Originally Posted by The Snob
In the US (and most of North America save a few gems in suburban Vancouver and Toronto), Ive never had Chinese food I've cared to have again and your claims against it are true, but that has definitely not been my experience in Asia.
Anyway you went on to claim this was your experience in China as well which I just think is patently false; granted, I have no idea where you ate but that was no where close to my experience of middle-class restaurant food nor in any way representative of "the reality of Chinese food". Not to mention just how outright offensive you were.
Cheesy as the plating may be, it's what they do. And it certainly isn't slop covered in oil or oversauced with no attention paid to the ingredients. And that steamed fish dish I had in various incarnations pretty at every large meal I ate in China. It's nothing extraordinary in terms of Chinese cuisine.
Right, I'm sorry for having stated my opinions so offensively. I'm glad you agree that Chinese food on this continent is not particularly special. Although I often have fun on this website poking fun and arguing over the internet, I cannot really say that continuing this exchange will do anything for either of us. You are entitled to your opinions, and I to mine. My background and training are predominantly French, so whenever I taste food, I bring that bias and set of gastronomic priorities along with me. I like to think that I can be objective and not let my euro-centric predisposition get in the way of how I evaluate food, but there are just some things that my taste cannot abide. I'm not saying that I am loath to eat Chinese food, or that I don't that as average food for an average day goes, that it is bad. I think the variety in any Chinese provincial diet is still superior to the average American diet (though I've never been an absolute proponent or defender of American food culture).
However, you have to remember that the lense through which I evaluate food might be different from yours. Even though my arrogance inclines me to say that it is superior or better, I know that not everyone cares about high standards in food like I do. For most people, something that is relatively tasty is good enough. Nevertheless, if I am to compare what I've spoken about to what I really think is truly special, then it is likely to fall short.
When I started the thread I thought it would more or less be in jest, and as much as I love food I don't care enough to get in a fight about it unless I'm working a kitchen and my standards aren't being met. Obviously my strong opinions and standards (and again, not superior, just differently oriented), are not agreeable with most people's. So in closing I'll say again that while I don't agree with you, I hope you'll understand that it's very possible that we don't even care about the same things in food, and so us arguing about it is pointless. I should have been more clear about this throughout the thread, that I don't always look for the same things that other people do. This problem is precisely why a lot of my Chinese friends (and a few really great Mexican cooks I know), always have anywhere from harmless fights to almost fatal encounters with their families over their basic native foods. My future father in law, a Russian, has really gotten into it with me about food, because there's just some things we don't see eye to eye on. He thinks of it in a more utilitarian way, but thankfully his mother (who is part french), understands me a little better, so the dynamic on this issue is still pretty uncomplicated.