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Ethnic foods you're supposed to like (but hate) - Page 15

post #211 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
No they don't but we got caviar from them, and of course Russian service. That's by far their biggest contribution to how we in the west eat in restaurants.

Actually, I totally forgot about the service. It was impeccable at this particular restaurant. The service itself was quite formal, and the waiters had the timing perfect, and never let your wine glass or water glass get empty. They had an accordion player taking requests. There was this really cool older english guy that kept cracking jokes and he was keeping the accordion player busy. It was a good night.

On that note, ambiance and good clientele can do so much for a restaurant. You'll never see me in those overly trendy restaurants filled with douchebags. They totally ruin the experience.
post #212 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Actually, I totally forgot about the service. It was impeccable at this particular restaurant. The service itself was quite formal, and the waiters had the timing perfect, and never let your wine glass or water glass get empty. They had an accordion player taking requests. It was actually a great evening. There was this really cool older english guy that kept cracking jokes and he was keeping the accordion player busy. It was a good night.

On that note, ambiance and good clientele can do so much for a restaurant. You'll never see me in those overly trendy restaurants filled with douchebags. They totally ruin the experience.

Well I don't know if Russians invented attentive service but they are credited with the idea of bringing courses out as needed, rather than the older French concept of presenting the entire meal all at once for dramatic effect.
post #213 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Snob View Post


(Things to note in the image: that pile of chili peppers is Szechuan style cooking; notice the little tiny scorpions among the chilis--they were excellent;


They make this dish with chicken as well. The pinyan is "La Zi Ji Ding". RIDICULOUS meal. By far my favorite food of everything I've ever had. The ginger, the star anise, the szechuan peppercorns, the dry chilis, they all come together like nothing else.

I agree - if I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be Chinese.
post #214 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by HitMan009 View Post
By the way, the really one true refined chinese cuisine and distinctive is cantonese. Other style of chinese cuisine while has their bright points, but are really all basically spicy and oily(Not totally true but a good generalization). I hope others chinese members of this forum can help elaborate more.

Major disagree, what do you think of Shanghainess? They have a much understated but brilliant taste with not so showy cookmanship than Cantoness (at least the way it was mean to be).

How about thing in Beijing, or what you call "官菜", Cantoness has its greatness, but to say Cantoness is above all Chinese is certainly not right.

Also, I would aruge the original Taiwanese food would be just as light if not lighter in Cantoness (in a different way, certainly not oily). Each chinese cuisine has its own meaning due to its historical reasons. For example Taiwanese food was never meant for a banquet, but it has its own charm, same goes with many Chinese cuisine. I would say you really should step out and try a lot more things.
post #215 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
Well I don't know if Russians invented attentive service but they are credited with the idea of bringing courses out as needed, rather than the older French concept of presenting the entire meal all at once for dramatic effect.

Didn't know that, interesting? I thought the contiental europe always bring out dish needed, didn't know there is an inventor for this.
post #216 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
If you were capable of reading, you'd have caught that I conceeded that well prepared Chinese food is excellent (which goes for virtually everything. Good produce+good technique will always = good food - too bad that 99% of the time, Chinese food = shitty produce + shitty or no technique). Look at the photos you presented. Look at the fucking plating in a few of the dishes. Look at the knife skills. If you can seriously tell someone that that is the average level of Chinese food one will get throughout China or on the North American continent then I will be utterly gobsmacked. As I said before, I had good food in Shanghai and HK, but these were Chinese flavours prepared with classic French technique. I'll bet that the flavors were well balanced and the produce was fresh. Not qualities one will generally find in Chinese food, and this is acknowledged by most Chinese people I know.
You call it "classic french technique" and I totally disagree with that. French? What, just because it is plated attractively?? All those photos, as I wrote in my post, ARE SHOWING chinese technique.The steamed fish, the chili peppers with the scorpions clearly cooked on very high & dry heat in a wok, the preparation of the chicken in that first image and even how it is plated: ALL CLASSICALLY CHINESE. Just because the setting is clean doesn't make it some spectacular level of Chinese food. In fact, all the food I ate was in very middle class establishments. This wasn't the 99th percentile; I wasn't dining at 5* Michelin restos in Hong Kong with chefs trained in France. A lot of these were taken at very ho hum run of the mill restaurants all over (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Kuming, etc.). The food was always fresh with great ingredients and all paid very close attention to flavour AND technique BOTH--not some slop covered in oil and some sweet and sour bastardized sauce a la Panda Express and much of the Chinese food in North America. It is true the vast majority of the Chinese are lower class, peasant farmers, but even there the cuisine had its upside. I mean when I was trekking in western China I was literally eating in farmers' homes, which was an experience for sure. Even then, I had some AMAZING food--like one night was a whole roasted mountain goat which was just phenomenal. They did use a lot of oil for the veggies which I was told was because oil, traditionally scarce and expensive, is used generously to show respect. I could have done without as much oil. Ah well. On the flip side, the meats and veggies I ate were true "cage-free chickens" and "farm fresh veggies" and whatever haha.
post #217 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
Look at the photos you presented. Look at the fucking plating in a few of the dishes. Look at the knife skills.
Oh, I also wanted to address your "knife skills" remark. I actually used to think Chinese cooking was kind of sloppy myself having grown up eating chow mien and whatever here in states. I had really not that much appreciation for it until I spent a good amount of time in China eating (boy did I eat). Then when I came back I tried to recreate some of the simple dishes I ate abroad (and even sometimes see on menus here). Since my step-father is Chinese and quite a home cook, I got some lessons from him and boy did I fucking fail. Even things like "kung pao chicken" which I've always thought was pretty simplistic was fucking HARD! Cutting the chicken into those little square cubes--and really, in Chinese cooking pretty much EVERYTHING is cut delicately into small pieces--requires knife skills. If anything, it's American cooking with the big steaks and slabs of meat thrown into the oven or barbeque that don't require knife skills. Anyway, I just thought your post was totally ignorant. Yeah ok got it; you've had a lot of chinese food before and been unimpressed. Still, I was just shocked at your totally insular statements that were, in my hefty amount of experience, totally unfounded. And like I said before, those photos weren't from some 99th percentile restaurant. Definitely 50th percentile for restaurants in Chinese cities.
post #218 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundrafour View Post
I love trying new and unusual foods but have always thought I'd draw the line at bugs. If someone put that in front of me, though, I would eat it; it looks fantastic.

I had a lot of bugs while there. Apparently Yunnan province is known for their bug-eating ways so I did as the locals do and had some silk worms and bees... and a dessert covered in ants. It was all actually pretty good! I'd probably never have a craving for any of these items, but certainly wouldn't snub my nose at them.

Those szechuan scorpions were definitely excellent.

In general, bugs just have a great, crunchy texture. Just try to keep your mind off the fact that you're eating the creepy crawlies.
post #219 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Snob View Post
Oh, I also wanted to address your "knife skills" remark. I actually used to think Chinese cooking was kind of sloppy myself having grown up eating chow mien and whatever here in states. I had really not that much appreciation for it until I spent a good amount of time in China eating (boy did I eat).

Then when I came back I tried to recreate some of the simple dishes I ate abroad (and even sometimes see on menus here). Since my step-father is Chinese and quite a home cook, I got some lessons from him and boy did I fucking fail.

Even things like "kung pao chicken" which I've always thought was pretty simplistic was fucking HARD! Cutting the chicken into those little square cubes--and really, in Chinese cooking pretty much EVERYTHING is cut delicately into small pieces--requires knife skills. If anything, it's American cooking with the big steaks and slabs of meat thrown into the oven or barbeque that don't require knife skills.

Anyway, I just thought your post was totally ignorant. Yeah ok got it; you've had a lot of chinese food before and been unimpressed. Still, I was just shocked at your totally insular statements that were, in my hefty amount of experience, totally unfounded.

And like I said before, those photos weren't from some 99th percentile restaurant. Definitely 50th percentile for restaurants in Chinese cities.

I was just guessing, seeing as the only palatable chinese food I've had were by cooks with good training. And sorry, but that looks a hell of a lot better than almost anything I've ever seen, in most of China and in every major chinatown in the US and Canada. I don't really think you know what the reality of Chinese food is.

As for knife skills required in Chinese cooking; I've almost never seen anything worthy of praise. Japanese sushi chefs in general will have a far higher level of technique. Chinese food requires very little skill at all, since most of it is a pile of stir fried or boiled mess. If you couldn't replicate what you saw there then it's more of a comment on your inexperience with a knife than anything else (and I'm not saying that's a fault).

Regardless, I think we can agree to disagree. You love Chinese food - lovely. I don't, whatever.
post #220 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clee1982 View Post
Didn't know that, interesting? I thought the contiental europe always bring out dish needed, didn't know there is an inventor for this.

No, old French service meant bringing out everything at once (up to 30 or more courses). In the middle of the 19th century, the French and then the rest of Europe adopted Russian service (and the Russians had been doing it since the begining of the century).
post #221 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
I was just guessing, seeing as the only palatable chinese food I've had were by cooks with good training. And sorry, but that looks a hell of a lot better than almost anything I've ever seen, in most of China and in every major chinatown in the US and Canada. I don't really think you know what the reality of Chinese food is. As for knife skills required in Chinese cooking; I've almost never seen anything worthy of praise. Japanese sushi chefs in general will have a far higher level of technique. Chinese food requires very little skill at all, since most of it is a pile of stir fried or boiled mess. If you couldn't replicate what you saw there then it's more of a comment on your inexperience with a knife than anything else (and I'm not saying that's a fault). Regardless, I think we can agree to disagree. You love Chinese food - lovely. I don't, whatever.
No I think it's more accurate that you don't know what the reality of Chinese food is. Having actually had food from a peasant farmer's kitchen and in those various restaurants all over China in those various cities and all over the place from street vendors and Chinese fast food establishments (I think I included a nice array of mid-high and low in my photos), I am pretty comfortable I know what the reality of Chinese food is. Regardless, you are correct. I won't be able to convince you of anything. Just noting that your statements are totally absurd. "Whatever".
post #222 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Snob View Post
No I think it's more accurate that you don't know what the reality of Chinese food is. Having actually had food from a peasant farmer's kitchen and in those various restaurants all over China in those various cities and all over the place from street vendors and Chinese fast food establishments (I think I included a nice array of mid-high and low in my photos), I am pretty comfortable I know what the reality of Chinese food is.

Regardless, you are correct. I won't be able to convince you of anything. Just noting that your statements are totally absurd. "Whatever".

No, I just don't think you have a terribly good palate nor any kind of good basis for comparison. Just like I said with Matador (mexico), I've been to many places in China, several of them places you'd never have access to since I went with chefs. Cooking has been my livelihood and probably my primary area of expertise, and many of travel far more extensively in search of good food than someone like you ever would. My opinions are not born of ignorance, but rather of distaste for this type of food. I think that someone who has lived in america and eaten trashy food would think that Chinese food is special, but if you've actually made food your life and understand it on a higher level than the average person, then you may not think so. I certainly have a huge appreciation for Asian flavors, and there isn't a chef worth a shit on this planet who doesn't think a lot about east asia in his or her cooking.

I'm happy for you that you like the food you ate on farms in provincial China. I have, and none of it struck me as particularly good, especially next to the food I found in the meditarranean regions and even the kind of things farmers would eat in Patagonia. In fact, these experiences with Chinese farmers disgusted me. Not as people themselves, but as far as their practices. I've also seen many a restaurant in a few provinces, and have been absolutely horrified by what many of the restaurants there do. So again, this isn't a matter of an unfavorable opinion rendered by a lack of exposure.
post #223 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
No, I just don't think you have a terribly good palate nor any kind of good basis for comparison. Just like I said with Matador (mexico), I've been to many places in China, several of them places you'd never have access to since I went with chefs. Cooking has been my livelihood and probably my primary area of expertise, and many of travel far more extensively in search of good food than someone like you ever would. My opinions are not born of ignorance, but rather of distaste for this type of food. I think that someone who has lived in america and eaten trashy food would think that Chinese food is special, but if you've actually made food your life and understand it on a higher level than the average person, then you may not think so. I certainly have a huge appreciation for Asian flavors, and there isn't a chef worth a shit on this planet who doesn't think a lot about east asia in his or her cooking. I'm happy for you that you like the food you ate on farms in provincial China. I have, and none of it struck me as particularly good, especially next to the food I found in the meditarranean regions and even the kind of things farmers would eat in Patagonia. In fact, these experiences with Chinese farmers disgusted me. Not as people themselves, but as far as their practices. I've also seen many a restaurant in a few provinces, and have been absolutely horrified by what many of the restaurants there do. So again, this isn't a matter of an unfavorable opinion rendered by a lack of exposure.
What, because I like Chinese food and don't have knife skills you assume I'm some kind of ignorant American who has no palate? Sorry buddy, you're not alone in your touring of the world for the sake of food. Even though I'm not a chef, as I've made plain by my admittance to not having any knife skills in the kitchen (although I do make a killer rack of lamb and apple pie), I am a huge foodie. Everywhere I've been--this includes the Mediterranean, Patagonia, all over Asia, etc.--I make it a point to experience its food culture. This includes eating at a street level and as many of the top-rated American restaurants I can afford. Considering how much diversity there is in Chinese cuisine with a lot of it being very similar to other foods you claim to like (Korean, Japanese, SEAsian, etc), I am just astounded that you call summarize Chinese cooking with "slop". And seriously, if you are in the food industry and visited all these restaurants, I am amazed that you consider those photos I took to be somehow out of the ordinary. Makes me doubt your story all together actually.
post #224 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Snob View Post
What, because I like Chinese food and don't have knife skills you assume I'm some kind of ignorant American who has no palate? Sorry buddy, you're not alone in your touring of the world for the sake of food. Even though I'm not a chef, as I've made plain by my admittance to not having any knife skills in the kitchen (although I do make a killer rack of lamb and apple pie), I am a huge foodie. Everywhere I've been--this includes the Mediterranean, Patagonia, all over Asia, etc.--I make it a point to experience its food culture. This includes eating at a street level and as many of the top-rated American restaurants I can afford.

Considering how much diversity there is in Chinese cuisine with a lot of it being very similar to other foods you claim to like (Korean, Japanese, SEAsian, etc), I am just astounded that you call summarize Chinese cooking with "slop".

And seriously, if you are in the food industry and visited all these restaurants, I am amazed that you consider those photos I took to be somehow out of the ordinary. Makes me doubt your story all together actually.

Yea, anyway. I'm sure you're right up there with Tony Bourdain. Like I said, agree to disagree.
post #225 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
No, I just don't think you have a terribly good palate nor any kind of good basis for comparison. Just like I said with Matador (mexico), I've been to many places in China, several of them places you'd never have access to since I went with chefs. Cooking has been my livelihood and probably my primary area of expertise, and many of travel far more extensively in search of good food than someone like you ever would. My opinions are not born of ignorance, but rather of distaste for this type of food. I think that someone who has lived in america and eaten trashy food would think that Chinese food is special, but if you've actually made food your life and understand it on a higher level than the average person, then you may not think so. I certainly have a huge appreciation for Asian flavors, and there isn't a chef worth a shit on this planet who doesn't think a lot about east asia in his or her cooking.

I'm happy for you that you like the food you ate on farms in provincial China. I have, and none of it struck me as particularly good, especially next to the food I found in the meditarranean regions and even the kind of things farmers would eat in Patagonia. In fact, these experiences with Chinese farmers disgusted me. Not as people themselves, but as far as their practices. I've also seen many a restaurant in a few provinces, and have been absolutely horrified by what many of the restaurants there do. So again, this isn't a matter of an unfavorable opinion rendered by a lack of exposure.

well, you probably haven't tried enough then..., kind remind me of a friend of my who ditch French food based on whatever experience he has. Whatever your description of chinese food is at best limited. Put out a simple example, tell me how does the Southern Chinese food guys (high end ones) prepare a simple dish such as cabbage with tofu in your observation (sure there are tons of ways, so just take the most elaborate ones). I am curious to hear your response.
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