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East asian home cooking vs restaurant style

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by SField, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Not sure if I understand foo's statement that the better Asian restaurants are in the suburbs, maybe I just don't believe that - logic would say that if you want better examples of these foods, you go to the ethnic enclaves where the restaurants are more free to serve their cuisines without having to add apologetic menu items like tiramisu and sweet and sour for takeout. If anything, you'd think they're doing that in the suburban strip malls.
    In areas where there aren't enough of an ethnicity to make a significant ethnic community, (think Kansas City, or Alabama, Indiana, something like that) they just put their restaurants anywhere (often the suburbs, since it's cheap everywhere) and serve, say, Korean food to Koreans or Vietnamese food to Vietnamese customers, but operate by making their money on fried rice and crab rangoon, maybe even having 'China' or 'Chinese' 'Garden' 'Palace' or 'Jade' in their name, lol. That's what I think of when I envision Asian restaurants in suburbs.
     


  2. curzon

    curzon Senior member

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    I think I'm married to your mother. Chul-soo, is that you?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012


  3. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Seems to me that you just ended up with average Korean girl Soojin, who never gave a fuck about cooking because she spent the first 22 years of her life studying books day and night while trying to protect her chastity.
     


  4. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Used to get pho about 3-4 times a week in college - it was cheap ($4.65/bowl) and at the time, I could go in there and eat pho, get an iced coffee for like $1.75, and then read their newspapers and smoke for a couple hours and not have to pay the parking meter out front, their business was sporadic so I could stay as long as I wanted to.
    I did that for the 3 or 4 years I was at college in that town. I still go back when I have the chance, just to eat their pho - I've now had it almost back to back with Orange County/Little Saigon pho, and it's naturally not as good, but I'd still say it's around an A- for me, it's really good considering where it's at.

    For years, I'd just sit there eating my noodles alone in this shop, whether it was mid-day or evening, and they had two customer constituencies - the Asian int'l students all coming in for pho or bun thit nuong, hieu tieu - and then the rest of the people were just call-in orders who came to pick up shrimp fried rice and two crab rangoons, and a pepsi. Almost without fail. They had a bunch of Chinese stir-fried dishes on their menu (and they were kinda gross since they slathered hoisin on everything, they had no 'white sauce' - it was just hoisin everything) - but people hardly even ordered those, it was just shrimp fried rice, without fail.

    I think if I ever go poor and need to make a living, I will just open a Chinese restaurant in some working-class American neighborhood, have a bunch of menu items, but pretty much only stock inventory for shrimp fried rice and crab rangoon. It would make a livable amount of money.
     


  5. erictheobscure

    erictheobscure Senior member

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    Yes it's me!!!!

    Can you Western Union me some money?
     


  6. JunyaYamamoto

    JunyaYamamoto Senior member

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    my grandmother had a chinese-american restaurant, and the popular take-out items were shrimp fried rice, egg rolls, crab ragoon, and chicken wings. always with extra soy sauce.

    my buddies and i always wanted to open a pho restaurant called pho 20 (get it? 420?). it's be a hip place for cheap eats and we'd make a killing on the turnover. now someone on this board is going to take our idea...
     


  7. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    what the hell is a crab rangoon??
     


  8. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    did they revolve their community around that street because its named "harvard"?
     


  9. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    That's the suburbs where the middle class/upper middle class Asians live... In LA, if you're Chinese/Taiwanese (even Vietnamese in some pockets) that's the San Gabriel Valley. In the Bay, it'd probably be around the South Bay... like Cupertino or something.



    Usually this, though K-Town in LA as eric below details is definitely different in this regard. The young and the old, the seemingly rich and the poor Koreans can be found eating, buying groceries, hitting bars etc... in Koreatown.

     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012


  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I want to start a pho restaurant too. The beef bones in Japan are always fresh and are given away free, noodles are available, they sell pristine bean sprouts in industrial size bags for ramen shops, and the beef can be cheap. I think a bowl might end up costing 50 cents to make, but in Japan I can sell it for $12 a bowl, so we're nearing like 97% margin, lol.
     


  11. JunyaYamamoto

    JunyaYamamoto Senior member

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    wow thats so expensive for a bowl of pho, but that's probably cheap in japan. lots of profit there! the overhead though, is probably very high. i tried making pho one time but it didnt taste like anything in the restaurant. some things are just better left to the experts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012


  12. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I've been working on a recipe. Probably needs about 3 or 30 more tries. I agree, when you make it at home and try to follow some sort of recipe you randomly pick online, it will never taste like a restaurant bowl of pho. People just get too excited about sharing their E for effort attempts at recipes.
     


  13. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    One of the things I've noticed about Japanese home cooking vs restaurant style, in Japan - homestyle cooking is often pretty fucking unhealthy compared to good restaurant food, actually, especially in modern times with the advent of convenience and shortcut products.
    Part of it, I want to say that because kitchens are so small and limited in equipment and size here, that it's hard to cook anything elaborate. Single-pan dishes are favored, and a lot of stoves only ever have 3 burners and a little broiler for a fish underneath. No range/oven combos here unless you're living fancy, and more likely they're still separate units. The ranges with 3 burners only fit like 3 tiny saucepans, too, or one big skillet and one small pan. Not much room to maneuver. My range only has 2 burners, no broiler, no oven. It fits one normal sized pot/skillet and a tiny egg frying pan, or two small things.

    Also, there's just not a lot of variance or repertoire in Japanese cooking really, especially stuff people might want to try at home. You have your grilled fishes, you have nabe hotpots, there's nikujyaga, there's the perennial curry rice, there's hamburg steaks, maybe beef stew or pork stew in cream sauce, omurices, the various meat/fish cutlets, there's chinese stir-fried dishes, and Japanese-style stir-fried dishes, there's the rolled tamagoyaki omelettes, oden, etc - but most of these things are inevitably fried or not great food to begin with. A lot of them have convenience food starters and stuff too, Japanese people tend to be pretty thrifty about their at-home food costs, because going out is expensive.
    I have this supermarket close to my house, and they sell pretty normal dry goods, plus nice produce and then amazing meat (owner is a trained butcher) - so there's A5 beef in tons of cuts and nothing else, Iberico pork, Bresse chicken or jidori chicken. Still, the rest of the food sold would pretty much only allow one to make the above dishes, not much else. There's a really controlled repertoire and if there's ever cookbooks or TV cooking shows, they're always railing on the same dish all the time. New stuff, I've never really seen.

    Go out for good Japanese food though, you get a lot of stuff that isn't necessarily fried or stir-fried. It might be broiled over charcoal, boiled, steamed, but the feel is often light.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012


  14. erictheobscure

    erictheobscure Senior member

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    Most of your profits will still come from selling Cristal.
     


  15. JunyaYamamoto

    JunyaYamamoto Senior member

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    i love japanese food but i never realized how much sugar is in the food until i tried to make several japanese dishes. same thing with cantonese food, very sweet, especially the dim sum. but i must admit, it does taste good. yesterday i made about a gallon of soba sauce, which required making dashi stock. it was a really fun experience and the broth came out very tasty with lots of umami flavor. i added a little California sake (ozeki premium) and it was just right.

    my best friend in junior high was japanese, and his home cooking was very similar to restaurant quality. well, his parents owned a restaurant in manhattan so maybe that was to be expected. but we would switch our home made lunches at school, and he with enjoy my sandwich, and I would eat his sushi/bento style food. His mother never knew I was the recipient of her delicious meals. the Japanese are very good at packaging food in appetizing ways.
     


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