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  #51  
Old 08-08-2019, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
One reason could be that Spanish food is very good. Another is Spain is very locally culture orientated and they like their regional foods as part of their heritage. People are not so much from Spain but from their region of Spain, and that's what they are proud of.
We're proud of our food in a "please don't rape our recipes" kind of way (Madrid is particularly famous for doing things to other people's recipes that should carry penalty of garrote vil), but any of us who likes food at all is perfectly happy to have other region's specialties and to let anybody who asks know which are those.

One of those idiots who think that they can cause trouble by Just Asking specific Questions once asked The Basque Team which of the four Basque capitals had the best food. Looks of intense confusion, then a slew of questions: "why are you only counting four? They're seven", "do we have to limit ourselves to the capitals?", "does anybody know which town is having a Week of Veggies or a Week of Pinchos or a Week of Whatever this week?", followed by each of us telling each of the other six (all from different towns) places in their town that we'd liked. For example, the girl from Vitoria wasn't telling us places she liked in Vitoria: the rest of us were telling her about places we'd liked there and she'd ask if we'd tried this or that specialty (not of Vitoria: of that bar). I've had similar experiences with other people, minus the JAQass.
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Last edited by Nava; 08-08-2019 at 07:25 AM.
  #52  
Old 08-08-2019, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
Exactly. The reasoning many people have is that Mexico stemmed from the Spanish breeding with the locals during the time of the Conquistadores, so they are somehow connected culturally. The few Spanish I've met, a Basque in particular, look down on Mexicans, considering them culturally inferior hybrids of the real thing, if you will.
That Basque sounds like a complete jackass, says this Basque.
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  #53  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:04 AM
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Thank you. That reminded me of my mother's 1950s "taco night" recipe.
I still like those kinds of tacos ... and I know I'm not alone
  #54  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Dorjän View Post
They may already do/have something of the kind, because what you describe is not Mexican food.
... touché -- but those were only incidental details, anyway.

Switch up the thought experiment, then: we'll go with soft corn tortillas, barbacoa** or carnitas, diced onion, cilantro, and the fixings for pico de gallo. Tougher to make at home in Paris, Warsaw, or Brussels than it is to do the same in the U.S. (due to item availability or any other factor)?

And would the end result be less likely to win over European friends than American ones?


** well, an ersatz barbacoa, anyway, that can be done in an oven or crock pot. Trying to stick with items readily done in the home.
  #55  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:14 AM
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DrDeth, what most people call patatas bravas... well. It's pretty watered-down. I've even encountered people who called "brava" a sauce which was a mixture of pot-mayo and ketchup. I happened to be part of the first taste-test group (they were invented by a bar-owner in my hometown in the summer of 1984); while they certainly wouldn't be considered extremely spicy by any mexican, they were a lot zingier than most of what people serve.
I think you owe Dr_Paprika a huge apology!

We visited Spain a few years ago and that was my first experience with patatas bravas. We liked them so much, we've made them several times since. I don't know the recipe we've settled on off the top of my head, but it's quite a bit of paprika (we grow and dry our own paprika peppers, along with a dozen more varieties of peppers). So good!
  #56  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:49 AM
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Agreed on Mexican food in the UK. I was there a couple months ago and was like, "WTF is this?"

I also wasn't overly impressed with their Indian food. Maybe I had too high expectations.

Then again, if I try something, and like it, that becomes the de facto "standard" of what a food should taste like, so there's that.

I do agree it's kind of a strange question. Might as well ask why English food isn't more popular in the U.S. There is "English food" in the US (e.g. Fish and Chips), but it's served in normal, non-Englished themed restaurants. "English restaurants" are a rare thing in the U.S.
  #57  
Old 08-08-2019, 06:54 PM
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Regarding Indonesian food in the Netherlands, there were a whole bunch of Dutch citizens living in the Dutch East Indies, including families that had been there for generations. Many moved back to the Netherlands when Indonesia became independent, bringing their food with them.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
... touché -- but those were only incidental details, anyway.

Switch up the thought experiment, then: we'll go with soft corn tortillas, barbacoa** or carnitas, diced onion, cilantro, and the fixings for pico de gallo. Tougher to make at home in Paris, Warsaw, or Brussels than it is to do the same in the U.S. (due to item availability or any other factor)?

And would the end result be less likely to win over European friends than American ones?


** well, an ersatz barbacoa, anyway, that can be done in an oven or crock pot. Trying to stick with items readily done in the home.
When we first came back to Australia, my mum could not get tortillas anywhere. Eventually she found a restaurant wholesaler (the only one in the state) that would sell her some. No pre-packaged spice mixes. She used to make a dip with refried beans that amazed people, because no one knew what they were.

Tortillas and packaged spice mix are now standard in Australian supermarkets, but getting soft corn tortillas is hit and miss (pre-fried corn taco shells are common). Pinto beans are rare. I've started to see black beans just in the last year or two, but they aren't common. You can often find fresh jalepenos (very rarely habaneros), but most of our chillies are Asian style, and never smoked. For hot sauce, we have tabasco. I've heard that the Mexican versions of coriander, oregano and mint are different to the ones you get here, but I'm not sure of the details of that.

I don't know how similar the situation is in Europe, but these are the kinds of problems you can run into. Also, most people have never eaten even vaguely authentic Mexican food. They don't know how it's supposed to taste, so they can't create the flavour profile.
  #58  
Old 08-08-2019, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
** well, an ersatz barbacoa, anyway, that can be done in an oven or crock pot. Trying to stick with items readily done in the home.
Why would you do barbacoa in an over or crock pot? It requires a barbacoa or a grill... at least make it on a plancha, damnit... *twitch* (it cracks me up that the French for plancha is plancha; we're so used to borrowing food terms from other people that we're always surprised when other people borrow ours).


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I think you owe Dr_Paprika a huge apology!
Oops.
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Last edited by Nava; 08-08-2019 at 11:52 PM.
  #59  
Old 08-08-2019, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
Pinto beans are rare. I've started to see black beans just in the last year or two, but they aren't common.
Both available in Spain (more commonly as dry goods than pre-cooked, specially pintas), but I've very rarely seen them in other European countries; I expect that at least black beans would be available in Portugal, don't know about pintas. Both available in bodegas and Spanish-specialty stores through Europe, just not so much in regular supermarkets; there was one in Liege where you could clearly see which were the items the local Spanish population got homesick about, and beans were a big chunk of their stock.

Last edited by Nava; 08-08-2019 at 11:59 PM.
  #60  
Old 08-09-2019, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Why would you do barbacoa in an over or crock pot? It requires a barbacoa or a grill... at least make it on a plancha, damnit... *twitch* (it cracks me up that the French for plancha is plancha; we're so used to borrowing food terms from other people that we're always surprised when other people borrow ours).
Because barbacoa, before Europeans had their way with it, referred to slow-cooking meat in a covered pit. How that word because associated with a grate or pan over open flame, or to a cooking device used for a completely different process, I don't know.
  #61  
Old 08-09-2019, 07:23 AM
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I'm using Trip Advisor because I don't know any of these good restaurants you are referring to. You claim there are plenty of them, yet fail to name any of them, and anywhere they are.

You claimed to know some. In some areas. Please name them, like asked, and stop diverting, I'm the one who doesn't know, and I'm not the one claiming there's plenty of these great restaurants and because its a big damn country with plenty of places.

I really don't give a crap about Tripadvisor, and I don't use it as a source of very much at all. Type in best mexican restaurants in Birmingham into google, and its what you get.

Over to you, oh patronised person with all these mysterious restaurants you know, but won't tell of.
Continuing the UK hijack...
Wahaca's a sit-down dining chain that's making it's way around the UK. To use US terms, it's more Cali-Mex than Tex-Mex. I'd say there food would be considered above average in the US. Wahaca's made it to Manchester and Liverpool so I'm sure Birmingham's on their list.

For take-out, the American chain's Chipotle and Chilangos are both reliable and have strong footholds in London and are expanding.

There's also a bit of a hipster Mexican movement happening in London. I don't know where the hipsters hang out in Birmingham, but there's a good chance that neighbourhood will have an El Pastor equivalent fairly soon.

So if you're looking for good Mexican in Birmingham, be patient,, it's coming.

Or hop on the train down to London and give Ella Canta a try.
  #62  
Old 08-09-2019, 08:54 AM
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Mexican food isn't that popular in Latina America, either. For most of us, Mexican food is tacos and enchiladas and we don't really see them as anything special.
Here in Peru, some sandwich places offer "tacos" and "enchiladas" which, while good, offend Mexico as a nation. So much so that when Peruvians go to Mexico and eat taco there, they don't like them, they aren't what we're used to. People are somehow more familiar with tex-mex stuff.By the way, Taco Bell is on its third try at Peru, having failed miserably twice before.
  #63  
Old 08-09-2019, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Ají de Gallina View Post
Mexican food isn't that popular in Latina America, either. For most of us, Mexican food is tacos and enchiladas and we don't really see them as anything special.
Here in Peru, some sandwich places offer "tacos" and "enchiladas" which, while good, offend Mexico as a nation. So much so that when Peruvians go to Mexico and eat taco there, they don't like them, they aren't what we're used to. People are somehow more familiar with tex-mex stuff.By the way, Taco Bell is on its third try at Peru, having failed miserably twice before.
Right--as I mentioned above--in Colombia if you get a burrito at one of the "Mexican" stands found in the food court of most shopping centers, it will be some bizarre thing that has nothing to do with Mexican food. Same with the other items.
  #64  
Old 08-12-2019, 02:49 AM
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That's a very provincial comment, and assuming that I'm only mentioning chains.

There might be plenty of good mexicans in SOME parts of the UK. It might be good to tell me where you think that is. They are certainly not plentiful or good yet across the country.
And I've eaten a lot of terrible Mexican food in the US: greasy and with stodgy tasteless burritos. And I've had great Mexican food too. But if the existence of the bad restaurants enables one to make blanket statement then do I get to say the same about the US?
  #65  
Old 08-12-2019, 05:41 AM
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And I've eaten a lot of terrible Mexican food in the US: greasy and with stodgy tasteless burritos.
Chipotle, for example
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  #66  
Old 08-12-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
... touché -- but those were only incidental details, anyway.

Switch up the thought experiment, then: we'll go with soft corn tortillas, barbacoa** or carnitas, diced onion, cilantro, and the fixings for pico de gallo. Tougher to make at home in Paris, Warsaw, or Brussels than it is to do the same in the U.S. (due to item availability or any other factor)?

And would the end result be less likely to win over European friends than American ones?
I lived in China for five years, and while I couldn’t get everything I needed at a Suguo across the street, I was able to get everything I needed for making most homemade Mexican food, as opposed to carnitas, which are never made at home, or other non-at-home foods. Between the German Metro store, the western stores, and online, global trade made it pretty easy to eat in China what I ate at home, which was primarily Mexican food and American food.

I was acquaintances with the guy that owned the local Mexican restaurant (because expats all go to the same two western bars, of course), and when I told him his food sucked, he didn’t say anything about matching local tastes, but lamented that he couldn’t get all of the correct ingredients, which is B.S.
  #67  
Old 08-12-2019, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
... touché -- but those were only incidental details, anyway.

Switch up the thought experiment, then: we'll go with soft corn tortillas, barbacoa** or carnitas, diced onion, cilantro, and the fixings for pico de gallo. Tougher to make at home in Paris, Warsaw, or Brussels than it is to do the same in the U.S. (due to item availability or any other factor)?

And would the end result be less likely to win over European friends than American ones?


** well, an ersatz barbacoa, anyway, that can be done in an oven or crock pot. Trying to stick with items readily done in the home.
Not 100% on point, but my Salvadoran-American college roomie has lived in small town England for over 20 years. There is no masa or masa harina or any number of other Central American ingredients to be had for many miles around. When I have gone to visit her, half my suitcase has been filled with things like that.

Last edited by Eva Luna; 08-12-2019 at 01:32 PM.
  #68  
Old 08-13-2019, 07:38 AM
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And I've eaten a lot of terrible Mexican food in the US: greasy and with stodgy tasteless burritos. And I've had great Mexican food too. But if the existence of the bad restaurants enables one to make blanket statement then do I get to say the same about the US?
No. Because you've "had great Mexican food too". I have not yet. Or at least not since I think it was 1987. In a restaurant long gone.

It might be possible for there to be great Mexican food here. The person I was questioning was saying there was, and never did get back to me as to where this was.

I'd like to. It sounds as if some suggestions in this thread might lead me to something, which seems to be more London based, somewhere i tend to avoid (even if working nearby).

Existence of bad restaurants does not allow that blanket statement. Never having found good ones does. You've found some (I've found lots in the US when there, and never had a bad mexican meal in Vegas for instance).
  #69  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
I was able to get everything I needed for making most homemade Mexican food, as opposed to carnitas, which are never made at home ...
Might be inauthentic, but it's done by at least some gringos and it's still quite tasty

...

I'm starting to think the Europeans-don't-do-Mexican-food thing is nothing much more than a cultural "who knows?" than it is a correctable, concrete set of factors.
  #70  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:29 PM
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Might be inauthentic, but it's done by at least some gringos and it's still quite tasty
I'll admit to having made such, too, because, well you can't get good carnitas at anyplace aside from a carnita shop.
  #71  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:54 PM
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I'll admit to having made such, too, because, well you can't get good carnitas at anyplace aside from a carnita shop.
You can also try this method, which is deep-fried in lard, just not in the vast quantity carnitas usually are. That said, I have a friend from Michoacan who makes enormous portions of lard-fried carnitas at home for parties, so it is certainly possible to make at home. Make sure you have a good ventilation system or do it outside (I do all my oily stuff in a wok or Dutch oven set on a gas grill outside.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-13-2019 at 12:55 PM.
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