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Ethnic foods you're supposed to like (but hate) - Page 19

post #271 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VKK3450 View Post
I'm hardly one to downplay high achievement and pedigree, and I've made that clear on this board. You are barking up the wrong tree there.

I also don't deny / begrudge popular chefs their success. Not sure where you picked that up from.

K

If that wasn't your intention then I apologize.
post #272 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Snob View Post
Uh, no I never said that. I was referring specifically to my old thought that Chinese food was just stuff thrown together which was debunked a) when I visited China, and b) when I got down to cooking it myself with aid from the step-father and realizing that everything needed to be diced just so. It was specifically in response to a remark about knife skills being non existent.

That was just one note among many that I made wrt to SField's post.



Also, SField, I have no problem with people not liking something when it's simply a matter of personal preferences based in reality. I don't like the taste of dill and and I don't like snow peas. If someone lambasted me for being some kind of idiot for these personal preferences, well, I mean it'd be pretty silly.

My entire point in all the posts was re: your statement that 99% of Chinese food is slop in oil with no regard paid to ingredients and technique and the other 1% that is tolerable was prepared by French-trained chefs--well that is just a) a totally insular, condescending statement, and b) patently false. I mean I can't argue for it if you're talking about Chinese food cooked in North America (and in all my posts I made note of my distaste of North American Chinese food), but Chinese food in China is another matter as exemplified by that sampling of photos from all ends of the spectrum.

And then to further patronize me and assume I am some kind of ignorant fool with a horrible palate? Yeah, sorry, not going to stand for it.

Anyway, your last post was much better explained... and further if your top restaurant choices are those extremely high end, and as another poster remarked 'church of food' places listed, then yeah, I can see where 99% of Chinese food you've had would disappoint. That is just not the style of Chinese cooking as it has evolved though I'm sure as everything moves to that haute end of the spectrum, we will see such places pop up in Asia. Still, I contend your original statement as being totally disingenuous.

I don't necessarily mean that the 1% I think is good is done by trained chefs (or French training in particular). I exagerate obviously, but in general I don't like the concept of most Chinese food and as you say some things are less appealing to your taste, so are many things in Chinese food. Again, I eat something Chinese at least a few times a month. As a regular meal I don't have too much of a problem with it as long as the oil and salt are kept in check. Bonus points for a flavor that doesn't come from chilis. I should have said that I don't compare it favorably just like a great tailor who works at A&S or Attolini might not be terribly enchanted by the typical Vietnamese or HK style tailor. Both are marvelous for what they do but different people have different priorities.

Keep in mind that the whole culinary world is obsessed with Asian flavors, many of them Chinese. Iggy's, Tetsuya, Jean Jorges etc... are all fantastic places which I feel pay great respect to old eastern tradition while looking forward and amalgamating old concepts to match modern sensibilities. This interests me a lot, so I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Like I said before, I probably just haven't had the right food yet, and just as I cannot bring myself to rule out the existence of a god, I do not rule out the existence of a rustic mexican or chinese meal that will really blow me away.
post #273 of 287
SField, I would recommend a place that may be of interest to you and all the foodies in this thread. There is a restaurant in Beijing called "Fang Shan" (here is the link but the website is in Chinese), literally FangShan means "replicating/imitating the cooking of Emporor's kitchen". The restaurant is not very well known to westerners or even the locals in Beijing. It's situated in a park called BeiHai (North Sea), the park itself is located behind the Forbidden city (palace) and used to be the Emprors's garden. The restaurant was opened in 1925, the last and only time I went there was about 10 years ago. I ordered a set menu which costed 250 RMB (it was a lot of money back then, even for today's standard). Because the food is supposed to be prepared for the Emporors, its not very oily. Have a look at some of their dishes here. I am certainly no expert in Chinese culinary but Chinese cooking places great emphasis on cooking techniques such as knife work, temperature control, presentation, taste, smell etc. I suppose in a way its not very different from western food. However the concept of fine dining in Chinese culture is nothing like that of the western culture. Especially when it comes to peasant foods. Emporor's food, traditionally, is considered to be of the highest standard. So if you ever get the opportunity to try it out, I hope it satifies you. IMO in order to really appreciate Chinese food, one needs to be able to appreciate Chinese culture and its philosophies first. I think to some degree this is limiting your experience with Chinese food. regards, Song
post #274 of 287
post #275 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatlas View Post

wow, how much does that go for at sotheby's?
post #276 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
I have found most Mexican food to be horrifically bland. I don't understand the appeal. Every single time a Mexican person or someone tells me what to eat, I'm always dissapointed by the lack of interest and the gross heaviness of it. The only good Mexican food I've had is actually in Mexico where I ate what was actually very meditaranean in style, and even then, italians prepare fish and light fare far better. Still, most of the food in Mexico is bad. Most of it looks like it was made for a dog.
There are a bunch of different regional approaches to food in Mexico. I find most of them delicious, particularily southern Mexican food. The ersatz version made by non-Mexicans that you find all over America is foul, but it's not Mexican food. Italian food suffers similarly in translation. Using cream to make carbonara sauce should be a capital crime.
post #277 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthesupermarket View Post
There are a bunch of different regional approaches to food in Mexico. I find most of them delicious, particularily southern Mexican food. The ersatz version made by non-Mexicans that you find all over America is foul, but it's not Mexican food.

Italian food suffers similarly in translation. Using cream to make carbonara sauce should be a capital crime.


I don't know where you live, but I am pretty sure 90% of ALL food prepared in american restaurants (McDs or Trotters) is made by mexicans or at least hispanics (guatemalans, etc)...
post #278 of 287
I'm a reasonably frequent visitor to the US but I don't live there. If that's the case then I think it's safe to say that a lot of Mexican immigrants to the USA don't have particularly warm feelings for you guys. It might be a good idea to sort out that amnesty for illegals. Or maybe they are just Mexicans who don't know how to cook?
post #279 of 287
to each his own.
post #280 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthesupermarket View Post
I'm a reasonably frequent visitor to the US but I don't live there.

If that's the case then I think it's safe to say that a lot of Mexican immigrants to the USA don't have particularly warm feelings for you guys. It might be a good idea to sort out that amnesty for illegals.

Or maybe they are just Mexicans who don't know how to cook?

no offense but you are kind of babbling about things you don't really understand at this point
post #281 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthesupermarket View Post
There are a bunch of different regional approaches to food in Mexico. I find most of them delicious, particularily southern Mexican food. The ersatz version made by non-Mexicans that you find all over America is foul, but it's not Mexican food.

Italian food suffers similarly in translation. Using cream to make carbonara sauce should be a capital crime.

I'd go further than that and state that most italian food on this continent is an absolute crime. But, like shitty gringo mexican food, it isn't what I'm interested in.
post #282 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
I don't know where you live, but I am pretty sure 90% of ALL food prepared in american restaurants (McDs or Trotters) is made by mexicans or at least hispanics (guatemalans, etc)...

Yea, the amount of mexicans in kitchens (not as much in the high end places, but they're still there) is staggering.

They work incredibly hard, they hone their craft, they don't give up, and they'll do it for less.
post #283 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
no offense but you are kind of babbling about things you don't really understand at this point

If you were annoyed by my lame joke about the relationship between the bad food and the immigration
situation, fair enough. It was a throwaway remark , nothing more.

Nonetheless, I have eaten Mexican food in a bunch of different states in the US and have rarely had a better than mediocre experience. I have eaten a bunch of Mexican food in different Mexican states and have rarely had a less than pleasant one. I don't know what explains the fairly consistent difference. Do you?
post #284 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthesupermarket View Post
If you were annoyed by my lame joke about the relationship between the bad food and the immigration
situation, fair enough. It was a throwaway remark , nothing more.

Nonetheless, I have eaten Mexican food in a bunch of different states in the US and have rarely had a better than mediocre experience. I have eaten a bunch of Mexican food in different Mexican states and have rarely had a less than pleasant one. I don't know what explains the fairly consistent difference. Do you?

There are plenty of metro areas in the US that have amazing mexican food. Every large US city has at least a few great mexican places, and some areas are more fortunate than others. I've been all over mexico in the last 10+ years, and I don't think that mexican mexican food is that much better. Sure you find some things you like here and there, but overall nothing I lost sleep about. And I've tried all kinds of regional mexican, upscale mexican, etc.

Seriously, by where I live there are at least 10 great mexican restaurants that span the range from a cheap greasy joint that serves the real stuff to a bunch of upscale places that are as good as anything I've found in mexico city. And the regional stuff as well.

P.S. I don't think I've ever had mexican food in the US that wasn't made by a mexican, most likely an illegal one as well.
post #285 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthesupermarket View Post
If you were annoyed by my lame joke about the relationship between the bad food and the immigration
situation, fair enough. It was a throwaway remark , nothing more.

Nonetheless, I have eaten Mexican food in a bunch of different states in the US and have rarely had a better than mediocre experience. I have eaten a bunch of Mexican food in different Mexican states and have rarely had a less than pleasant one. I don't know what explains the fairly consistent difference. Do you?

Something I've noticed from traveling a lot: a particular ethnic cuisine seems to be very similar no matter where I have it. However, it is always a little bit different from "authentic". So, I always taste it and recognize what it is, but it tastes a little bit different in each place that I try it. There are several reasons for this that I can think of right off the top of my head.

Prime example is food that uses a lot of tropical fruit. . . in the northern US, those ingredients just are not available fresh. Thus, they are either omitted, substituted, or canned/frozen/preserved fruit is used instead since fresh is not available. The resulting dish isn't quite right then...doesn't have the same flavor anymore.

Similarly, cooking techniques sometimes have to change. Huge outdoor grills that roast half cows or lambs or whatnot just aren't practical within a major city that has bad weather.

Then, of course, the tastes of the local population sometimes dictate changes if a restaurant hopes to do a lot of business. Some places prefer saltier food, others sweeter, others spicier, etc. I always make it a point to drink a coke in every country I visit. Each time, the coke tastes slightly different. Sometimes thinner, sometimes fizzier, sometimes sweeter, etc. Coke in the US is usually thick, syrupy and not very good.
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