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Old 12-31-2018, 01:02 AM
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i think zimmern has a point about modren chinese resturants


heres the controversy https://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/bi...eoU?li=BBnb2gh


But I think he's right ...the fast food mentality has taken over and 90 percent of the Chinese restaurants that's opened in the past 10-15 years are horseshit...Ö

I don't know what the recent region of Chinese are running the restaurants these days but when a new restaurant is no different than the mall food court something needs to change
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:23 AM
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I only know what it says in the link you posted, but the link you posted seems to make it relatively clear that the issue is not that the Midwest has good Chinese food, it's that:

1) Zimmern is not Chinese.
2) From a culinary standpoint, there is no such thing as China. The country is highly diverse in its cuisine, including both a large number of different cuisines developed by the Han people, and also the cuisines of other cultures like Tibetan, Uighur, etc.
3) While I'm not an expert on China, I did live in Japan for quite some time and there, there are a large variety of sub-cuisines. A shabu shabu restaurant is a completely different place from an okonomiyaki restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a ramen shop, etc. When I see a "Japanese" restaurant in the US and they're putting wildly different types of Japanese cuisine together into the same menu, I know that I can't expect much since they aren't properly doing any one thing. I would expect that China is much the same and that even if you chose a single regional cuisine, that you will still end up with a restaurant that's a meaningless mishmash of poor implementations of different types of food.
4) 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. so even if you could source all of the weird exotic vegetables and spices from China that a midwesterner might be willing to put in their mouth once, you're really only looking at the recipes that are made with pork or which are vegetarian, if you want to sell anything in the US. It's fundamentally impossible to sell non-Americanized Chinese food to Americans on the simple basis that there's simply too drastic a difference between the cuisines. Anyone wanting to sell "Chinese" food in America will produce radically inauthentic "Chinese" food. It's the only way to make a buck. An actual Chinese restaurant would only work in New York and LA, and would have a very small audience of people who are willing to stick anything in their mouth, and who are willing to pay the cost of sourcing exotic ingredients.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-31-2018 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:50 AM
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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.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:40 AM
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I long for the day when a public figure can voice an opinion without having to apologize for it 24 hours later.


mmm
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:47 AM
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I long for the day when a public figure can voice an opinion without having to apologize for it 24 hours later.


mmm
This.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:22 PM
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I long for the day when a public figure can voice an opinion without having to apologize for it 24 hours later.


mmm
He doesn't have to apologize if he doesn't want to. But you don't call people's livelihood horseshit and expect them to not get pissed off about it.

If he meant it, he should just say, "no, I think you run horseshit restaurants, and my cold sesame peanut noodles will make it clear that your version isn't fit for dogs."

Why won't he stand up for what he believes? (hint: it's because he felt cool being a dick like that, and didn't really think about the fact that there are human beings who make a living on those "horseshit" restaurants who might not appreciate being insulted by a famous, wealthy restaurateur)
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:28 PM
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and didn't really think about the fact that there are human beings who make a living on those "horseshit" restaurants who might not appreciate being insulted by a famous, wealthy restaurateur)
I think the bigger part is insulting the much larger eyeball base that is the customers of those restaurants being told, "Hey stupid Midwestern yokels, I am a sophistimacated big city boy here here to save you from liking what you think you like, but are too clueless to know is horseshit."

That said I would be shocked if the show canceling was 100% percent about the comment. It just feel more like a timely event to excuse something wanted they wanted to finish with anyway, but I have nothing to back that up of course.
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Old 01-05-2019, 01:11 PM
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Why won't he stand up for what he believes? (hint: it's because he felt cool being a dick like that, and didn't really think about the fact that there are human beings who make a living on those "horseshit" restaurants who might not appreciate being insulted by a famous, wealthy restaurateur)
I suspect he was trying to capitalize on the Simon Cowell/Chef Ramsey Iím-a-mean-bastard shtick and thought no one (of importance) would complain.

If this is an indicator this style of critique is falling out of fashion, hallelujah.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:16 PM
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I long for the day when a public figure can voice an opinion without having to apologize for it 24 hours later.


mmm
Why should public figures be immune from criticism if they say something that deserves to be criticized?

Is it only public figures that should get this immunity or should everyone be protected in this way?
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:35 AM
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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.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:25 PM
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I only know what it says in the link you posted, but the link you posted seems to make it relatively clear that the issue is not that the Midwest has good Chinese food, it's that:

1) Zimmern is not Chinese.
2) From a culinary standpoint, there is no such thing as China. The country is highly diverse in its cuisine, including both a large number of different cuisines developed by the Han people, and also the cuisines of other cultures like Tibetan, Uighur, etc.
3) While I'm not an expert on China, I did live in Japan for quite some time and there, there are a large variety of sub-cuisines. A shabu shabu restaurant is a completely different place from an okonomiyaki restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a ramen shop, etc. When I see a "Japanese" restaurant in the US and they're putting wildly different types of Japanese cuisine together into the same menu, I know that I can't expect much since they aren't properly doing any one thing. I would expect that China is much the same and that even if you chose a single regional cuisine, that you will still end up with a restaurant that's a meaningless mishmash of poor implementations of different types of food.
4) 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. so even if you could source all of the weird exotic vegetables and spices from China that a midwesterner might be willing to put in their mouth once, you're really only looking at the recipes that are made with pork or which are vegetarian, if you want to sell anything in the US. It's fundamentally impossible to sell non-Americanized Chinese food to Americans on the simple basis that there's simply too drastic a difference between the cuisines. Anyone wanting to sell "Chinese" food in America will produce radically inauthentic "Chinese" food. It's the only way to make a buck. An actual Chinese restaurant would only work in New York and LA, and would have a very small audience of people who are willing to stick anything in their mouth, and who are willing to pay the cost of sourcing exotic ingredients.
5)"Chile" is the name of a country in South America. There is a category of spices/capsacin-laden fruits known as "chilis."

And duck has so much grease in it that it should be considered an energy source, rather than a food.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 12-31-2018 at 01:26 PM.
  #12  
Old 12-31-2018, 01:27 PM
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5)"Chile" is the name of a country in South America. There is a category of spices/capsacin-laden fruits known as "chilis."

And duck has so much grease in it that it should be considered an energy source, rather than a food.
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.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-31-2018 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:43 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.
I often find myself reading things aloud to my wife. If I come across a word that will be pronounced "chee-lay," I'm going to expect it to refer to the country. If someone wants it to be pronounced like "chilly," they need to spell it in such a way that it can NOT be pronounced "chee-lay."
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:44 PM
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I often find myself reading things aloud to my wife. If I come across a word that will be pronounced "chee-lay," I'm going to expect it to refer to the country. If someone wants it to be pronounced like "chilly," they need to spell it in such a way that it can NOT be pronounced "chee-lay."
No, they don't, but that's outside the scope of this thread. (Besides, "chilly" is the common pronunciation for the country in US English, at least, and the first listed in all the dictionaries I checked; and it's closer to "chill-eh" not "chil-ay" in Spanish. But, anyhow, back to our regularly scheduled thread.)

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Old 12-31-2018, 10:49 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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Last edited by Siam Sam; 12-31-2018 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:34 PM
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5)"Chile" is the name of a country in South America. There is a category of spices/capsacin-laden fruits known as "chilis."
I'm not sure what that has to do with the topic, or my post...
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:45 PM
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5) "Chile" is the name of a country in South America. There is a category of spices/capsacin-laden fruits known as "chilis."
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
I'm not sure what that has to do with the topic, or my post...
Oh, that's right; you didn't read the article in the link.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 12-31-2018 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:17 PM
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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.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:00 AM
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The fact that he may be correct doesn't make his comments not insulting. The fact that Andrew Zimmern is a white man opening a (actually not an "authentic") Chinese restaurant is not insulting.

What IS insulting is Andrew Zimmern criticizing and diminishing the work of people who, unlike himself, do NOT have the luxury of deciding the level of "authenticity" of their restaurants. They are not in position of privilege where they get to make that decision; their businesses are their survival, and the survival of their families, and they produce the food that their customers will buy, period. It's not a pet project, it's their life. There's a reason Chinese takeout joints also sell wings, onion rings, sandwiches and subs, and I promise you it ain't because the proprietors' dream is to one day open a delicatessen. They're in the restaurant game to earn a living any way they can, and the fact that Andrew Zimmern is going to talk shit about what they do, even if he is 100% correct, is massively insulting.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:59 AM
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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.

If you can't do "adequate" why bother even trying?
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:47 AM
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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/
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:51 PM
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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.

If you can't do "adequate" why bother even trying?
O.k. this was like 50 years ago, but the second best cinnamon rolls I ever had in my life were from a place in North Platte.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:06 AM
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What IS insulting is Andrew Zimmern criticizing and diminishing the work of people who, unlike himself, do NOT have the luxury of deciding the level of "authenticity" of their restaurants. They are not in position of privilege where they get to make that decision; their businesses are their survival, and the survival of their families, and they produce the food that their customers will buy, period. It's not a pet project, it's their life. There's a reason Chinese takeout joints also sell wings, onion rings, sandwiches and subs, and I promise you it ain't because the proprietors' dream is to one day open a delicatessen. They're in the restaurant game to earn a living any way they can, and the fact that Andrew Zimmern is going to talk shit about what they do, even if he is 100% correct, is massively insulting.
Whether you're putting your all into it or not, living from day to day or not, if you run a Chinese restaurant and you are selling onion rings, I suspect that you would fairly agree that as far as authenticity goes, your place is horseshit. Someone with a restaurant like that has no delusion that their place is a little slice of Shanghai brought to Smallville. Nor are they going to begrudge another restaurateur from making his pitch to get his restaurant to be successful (so long as he doesn't start up a place across the street from yours).

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-31-2018 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:25 AM
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It's really a matter of the classic 'punching down' issue again. A person in a position of power slamming people who are not just looks bad and almost guarantees some sort of blow back.

Sure, Zimmern may want to promote his new thing - which I'm willing to bet is only marginally more 'Chinese' - but it's possible to do that without being a dick to other people. Classic 'Don't be a jerk' pushback. I don't feel for him at all.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:42 AM
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Whether you're putting your all into it or not, living from day to day or not, if you run a Chinese restaurant and you are selling onion rings, I suspect that you would fairly agree that as far as authenticity goes, your place is horseshit. Someone with a restaurant like that has no delusion that their place is a little slice of Shanghai brought to Smallville. Nor are they going to begrudge another restaurateur from making his pitch to get his restaurant to be successful (so long as he doesn't start up a place across the street from yours).
It's one thing to know that, in your words, "your place is horseshit."

It's entirely another thing for a rich white guy to show up and not only tell you what you sell is shit, but that they're going to go and do it "better."

No, these people don't give a shit if Andrew Zimmern opens a restaurant. They are fully aware that he's not their competition. However, it's like Amazon coming to town and talking shit about the public library; there's no reason for it. Andrew Zimmern doesn't need any excuse to open any kind of restaurant he wants, but for whatever reason he felt like he needed to justify opening an Asian-fusion restaurant by denigrating poor immigrant families who are just trying to get by.

I don't believe Zimmern's comments were made maliciously, he seems like a genuinely decent man, but they were tone-deaf, at best.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:03 PM
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Whether you're putting your all into it or not, living from day to day or not, if you run a Chinese restaurant and you are selling onion rings, I suspect that you would fairly agree that as far as authenticity goes, your place is horseshit.
I would absolutely not say that. The Chinese food may very well be "authentic" and the place just serves other food to cater to other tastes. This is fairly common in my experience. I would never make a judgment based on on ethnic authenticity because the menu included hamburgers, onion rings, and chicken strips on the menu. One of my good friends ran a critically acclaimed Yucatecan restaurant here in the Chicago area and had to add some American foods and also other styles of Mexican food to the menu to appease other tastes. There was nothing at all inauthentic about his Yucatecan menu.

But this "authenticity" talk is a little bit of horseshit in and of itself. I mean, yes, I do like exploring food as it is presented in the native country (so what one may call "authentic") but it's not the most important thing and, if we always stuck to "authenticity" we'd never have cuisines evolve.

I actually came across this video (starts at 3:27) a few days ago with a young Chinese restaurant proprietor (from Xi'an Famous Foods in NYC) seques into talking about "authenticity" that I found very interesting. And, yes, he talks about serving French fries and chicken wings, too.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-31-2018 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:53 AM
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...[/B] There's a reason Chinese takeout joints also sell wings, onion rings, sandwiches and subs, and I promise you it ain't because the proprietors' dream is to one day open a delicatessen. They're in the restaurant game to earn a living any way they can, and the fact that Andrew Zimmern is going to talk shit about what they do, even if he is 100% correct, is massively insulting.
I agree with your sentiments but just want to mention that of the many Asian restaurants I have been in I have never seen sandwiches, subs or onion rings. Wings are another story, they are a part of many Asian cuisines just like chicken feet.

Dennis
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:33 PM
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I agree with your sentiments but just want to mention that of the many Asian restaurants I have been in I have never seen sandwiches, subs or onion rings. Wings are another story, they are a part of many Asian cuisines just like chicken feet.

Dennis
Vietnam is in Asia. You're obviously not from the OC.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:35 PM
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Vietnam is in Asia. You're obviously not from the OC.
Not only that, but perhaps the best submarine-style sandwiches in the bahn mi!
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:20 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"?

Dennis
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:28 PM
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But what is "OC"?
Orange County, California. Home to one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:14 PM
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I agree with your sentiments but just want to mention that of the many Asian restaurants I have been in I have never seen sandwiches, subs or onion rings. Wings are another story, they are a part of many Asian cuisines just like chicken feet.
I've seen Chinese restaurants with a little "American" section: a burger, chicken wings, fries and/or with a kid's section that has your hot dog and chicken nuggets. But it seemed an afterthought. Still, my Midwestern Chinese restaurant experience is largely limited to the two places near me that do delivery and a handful of other locations.

I did once duck into a dumpy little Chinese food joint in a residential part of Washington DC that also had a full on menu board of pizza, calzones, burgers, fried chicken, etc. I got actual (American) Chinese food which wasn't especially good. I think that's less because of the split menu and more because not every dumpy little restaurant is a charming find; often they're just a dump.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
I think that's less because of the split menu and more because not every dumpy little restaurant is a charming find; often they're just a dump.
Most of the Chinese-American places by my house are marginal food-wise. Just gloppy messes of overly cornstarch-thickened sauces with little flavor to them. There are a number of places that do this style very well, with lively flavors and still keeping to the same ingredient list, but I have to drive a few miles down into the city to get to them. And don't even talk to me about the buffets. Just terrible. But it's like any other cuisine here: some restaurants are excellent, most are average, and some are truly terrible. But knocking all of them down as "horseshit" is just a stupid fucking thing to say, and he deserves to be smacked down for it.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-31-2018 at 02:24 PM.
  #34  
Old 01-02-2019, 05:29 PM
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I've seen Chinese restaurants with a little "American" section: a burger, chicken wings, fries and/or with a kid's section that has your hot dog and chicken nuggets. But it seemed an afterthought. Still, my Midwestern Chinese restaurant experience is largely limited to the two places near me that do delivery and a handful of other locations.
We have an Uighur place near us (fantastic) that has a second menu of traditional Chinese food for the faint of heart. So it depends on the clientele.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:15 AM
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My brother spent a little over a year living in China. According to him, what we think of as "Chinese Restaurants" are not what exist in China as "Restaurants".
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:46 AM
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My brother spent a little over a year living in China. According to him, what we think of as "Chinese Restaurants" are not what exist in China as "Restaurants".
I lived there two years and this is only somewhat correct.

China is obviously as diverse as any nation in the world and their food is:

1. Insanely diverse. Like, many hundreds of thousands of things. Most of which we do not have here. Many oils used in cooking and methods are just not done or available here.

2. Insanely good if you know what you are looking for. If you make Chinese friends and tell them to get you "the real stuff", you can get some incredible food. It has been 15 years and I still think about my meal at a Hunan restaurant there and also about my meals at Quanjude(Beijing duck fit for royalty).

My comparison of China restaurants to American-Chinese:

1. You share everything there and I love that. Why order separate dishes when you can all share everything?

2. 90% or more of the food has been deemed not appreciated by Americans and is not served here. Much higher, since seafood is an absolute must in China and it is not a major feature of Amerian-Chinese restaurants.

3. There are, however, many things that we have here that you can get there. Sweet and Sour is identical(it made the trip over the ocean for some reason). Many chicken dishes do exist there and here. Most beef things here are pork there, though. I hardly ever had beef in a regular restaurant there.

My wife and I talk about the people there a lot. It would be dishonest of me not to admit that we talk about our favorite restaurants almost more. We went out to eat there often and the food in a "hole in the wall" was incredible.

Zimmern is right that a lot of Chinese restaurants in the US-midwest are bad, but there are some quality ones, too.
  #37  
Old 12-31-2018, 11:30 AM
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2. Insanely good if you know what you are looking for. If you make Chinese friends and tell them to get you "the real stuff", you can get some incredible food. It has been 15 years and I still think about my meal at a Hunan restaurant there and also about my meals at Quanjude(Beijing duck fit for royalty).
The restaurant we used to eat in San Jose had lots of Chinese families eating there and what amounted to two menus. In the front it was English with mostly Cantonese dishes* and in the back it was straight, untranslated, traditional Chinese. When we were feeling adventuresome we'd tell the waitress/daughter, "Bring us something good not more than $10." (this was a long time ago)

We'd not ask what it was until we'd eaten it and, while some we did not care for, I can't say we got anything really disgusting/bad. They still might have catering somewhat to our round-eye palates but at least it wasn't egg fu yung for the umpteenth time.

*This was unusual because SJ mainly had Hunan restaurants; for Cantonese, go to San Francisco.

Last edited by DesertDog; 12-31-2018 at 11:31 AM.
  #38  
Old 01-02-2019, 10:34 AM
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My brother spent a little over a year living in China. According to him, what we think of as "Chinese Restaurants" are not what exist in China as "Restaurants".
We've hosted students from China several times and taken them to our local Chinese place, and there was little on the menu that they'd have gotten to eat at home. We knew this - but figured they'd enjoy seeing American "Chinese" food. The staff also got a kick out of seeing the students and talking to them (it's a family run place, been around for 30+ years, and many of the staff are natives of China, though I don't know what part).

I also had a meal from a place in a small town in Vermont this past week. It was walking distance from where we were staying, and as we walked past it, I glanced in and wasn't impressed. But someone we talked with the next day recommended it, so we went in - and I think my first impression was spot-on. We got several standard dishes. The hot&sour soup was bad - second worst I've ever had: not hot, not sour, and roughly the consistency of Elmer's Glue (the worst I ever had was near home, and was all of the above + **burnt**). The chicken dish I had was edible if unexciting. The dumplings were probably OK - my daughter devoured them before I could try one. She also wolfed down her lo mein without comment.

But, while we were waiting for our takeout order, a group of people came in, sat down, and ordered - and they were speaking Chinese (I think; I don't speak the language but I thought I caught "shieh-shieh"). They may have been from a nearby youth hostel.

It's quite possible that the place was making dishes the way locals wanted them. Maybe when it's that cold out you WANT soup that literally sticks to your ribs .

Any food evolves when it goes to a new country. I'm reasonably sure that people in Italy eat things other than spaghetti, pizza, and chicken parmegiana, and I'd bet their everyday versions of those don't bear much resemblance to what we get in the US.

Zimmern can get bent. I've been to very few restaurants that had anything remotely "authentic" on the menu - usually these are places that do dim sum (it's how we accidentally tried chicken feet, for example). But you can adapt your dishes to serve the local preferences, and the results can be done well or badly even allowing for local preferences. Most "Chinese" restaurants are perfectly competent at what they do.
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:43 AM
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But you can adapt your dishes to serve the local preferences, and the results can be done well or badly even allowing for local preferences. Most "Chinese" restaurants are perfectly competent at what they do.
Here's the type of menu you'll see at my favorite types of places.

It'll have a mix of some of familiar food to your average take-out Chinese diner (pot stickers, spring rolls, crab rangoon, hot and sour soup, fried rice, orange chicken, sweet & sour pork) and more "exotic" Chinese fare (green peppercorn frog, tofu and pork blood cake, sea cucumber with sour pickle chili, pig ear szechuan style, double cooked spicy pork intestine, etc.) My favorite there is the Szechuan Boiled Beef (shuizhu niurou) and the lamb cumin. Of the odder bits, the sliced beef and maw (stomach) szechuan style is delicious.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-02-2019 at 10:46 AM.
  #40  
Old 01-02-2019, 11:16 AM
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My god, that is the largest menu I have ever seen at any type of restaurant, it's like 500 items.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:24 AM
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My god, that is the largest menu I have ever seen at any type of restaurant, it's like 500 items.
Chinese restaurants, from my experience, are notorious about having everything and anything on the menu. If you click back up to my earlier link, the proprietor of Xi'an Famous Foods in New York talks about this, and how it's a point of pride. ETA: Here's the link at 3:10, so you don't have to dig in the thread. (Plus this link is cued up a little earlier to where my last link was cued.)

(And I'm not sure Lao Sze Chuan has anywhere near 500 items--but it's surely over a hundred.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-02-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:24 AM
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OK, so Chinese restaurants that sell onion rings aren't "authentic".

So what? Why is authenticity a big deal? When I eat out, I don't care if the food is authentic; I care if it's good. And really, the impetus behind most "authentic cuisine" is "How can we make something that's at least barely palatable from these super-cheap ingredients that are all we can afford?". Making "ethnic cuisine" that's too authentic will result in barely-palatable food.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:46 AM
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OK, so Chinese restaurants that sell onion rings aren't "authentic".

So what? Why is authenticity a big deal?
amen to this. unless the restaurant makes a stated claim to authenticity, who gives a crap?

taco bell isn't mexican food, either, but people still seem to like it. it's its own thing, just like "american chinese food" has become it's own thing.
  #44  
Old 12-31-2018, 09:50 AM
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I don't know what the recent region of Chinese are running the restaurants these days...
What does this mean?
  #45  
Old 12-31-2018, 10:53 AM
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A celebrity chef making a disparaging comment on the state of the food industry is just so so wrong! What gives him the right? Think of the poor immigrants making crappy food!

Last edited by CarnalK; 12-31-2018 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:46 PM
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I long for the day when a public figure can voice an opinion without having to apologize for it 24 hours later.





mmm
Yup.
  #47  
Old 12-31-2018, 01:15 PM
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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. (There are some good examples too, and I have had, for example, both good and bad Mexican food in Thailand.)

If you took a bunch of the glop Thais eat and served it in a restaurant in the US, the restaurant would go out of business before the month was out.

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.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:55 PM
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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.
That sounds pretty good, actually.

(Many years back, I was staying at an Israeli hotel that had international-themed dinners. American Food Night featured... some sort of shepherd pie thing).
  #49  
Old 12-31-2018, 01:59 PM
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That sounds pretty good, actually.
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.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-31-2018 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:15 AM
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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.
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