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  #51  
Old 12-31-2018, 04:31 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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I don’t think there’s a “New York Style” of Chinese food. Just that I (and Little Pianola) haven’t been lucky enough to find a Chicago restaurant that whupped up the grub well enough to satisfy a San Franciscan or a New Yorker. Next trip I make out to the Windy City, I promise to ask you for recommendations.

Don’t think I’m trying to undermine your civic pride....Mexican food in NYC was utter shit all through the eighties and nineties, until some actual Mexicans decided to move here. Meanwhile, Chi had excellent family style Mexican joints in the Pilsen neighborhood, and also Rick Bayless. It happens.
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Last edited by Ukulele Ike; 12-31-2018 at 04:32 PM.
  #52  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
We made a mistake a few years back eating at a Chinese restaurant in North Platte, Nebraska. The meat was inedible! In Nebraska of all places.
The best beef I ever ate was served in a Chinese joint in a bowling alley in Galena, IL. I guess Nebraska sends its best beef East. Or Iowa grows better cows.

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Calling a whole bunch of other people's food 'horseshit' in an attempt to make his own place sound better just makes him sound like kind of a dick.
Oh, you're becoming familiar with Andrew Zimmern. He's all manner of kinds of dick. And don't be fooled by his wide-eyed-innocent Minnesotan schtick. He's from New York.
  #53  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:05 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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There is something different about NYC takeout Chinese though. I’m not sure what it is, but l, I dunno, maybe there’s just a higher concentration of good Chinese takeout. But, for example, I had never heard of “duck sauce” at local places here—it’s all just sweet and sour. Like NYC style pizza. I live out myriad pizzas and think Chicago is a great pizza town for all sorts of styles, but I’ve never had anything that quite reminds me of an East Coast slice.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-31-2018 at 05:08 PM.
  #54  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:20 PM
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Vietnam is in Asia. You're obviously not from the OC.
You know, I thought of the BŠnh mž right after I posted. That's a great sandwich and a nice blend of Vietnam and France. But I don't think the poster I quoted was thinking of them. And if you get a "real" BŠnh mž and not the touristy type, the meats can be, ahh, a bit odd for the average American.

But what is "OC"?

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  #55  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:28 PM
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But what is "OC"?
Orange County, California. Home to one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam.
  #56  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:32 PM
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There is an Asian grocery store here with what seems to be frozen insects. They resemble trilobites. I wonder how they are used in cooking.
Mangda, Thai water bug: https://www.thaitable.com/thai/ingredient/water-bug

The wife grinds them and puts it into some food. It's an unusual smell. You can also buy the essence in a tiny little jar and it is a crystal clear liquid. Smells the same.

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  #57  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:52 PM
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Portland is a town full of foodies and we get all kinds of interesting world and world/fusion cuisine here--my biggest quibble is that apparently most Portlanders are total weenies about spice in their food because I have to almost have a fight with the Thai places to get them to put some actual heat in their dishes for me. When I get done with a curry or pad Thai I want my sinuses cleared, my ears to be a bit red and eyes watering, dammit!

There's one little Chinese restaurant near me that I hadn't tried but as I'd drive past I'd notice there were only Asian people in the restaurant, which is pretty unusual for a considerably Caucasian city like this one. Went in one day and the menu had all the crazy stuff Americans don't eat on it--not being familiar with a lot of it, I just asked the waitperson to bring me what he'd bring his auntie and don't bother telling me what's in it. To this day I couldn't tell you what it was but he definitely took my request to heart and the cook staff were probably giggling at making the American eat weird things. Jokes on them, I lived in Japan for several years and got pretty used to eating weird shit and liking it, up to and including snacking on crispy grasshoppers and shredded octopus snacks. Whatever I ate that day, it was all absolutely delicious and I regret nothing. Haven't been back there in a while, it's probably past time I essay this experiment again.
  #58  
Old 12-31-2018, 05:54 PM
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And the best Korean food I've had was in Montana. Nothing inherent to Montana about it (though all the beef you get around there, from anywhere, is excellent); there just happens to be a Korean immigrant living in Bozeman who's a great cook (and also a great businesswoman).
  #59  
Old 12-31-2018, 06:27 PM
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His examples are duck and chile oil as examples of exotic cuisine.
Amusingly (to me) when I hear "duck" I just think of Polish-Bohemian anyway. Exotic!
  #60  
Old 12-31-2018, 08:41 PM
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Mangda, Thai water bug: https://www.thaitable.com/thai/ingredient/water-bug

The wife grinds them and puts it into some food. It's an unusual smell. You can also buy the essence in a tiny little jar and it is a crystal clear liquid. Smells the same.

Dennis
They sure look like roaches.
  #61  
Old 12-31-2018, 08:55 PM
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Arggh, I hate that crap when they start going "1 way Peking duck". I ordered a damn duck I expect the whole fucking duck, meat and all.


Also there is a place not too far from me with a big sign that says "New York style Chinese food Restaurant" with no other name apparent. I am some what curious what the difference is, But the building doesn't give me the vibe that the food produced within, regardless of style, is going to be good, so I haven't tried it.

Last edited by wolfman; 12-31-2018 at 08:58 PM.
  #62  
Old 12-31-2018, 10:35 PM
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I agree with the whole authentic doesnít equal good. We have a local sushi restaurant operated by a couple from Japan. Itís a little more authentic than other local sushi places (they proudly refuse to make anything with salmon, and no rolls drenched with mayo or ranch), but the food is terrible. The problem is that they overdo the wasabi, and no matter what you order it tastes like youíre eating a plateful of wasabi.
  #63  
Old 12-31-2018, 11:05 PM
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It's interesting what people consider as "authentic". The food my Mexican grandmother made was fantastic, but you'd never pay for it in a restaurant. It was mostly potatos, beans, and rice. "Authentic" Mexican dishes like tamales and menudo were saved for holidays and big events. And although no one considers Spam Mexican food, it is much more consumed in Mexican households than the average home and was a staple of Grandma's cooking. Restaurant cooking in some ways is inherently inauthentic.
  #64  
Old 12-31-2018, 11:32 PM
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I lived in Indonesia and have spent a lot of time in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. They all have large Chinese communities and Chinese food there is melded with local cuisine.Singapore, in particular has amazing Chinese food that incorporates Indian and Middle Eastern flavors. The only people I hear worrying about “authentic” Chinese food are white Americans, and yeah a white celebrity chef telling Chinese restranteurs that they’re doing it wrong is pretty pretentious. News flash: the food in most restaraunts is pretty mediocre; it’s why Applebee’s is a thing.
The wife being Thai but ethnic Chinese, her family knew all the good Chinese spots in Bangkok. They weren't shy about declaring a place terrible. But they never said it wasn't "authentic," just bad.
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  #65  
Old 12-31-2018, 11:49 PM
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Chili peppers are often spelled "chiles." It's my preferred spelling, for instance. I personally use "chili" for the Tex-Mex dish, and "chile" for the hot peppers. (And there is also the spelling "chilli" with two els.)

And sometimes the spelling can make a difference, as in chile powder vs chili powder. It's not a universally accepted distinction, in my experience, so I use "chili powder" for the mix of spices used to flavor Tex-Mex chili, and "powdered chiles" for the pure red pepper powder.
Yes, I have only ever seen "chile rellenos" as far as I can remember and not "chili rellenos." And living in Albuquerque for a spell and spending even more time in New Mexico over the years, the locals go ga-ga over Hatch green chiles, not chilis. Wee this Wikipedia article on New Mexico chiles.
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  #66  
Old 01-01-2019, 12:32 AM
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*SIGH* This thread is devolving into the usual, "I know authentic XXX food because my XXX friends tell me so!". China has 1.4 billion people spread over 3.7 million square miles. Seafood, beef, chicken, duck, lamb, etc. is not a common denominator for Chinese cuisine anymore than white rice is (which is not eaten in many northern parts of China). As with anywhere else in the world, people eat what's easiest to cultivate, both plants and animals. To narrow "Chinese food" to even a region, Hong Kong style, Schezhen style is disregarding the dozens of various of other styles within that region and the hundreds and thousands of Chinese cuisine that those not from that region are probably unaware of.

Ever notice that what the workers at a Chinese restaurant looks and smells better than what you've ordered? That's because they're often cooking "authentic" food for themselves, without the often toned down seasonings they serve to the majority of customers. At a very basic level, I always get "You sure?" when I order steamed pork hash with extra harm ha. Not only because I like harm ha, but steamed pork hash is one of the simplest to make at home dishes for a Chinese person with their Chinese equivalent of salt, pepper and ketchup.

Was Zimmern's comment insulting and degrading. Yes. But there is a lot of truth that a lot of what we consider "authentic Chinese" food is far from the source. But so is almost any cuisine eaten outside of its place of origin.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-01-2019 at 12:35 AM.
  #67  
Old 01-01-2019, 01:15 AM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
A somewhat similar blend of cultures can be found in Korean cuisine called budae jjigae, which developed, from my understanding, from using leftover food at American army bases post-Korean War. So it can have stuff like spam, hot dogs, baked beans, etc., whatever proteins can be scavenged up and used in a stew. It is quite tasty. ETA: An, of course, you also have Spam musubi, but that's Hawaii, so not quite counting as Asia.
Check this out. SFW.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjFTQSfkXpY
  #68  
Old 01-01-2019, 02:10 AM
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Another barrier to "authentic cuisine" is the fact that the meats, fruits and vegetables we eat today have been altered either purposely or through natural selection. Just because someone cooks with the same ingredients as their great, great, great grandma, doesn't mean the duck and vegetables used are genetically and flavorfully the same. When the H1N1 virus was initially linked to being carried by ducks, millions of them were slaughtered in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. What if a certain strain of that duck was the one that made great, great, great grandma's so good?

I remember in the 60's, the first time my Auntie whom my Uncle met in Korea, made kim chee, she had chemical burns because she wasn't used to our Hawaiian chili peppers. She said she had to change her family recipe to accomodate our chilis. She said that the kim chee was good, but the one she made in Korea was different.

Also: The kal bi she made was different from any kal bi I've ever had since. She was from Seoul. So was this authentic Seoul style or just something her family made. And ingredients did she have to substitute because at the time there were no dedicated Korean markets.

What is authentic?

Last edited by lingyi; 01-01-2019 at 02:13 AM.
  #69  
Old 01-01-2019, 02:23 AM
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Mao on a pogo stick. Zimmerman's Midwest "Chinese restaurant" serves Sichuan, Xi’an, and Hong Kong cuisine. That is the equivalent of serving LA, Chicago and Green Bay cuisine. WTF might that be? These three places are thousands of miles apart and server completely different food. Hong Kong eats rice and Xi'an wheat derived food. As soon as you see "mandarin" cuisine or some such, you know the restaurant is Chinese catering to the American local. Nuff said. He's doing the same.

Ya, I agree most Chinese restaurants in the US cater to their local US clientele, and not to authentic Chinese food. While I wish then would make "real" Chinese food, who am I to criticize someone from leaping into the melting pot and selling whatever the locals want?
  #70  
Old 01-01-2019, 05:03 AM
Merneith Merneith is online now
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His "Chinese" menu is covered in super-basic Chinese clip art and includes an image of Japan's rising sun along side an Easter Island Moai.

I think at this point we have to conclude that Andrew Zimmern is full of shit.

Also, he is unemployed: Travel Channel just cancelled his show.

http://www.bravotv.com/the-feast/che...channel-update

Last edited by Merneith; 01-01-2019 at 05:04 AM.
  #71  
Old 01-01-2019, 08:59 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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The wife being Thai but ethnic Chinese, her family knew all the good Chinese spots in Bangkok. They weren't shy about declaring a place terrible. But they never said it wasn't "authentic," just bad.
Being a white American myself, I think we obsess over cultural authenticity so much because we donít really have any culture of our own, so we vampire off other cultures to try to make ourselves less boring. When your cultural touchstones are the Gap and Jay Leno, you can be forgiven for wanting to jump on to someone elseís culture. The problem is that when we do that, we always feel that we then own it and get to dictate what is and isnít correct.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:18 AM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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Being a white American myself, I think we obsess over cultural authenticity so much because we donít really have any culture of our own, so we vampire off other cultures to try to make ourselves less boring. When your cultural touchstones are the Gap and Jay Leno, you can be forgiven for wanting to jump on to someone elseís culture. The problem is that when we do that, we always feel that we then own it and get to dictate what is and isnít correct.
A good point, proven by the well known fact that no one besides Americans have ever heard of Mark Twain, the cuisine of New Orleans or the music of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Louis Armstrong.
  #73  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:47 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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We made a mistake a few years back eating at a Chinese restaurant in North Platte, Nebraska. The meat was inedible! In Nebraska of all places.
I have unpleasant memories of eating at Chinese restaurants in Millinocket, Maine and Salina, Kansas. But the worst such food I ever had was at a Chinese restaurant in a small seaside town in Scotland. Blurgh.

As for genuine cuisine, I'm grateful that the Chinese places I get food at now are not "authentic" in the sense of providing a true dining experience like one is liable to get in China.

"Chinaís biggest meat products company (which purchased Smithfield Foods last year for $4.7 billion), has been plagued by constant reports here in this country of meat infested with maggots, customers succumbing to food poisoning, and random testing that shows illegal levels of bacteria and illegal additives such as clenbuterol in their meat...Anyone who can afford it avoids street food and cheaper restaurants, which are notorious for their poor quality. Food consequently often takes up to 50 percent of the average personís monthly budget. Food poisoning is extremely common, and the rates of cancer in China are rising. I know personally three people under the age of 40 with liver or kidney failure. Gastrointestinal cancer is one of the most common cancers in China. People largely view this as unavoidable and a consequence of dirty food."

http://foodsafetynews.com/2014/07/ch...n-you-thought/
  #74  
Old 01-01-2019, 11:05 AM
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Eh, it works both ways. Those of us who travel have experienced perfectly dreadful "authentic" American, British, Mexican etc. food in other countries.
This. When I was an unhappy sailor at an Army base on Okinawa I had to eat at the restaurant just outside the gate just to keep my tastebuds calibrated.* Besides stuff for locals they offered their version of western food. I ordered strictly off of the left side of the menu. One day the plane from Stateside was late and a new roommate was delivered to my door at about 7pm, long after the chowhall was closed. He was hungry so I treated him at the restaurant. My first clue he was a prat was when, his first meal overseas on someone else's dime, was a hamburger. It was at best a rude approximation of what he was expecting, I'm sure.
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Thailand also has a fairly popular dish called "American fried rice." It was invented during the Vietnam War by a Thai cook serving the US base in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Fried rice with little Vienna sausages and an egg and other stuff thrown in, apparently trying to make the servicemen feel more at home. But that origin has largely been forgotten, and just about all Thais think Americans really do eat that regularly. It's actually not bad.
I hope the Vienna sausages in Thailand were better than what Armour is currently offering. One of the Hounds need to take a pill twice a day. We hit upon the idea of using a sausage to hide the pill and bought one of those bitty cans with seven of 'em. Big mistake. Upon opening the can the sausages did not smell appetizing at all and when a spiked one was offered to the Hound, he declined it.


*Everything you've heard about army chow is true. It was especially galling because the navy base I'd just come from had won the Ney award for Small Ashore.
  #75  
Old 01-01-2019, 12:25 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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I don't know whether Chinese food in the U.S. is better or worse than it used to be. I would have had to spend all my time traveling around trying Chinese restaurants in the U.S. over a period of decades to be able to make any claim about that. I can say though that one claim in the OP is wrong. Chinese restaurants have not acquired the "fast food mentality" in the past ten to fifteen years. Really, to compare them with how things used to be, you have to think back to the 1950's. The vast majority of food served in American Chinese restaurants back then was definitely Americanized. Whether Americanized Chinese food is better or worse than the many varieties of food served in China is a different question. You can like whatever you want to like. However, it wasn't until the 1960's that a lot of American Chinese restaurants began to serve more of those many varieties of Chinese food. They also became more likely to offer to serve such varieties to customers who weren't of Chinese ancestry. Supposedly, they mostly quit having a separate Chinese menu.

Now there are Chinese restaurants serving a wide variety of Chinese food in the U.S. For instance, just in the past year I've gone several times to a restaurant that does Northwest Chinese food (which means, I think, the cuisine of Xinjiang). There's a restaurant I've gone to a couple of times which does the cuisine of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to Peru. The varieties of Chinese food in the U.S. is much wider than it used to be. Whether it's better or worse than the Americanized Chinese food of the 1950's is a separate question.
  #76  
Old 01-01-2019, 12:36 PM
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A few days ago I had a sashimi bowl at a popular sushi / bento place. I knew something was a bit off when I saw that you could order a side of kim chee with your meal. Sure enough, the sashimi in my bowl was coated in sesame oil and seeds and there was a side of Korean style choi sam (mixed with sesame oil and seeds). Was it delicious, yes. Was it an authentic Japanese style donburi (bowl of rice covered with some top of topping), no.

This is common in Hawaii because of our large ethnic mix where food cultures are mixed to create something to meet local tastes. I had a friend from Samoa take me to a Korean owned store that served Samoan food. I asked her if it was authentic and she said it was exactly like what she used to get at home, including the use of New Zealand mutton. So you never know what you're going to get where!
  #77  
Old 01-01-2019, 12:55 PM
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Korean-owned sushi places are actually pretty standard around here, so I’m not surprised.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-01-2019 at 12:56 PM.
  #78  
Old 01-01-2019, 04:06 PM
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His "Chinese" menu is covered in super-basic Chinese clip art and includes an image of Japan's rising sun along side an Easter Island Moai.
You took the words right out my keyboard: crap layout, wrong symbols, tatty colours.
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  #79  
Old 01-01-2019, 04:30 PM
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Thatís not.....terribly impressive.
Hey, he offers genuine Minnesota rums on the cocktail menu, so it has to be good!
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:22 PM
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The menu reminds me of an upscale/more expensive PF Changs - which is (to me) just a nicer/more expensive version of the generic strip mall Chinese restaurants. Not that there is anything wrong with either PF Changs or generic strip mall Chinese restaurants, because I like both but I wouldn't consider them to be "authentic" Chinese. After Zimmern's rant, I would be expecting more obscure dishes that reflect a particular region of China's cuisine.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:17 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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The Chinese have a tendency to eat everything under the sun. Americans eat beef, chicken, pork, onions, corn, carrots, potatoes, wheat, and a smattering of a few other things. Midwesterners are not going to eat a meal of sea cucumber, sparrow spit, roasted scorpion, etc[.]
Having lived five years in China, these "exotic" ingredients are pretty uncommon. Sure, they're available at places that specialize in weird shit, but the vast majority of the population get their meals as restaurants and grocery stores with fairly normal ingredients. The strangest thing you're likely to find in a Chinese grocery store are live frogs. (On the good side, most aquatic things can be purchased live.)

Roasted scorpions? That's a tourist thing. Not just western tourists, but Chinese tourists, too. They'll go to a night market in Beijing where they've heard of roasted scorpion, and they'll try it. That's definitely not an everyday thing.

I've had some strange shit in China, e.g., ocular muscles and sheep testicles, but you run of the mill restaurant is going to serve pork with vegetables, seafood with vegetables, chicken with vegetables, and sometimes beef with vegetables. Lots of rice in the central and south; lots of wheat in the north. Noodles from various starches everywhere. And dog, but only if you're in a dog region, and only if you specifically look for it.

Chinese are less disgusted by certain things than we are. Viscera is a lot more common, for example. I told a guide once that some ducks looked delicious, and he told me I was like typical Chinese thinking about how I might consume anything. But in general, viscera aside, most Chinese food you will ever encounter is made from pretty standard ingredients.
  #82  
Old 01-01-2019, 07:33 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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A good point, proven by the well known fact that no one besides Americans have ever heard of Mark Twain, the cuisine of New Orleans or the music of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Louis Armstrong.
Uh, I hate to break it to you, but Hendrix and Armstrong were black.

Last edited by madmonk28; 01-01-2019 at 07:33 PM.
  #83  
Old 01-01-2019, 08:50 PM
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And? That makes them not American, somehow?
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:52 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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My post was about how white Americans vampire off of other cultures and obsess about authenticity. In response, he brought up two black artists for some reason, kind of proving my point.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:01 AM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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I have to say that since returning to the US and Hawaii, I've grown very fond of the Panda Express chain.


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Originally Posted by Royal Nonesutch View Post
A good point, proven by the well known fact that no one besides Americans have ever heard of Mark Twain, the cuisine of New Orleans or the music of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Louis Armstrong.
Hell, I've known plenty of Americans who have never heard of any of these either.


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I hope the Vienna sausages in Thailand were better than what Armour is currently offering. One of the Hounds need to take a pill twice a day. We hit upon the idea of using a sausage to hide the pill and bought one of those bitty cans with seven of 'em. Big mistake. Upon opening the can the sausages did not smell appetizing at all and when a spiked one was offered to the Hound, he declined it.
They are. I called them Vienna sausages because that's what they resembled, but they don't come from a can and are really quite tasty. I enjoyed the occasional plate of American fried rice myself. It may not resemble anything found in the US, but that didn't stop it being tasty. But many's the time I would order it, and I felt the waitress was giving me a knowing look, like sure, the American is ordering his national dish.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:11 AM
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I went to a Szechwan restaurant in SF's Chinatown some years ago with a pair of exchange students (and their host family).
They didn't look at the menu and directed a torrent of Mandarin at the waitress.
We got a lot of weird stuff I have never seen before or since. Some was really strange, some was good, and I have no idea what it was or how to order it again.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:04 AM
silvernblack silvernblack is offline
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He's a dumbass making generalized statements and labeling food "Chinese" and then grading it. Look at the size of China and then you'll understand that there isn't anything for the clown to label "Chinese".
  #88  
Old 01-02-2019, 02:37 AM
Haldurson Haldurson is offline
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One thing about Chinese food in the US is that a lot of the dishes were actually invented in the US -- that's always been the case. Part of the problem is that if you are going to be using fresh ingredients, you have to make do with whatever is actually available in your locale. Substitutions and experiments are going to happen. It's not about having a dish that is completely authentic, as much as it is being authentic in style.

As a parallel to this, when I was in Taiwan, they had, basically 3 or 4 standard flavors of ice cream. We visited a university cafeteria, and the only available choices that I can recall were (literally) Red bean, White Bean or Black bean. As I said, people make do with whatever ingredients are available. If you are out in Taipei, on the street, there will be lots of vendors selling shaved ice, with one of those beans as a topping.

Another thing about my trip to Taiwan -- unless you go into a more expensive restaurant, dishes tend to be very plain and simple -- a bowl with rice or noodles, with one protein on top. We never saw anything that in any way resembled what passes here in New York for Cantonese or Szechuan or Hunan style food. We did have one meal with lots of the in-laws where there was some dim sum. But that was more of an expensive banquet, not a meal at a regular restaurant.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:08 AM
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Can't get authentic Australian Chinese Food here anymore. If you really want it, I'd really recommend going interstate to some holiday region where old people who don't normally go to restaurants eat out, and want traditional fare. I don't think young people in Melbourne would even recognize traditional authentic Australian Chinese Food if it was served to them. ("Is this a regional cuisine? Or just crap?"}

In Melbourne, there are just so many Chinese speaking people who don't like authentic Australian Chinese Food, that it's completely revolutionized the business.
  #90  
Old 01-02-2019, 05:24 AM
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Whateves. The thing I hate most about the decline of shopping malls in America, is I can no longer get those Cajun/Asian food dishes. Oh how I long for that stir fry bourbon chicken!!
  #91  
Old 01-02-2019, 05:25 AM
Merneith Merneith is online now
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Originally Posted by Haldurson View Post
One thing about Chinese food in the US is that a lot of the dishes were actually invented in the US -- that's always been the case.
Next Zimmerman's going to scream at us that spaghetti & meatballs isn't authentic Italian. And I'm sure in a couple years we'll be hearing from him that Tex-Mex is doing Mexican all wrong.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to experiment with different cuisines. That's how fusion dishes come about. Bourdain always said he found the best foods on the border lines where different cultures butted into each other. I remember him loving taco rice in Okinawa.

Zimmern's looking down his nose at American Chinese food - it's just such a weird take from the, "If it looks good, eat it!" guy.
  #92  
Old 01-02-2019, 07:01 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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I enjoyed the occasional plate of American fried rice myself. It may not resemble anything found in the US, but that didn't stop it being tasty. But many's the time I would order it, and I felt the waitress was giving me a knowing look, like sure, the American is ordering his national dish.
I'd love to follow her when she comes to the US, starts casting about looking for some genuine American fried rice, and gets these blank looks.

In a similar vein, when I was a teenager and the chain was more popular, I'd imagine an Austrian tourist stopping at Der Wienerschnitzel for a taste of home and being keenly disappointed.
  #93  
Old 01-02-2019, 07:35 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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I think the 4th point Sage Rat makes is really relevant. When most Chinese restaurants opened the majority of Americans weren't comfortable eating things they weren't at least passingly familiar with, so to stay in business you had to cater to American tastes and basically take just about everything Chinese out of the dishes. Now Americans are giving them shit for serving the dumbed down food they demanded.
Your last sentence reads like it is the same Americans giving them shit and demanding the shit. If it isn't, the sentence doesn't have much of a point. It's not hypocritical for someone to have opinions that differ from their peers.
  #94  
Old 01-02-2019, 07:52 AM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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My post was about how white Americans vampire off of other cultures and obsess about authenticity. In response, he brought up two black artists for some reason, kind of proving my point.
I originally didn't actually notice your emphisis on WHITE Americans, but speaking as a decidedly, distinctly NON WHITE American, one who has spent time in well over 25 different countries (15 in just the past 3 years alone) in my 48 years here on Earth, to claim that America, "WHITE" or otherwise, has created no original "culture" (however one might choose to define that) is laughably, unbelievably ignorant.

Whether or not they are cultures you or I might choose to personally identify with or claim as your own, from the Bluegrass & Bourbon culture of rural Appalachia to the California Surfers of the 1950's & 60's or the Summer of Love hippies, American (and yes, my 3 examples are primarily of WHITE American origin) these are all well known and both celebrated and imitated (for better or worse) worldwide, and to claim otherwise shows a lack of knowlege about both American culture and the things billions of non-Americans associate with the USA.

Last edited by Royal Nonesutch; 01-02-2019 at 07:53 AM.
  #95  
Old 01-02-2019, 08:19 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by Royal Nonesutch View Post
I originally didn't actually notice your emphisis on WHITE Americans, but speaking as a decidedly, distinctly NON WHITE American, one who has spent time in well over 25 different countries (15 in just the past 3 years alone) in my 48 years here on Earth, to claim that America, "WHITE" or otherwise, has created no original "culture" (however one might choose to define that) is laughably, unbelievably ignorant...
Good thing that is not what I claimed then.

Over three posts I had three points:
1. I've had Chinese food all over Asia and all of it had melded with local cuisine and the only people who worried about whether it was authentic or not were white Americans;
2. I proposed (somewhat jokingly) that the reason white Americans obsess over whether some cultural artifact (in this case Chinese food) is authentic is because their own culture is bland, so they feed off other cultures; and
3. White America often then takes ownership of the new cultural artifact (bringing it back to the subject of the OP).

You see? I made a small joke about the Gap and Jay Leno being the pinnacle of white American culture (two very boring and bland things) and then tied it back to why a very white chef in very white Minnesota felt empowered to tell Chinese restaurateurs they are doing it wrong. Then you clearly jumped in without reading the earlier posts and how my comments fit in to them so that you could be outraged by your misunderstanding.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:20 AM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
Good thing that is not what I claimed then.

Over three posts I had three points:
1. I've had Chinese food all over Asia and all of it had melded with local cuisine and the only people who worried about whether it was authentic or not were white Americans;
2. I proposed (somewhat jokingly) that the reason white Americans obsess over whether some cultural artifact (in this case Chinese food) is authentic is because their own culture is bland, so they feed off other cultures; and
3. White America often then takes ownership of the new cultural artifact (bringing it back to the subject of the OP).

You see? I made a small joke about the Gap and Jay Leno being the pinnacle of white American culture (two very boring and bland things) and then tied it back to why a very white chef in very white Minnesota felt empowered to tell Chinese restaurateurs they are doing it wrong. Then you clearly jumped in without reading the earlier posts and how my comments fit in to them so that you could be outraged by your misunderstanding.
No, when you specifically claim that WHITE AMERICA doesn't have "...any culture of our own, so we vampire off of other cultures to make ourselves less boring..." it tells me your opinion is from ignorance and very likely a deep-seated cultural insecurity, (not uncommon in Americans who have lived abroad for a short period of time who upon returning to live in the U.S. are desperate to show everyone their newfound worldly "sophistication") and so it should be given no serious consideration.

My mistake was to waste time pointing out your obvious error.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:50 AM
bump bump is offline
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Thatís not.....terribly impressive.
I agree. Especially when compared to my personal local favorite:

https://jengchirestaurant.com/menu/

Or one of my Houston favorites:

http://www.menusoftexas.com/phatkyre...nner_menu.html


That said, what I think he's trying to say is that a lot of people conceive of Pei Wei/PF Changs as authentic Chinese food, and think of Panda Express and lesser restaurants as Americanized, when in fact, all of them are Americanized to a drastic degree.
  #98  
Old 01-02-2019, 10:12 AM
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The thing is, America does have its own culture, but it's a fusion culture. You know why the food in New Orleans is so good? Because it has influences from the French, the Spanish, the English, the natives from at least two completely different parts of the continent, the Caribbean, and Africa. We steal everything we can from every culture we can find, not because we don't have our own culture, but because we do, and that's how our own culture is formed.
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:50 AM
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Alessan Alessan is offline
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I think saying "we don't have our own culture" is equivalent to saying "I don't speak with an accent." Sure you do - you just think it's the default.
  #100  
Old 01-02-2019, 10:53 AM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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The thing is, America does have its own culture, but it's a fusion culture. You know why the food in New Orleans is so good? Because it has influences from the French, the Spanish, the English, the natives from at least two completely different parts of the continent, the Caribbean, and Africa. We steal everything we can from every culture we can find, not because we don't have our own culture, but because we do, and that's how our own culture is formed.
No one would argue against the obvious fact that culture diffuses from place to place, that is not remotely controversial, and everyone has been trapped a party and heard the self-impressed cultural connoisseur blather on about "Did you know that pizza isn't even originally, authentically Italian, tomatoes weren't even introduced to Italy until after George Washington discovered America!" but to say that America, even more specifically "White America" has created NO freestanding culture of note is simply, factually, 100% wrong.

I guess the reason I didn't think of it earlier was because I personally, despite being born & raised in Heartland America in the 1970's, have zero connection with the whole Super Hero/Comic Book culture that is so omnipresent today, but despite the fact that it is all based on original work from overwhelmingly "white" Americans back in the 1940's and 50's, almost anywhere on Earth that you go in today's 2019, from Sydney to Sao Paulo, from Santiago to Stockholm to Stuttgart, you see children, teens, 20 and 30-somethings as well as people in their 50's and 60's wearing shirts, hats and bags emblazoned (in English) with likenesses of their favorite superhero characters. It is simply everywhere, and it is (for better or worse) 100% All American, and at least originally created by white Americans, although why that part is apparently important to some is lost on this decidedly non-white American, who hasn't set foot back in the U.S. for a few years now.

Last edited by Royal Nonesutch; 01-02-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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