Being second/third-generation Chinese-American (my mother’s Anglo-Chinese, so I tend to feel more third-generation than second), I’ve had authentic Chinese food since I was a wee babe, cooked by my two Shanghai-born grandmothers. Wonderful stuff that I took for granted. Red-cooked pork with moist Chinese turnips, braised bok choy with black mushrooms, steamed whole fish with a ginger-soy dressing, pork meatballs wrapped in noodle gluten, Shanghai sweet and sour pork in a balanced vinegar-honey sauce that bears no resemblance to the gloppy red stuff you find in restaurants… My mouth waters just thinking about it. Now that I’m in college, I’ve tried my best to replicate those dishes, but my grandmothers never wrote anything down, and so I’ve more or less lost all their secret culinary knowledge.
Those of you who said that the “authentic” Chinese food you’ve had was bland- then you’re just eating at the wrong places! But again, I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (CA), where you can probably get some of the best Chinese food in the United States, better than most Chinatowns, so I was really spoiled.