "good" examples of what Insert_ethnic_cuisine_here is. If you take Chinese food as an example (which I know more about than Mexican food), the overwhelming majority of restaurants will serve Chinese dishes that aren't "adventurous" for the locals, stuff that's very much like local food but cooked in a wok and so on ; or actually Chinese stuff that generally resembles local food. Here in France for example most every Chinese restaurant will serve what I call "Frenchified Chinese cuisine" : beef & onion, fried chicken, lacquered duck, salt & pepper shrimp or pork, fried rice with egg & ham, wonton soup... Stuff that's "foreign", but not too foreign. Maybe there'll be a dish or two with peanuts in it, for the more adventurous connaisseurs . And if you ask the chefs at these places, they'll all tell you the same thing : "if I make real Chinese food, I won't have customers any more - if you call in advance I can make it for you, but I can't put it on the regular menu".
That's not to say they make bad food btw - there's truly excellent Frenchified Chinese food to be found. It's just not, yanno, Chinese food .

If there's a large enough ethnic community however, then you'll also find Chinese restaurants that do Chinese food for Chinese people, which is where you'll find menus featuring duck tongues and chicken feet and lion's head meatballs and xiaolong baos and a million other dishes you'd never heard of and never seen in any "Chinese restaurant" (and some which you probably shouldn't have. I tried the tendons once, with ample regrets.)
Most of these places also serve the "Frenchified Chinese" dishes, but don't Frenchify them at all - and the dishes are often better for it. Same is true for Korean food ("Korean BBQs" are a dime a dozen, but my friends and I found a lone, family-owned Korean restaurant in the heart of the Parisian south west, which is lowkey Koreatown, that does "real" Korean cuisine and it's to die for), Japanese food (a billion bad trendy sushi places, but around the Opera where the Japanese immigrants live there are Udon joints and even Japanese curry joints that'll make you believe in Shinto), etc...

So going backwards to the OP, I'd be willing to guess the reason Mexican food is pretty bad all over Europe is that there aren't really any large South American "enclaves" anywhere that would make serving food "like in the old country" to nostalgic Latinos/as profitable in the short run.

Last edited by Kobal2; 08-06-2019 at 02:07 PM.