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

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by SField, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. skunkworks

    skunkworks Senior member

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    If any of you are in the OC, I recommend Taco Rosa for some reasonably priced, sit-down restaurant Mexican food. Agua MF Frescas.
     
  2. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    well I have to differ with SField's opinion on Chinese food. Chinese food is not, in general, "a pile of slop swimming in oil and chilis to account for the lack of ability to season or pay any attention to ingredients." Proper Chinese cooking stresses the importance of using the freshest food available, and there are so many techniques in Chinese cooking, deep frying is just one of them. In particular I am a big fan of steaming fresh seafood the Chinese way. There are so many Chinese cuisines out there, not just Szechuan and Cantonese which are the most popular. All regions have their own cuisine, like how food in the American South might differ than in the Northwest. And only a small portion of them is glazed in sauce or floating in oil.

    true, but acknowledging that does not make for a good thread for white americans to bash ethnic foods they're supposed to like.
     
  3. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    Most regions have something that is unique to them. Look at the different styles of chilli... bagels, BBQ (differs by region), then the seafood culture of New England, New Orleans has incredible food. You also have brisket, Chicago style hot dogs, deep dish, the hamburger...
    let's take the hamburger. what is a hamburger like? i'm talking about a hamburger a poor person would buy, not the $12 burger at a pub. how fresh is the meat? what preservatives are in the bread? how about the mustard and ketchup? made at home or in a factory? (and the fake cheese!) good chili takes a lot of time and good ingredients to make. i doubt you can sell it that cheap as to be eaten by peasants. are peasants in new england eating fresh seafood all the time? if so, you win.
     
  4. SField

    SField Senior member

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    well I have to differ with SField's opinion on Chinese food. Chinese food is not, in general, "a pile of slop swimming in oil and chilis to account for the lack of ability to season or pay any attention to ingredients." Proper Chinese cooking stresses the importance of using the freshest food available, and there are so many techniques in Chinese cooking, deep frying is just one of them. In particular I am a big fan of the Chinese way of steaming fresh seafood. There are so many Chinese cuisines out there, not just Szechuan and Cantonese which are the most popular. All regions have their own cuisine, like how food in the American South might differ than in the Northwest. And only a small portion of them is glazed in sauce or floating in oil.

    I seldom order anything fried. I'm actually refering to most of the things comming out of a wok. Anything like eggplant, mapo tofu bok choi is going to be swimming in oil. I do enjoy steamed dumplings and vegetables but most of the time this is a very generic flavor (steamed veggies).

    Fish dishes and whatever else are usually cooked in a ton of oil as well. You find this literally all over china, and chinese people anywhere in the world will tell you that oily food is extremely common. I have many asian friends and they all admit this, and it's something you observe being in China. Japanese food also tends to be on the salty side, which is a carry over from food preservation, since a lot of the country is mountainous.
     
  5. Macallan9

    Macallan9 Senior member

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    Most regions have something that is unique to them. Look at the different styles of chilli... bagels, BBQ (differs by region), then the seafood culture of New England, New Orleans has incredible food. You also have brisket, Chicago style hot dogs, deep dish, the hamburger...

    Exactly. It's not possible to point out a national brand of peasant food, because America cannot be generalized like that. Some other cultures can, but America is just way too varied.

    What is it that you don't like? The flavors, the style?

    I grew up eating great Indian food so for me it's a staple, but I'm interested to hear what you don't like.


    No, actually I think Indian food is great going down but I've never had one experience that didnt end with complete vaporization of my bowels.

    well I have to differ with SField's opinion on Chinese food. Chinese food is not, in general, "a pile of slop swimming in oil and chilis to account for the lack of ability to season or pay any attention to ingredients." Proper Chinese cooking stresses the importance of using the freshest food available, and there are so many techniques in Chinese cooking, deep frying is just one of them. In particular I am a big fan of the Chinese way of steaming fresh seafood. There are so many Chinese cuisines out there, not just Szechuan and Cantonese which are the most popular. All regions have their own cuisine, like how food in the American South might differ than in the Northwest. And only a small portion of them is glazed in sauce or floating in oil.

    It's easy to see how someone develops this kind of view on Chinese food, though. It seems like 95% of Chinese restaurants serve the standard sauce-slathered low quality meat with rice or noodles. I've traveled a decent bit and the only places I've had good Chinese food in North America are Vancouver BC and maybe Seattle.
     
  6. SField

    SField Senior member

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    let's take the hamburger. what is a hamburger like? i'm talking about a hamburger a poor person would buy, not the $12 burger at a pub. how fresh is the meat? what preservatives are in the bread? how about the mustard and ketchup? made at home or in a factory? (and the fake cheese!)

    good chili takes a lot of time and good ingredients to make. i doubt you can sell it that cheap as to be eaten by peasants. are peasants in new england eating fresh seafood all the time? if so, you win.


    Ehh, have you ever met an actual fisherman? Have you ever actually gone to the fisheries and met these people? I certainly did, once with Eric Ripert. Many small communities in Alaska, New England and Nova Scotia (think Peggy's Cove) have extremely modest families eating something that was swimming or crawling on the ocean floor a few moments prior. Same as you'll have people in Omaha eating pretty decent beef, not to mention all the rural communities in the northern midwest and many parts of PA which benefit from Amish farmers.

    Chili is time intensive. So is a proper tandoori or curry, or coq au vin or anything else. That doesn't mean poor people can't eat something that isn't time intensive. Do you not realize that in fact, many of the most time intensive techniques and recipes are in fact from poorer people? When you have a tough cut of meat and inferior product to deal with, you need more cooking time to get something great. It's a common thread in the food of poor people. We've gotten many of our modern day high end classics from peasant food, so when I say peasant food, it isn't a pejorative term.

    In the south a housewife will get up early in the morning to make a brisket. You aren't proving any points. A lot of the best hamburgers are at places like Louis Lunch or a diner in some truck stop in Indiana. It's one of the best foods anyone has come up with, which is why everyone on Ferran Adria to Morimoto has done something with it.
     
  7. SField

    SField Senior member

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    No, actually I think Indian food is great going down but I've never had one experience that didnt end with complete vaporization of my bowels.




    Yes, that is a problem for a lot of people. I think I've gotten used to it. Things like turmeric, fenugreek and chillis can really upset an unprepared stomach.
     
  8. Macallan9

    Macallan9 Senior member

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    let's take the hamburger. what is a hamburger like? i'm talking about a hamburger a poor person would buy, not the $12 burger at a pub. how fresh is the meat? what preservatives are in the bread? how about the mustard and ketchup? made at home or in a factory? (and the fake cheese!)

    good chili takes a lot of time and good ingredients to make. i doubt you can sell it that cheap as to be eaten by peasants. are peasants in new england eating fresh seafood all the time? if so, you win.


    Do you think it is easier to catch fish/ dig up mussels/ catch crabs, or to raise a cow, kill it, and find a way to preserve all the meat?

    Seafood is VERY cheap if you live near fishing areas. Shit, you can catch it yourself.
     
  9. Macallan9

    Macallan9 Senior member

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    Bah, SField said everything already and better than I could.
     
  10. sjmin209

    sjmin209 Senior member

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    Very spicy food usually occurs in societies where sophistication and good produce were scarce.

    I think this is the most revealing statement you've made.

    It is, of course, false.

    Very spicy food usually occurs in very hot climates where, especially before refrigeration, food-borne bacteria was both more common and more diverse. The antibacterial properties of spices, not a lack of sophistication on the part of these "ethnic" societies, accounts for the prevalence of spice in these cuisines.
     
  11. SField

    SField Senior member

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    I think this is the most revealing statement you've made.

    It is, of course, false.

    Very spicy food usually occurs in very hot climates where, especially before refrigeration, food-borne bacteria was both more common and more diverse. The antibacterial properties of spices, not a lack of sophistication on the part of these "ethnic" societies, accounts for the prevalence of spice in these cuisines.


    Completely disproven by most middle eastern and meditarranean food.
     
  12. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    I seldom order anything fried. I'm actually refering to most of the things comming out of a wok. Anything like eggplant, mapo tofu bok choi is going to be swimming in oil. I do enjoy steamed dumplings and vegetables but most of the time this is a very generic flavor (steamed veggies).

    Fish dishes and whatever else are usually cooked in a ton of oil as well. You find this literally all over china, and chinese people anywhere in the world will tell you that oily food is extremely common. I have many asian friends and they all admit this, and it's something you observe being in China. Japanese food also tends to be on the salty side, which is a carry over from food preservation, since a lot of the country is mountainous.


    I don't know, Field. AFAIK, and from our experience at home oil is used sparingly when you cook in a wok just enough to hasten the cooking process, since for the most part wok cooking is about cooking food at the quickest possible time to seal in the flavor. If you're eating eggplant swimming in oil and mapo tofu (which is also claimed by the Japanese as their dish) then more than likely the food is Szechuan.
     
  13. ulysses

    ulysses New Member

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    I apologize for the deviation, but I would like to hear more about your experience at the fishery with Eric Ripert. Big fan.

    As for American streetfood, BBQ is a huge American street food. I have seen it in Los Angeles, Tallahassee FL, Houston, and NYC. Often just a couple of men with a large BBQ on a trailer. For six bucks or less you can get an Amazing BBQ Sandwich. For 10 bucks or less a large tray of lip smacking ribs.
     
  14. sjmin209

    sjmin209 Senior member

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    Completely disproven by most middle eastern and meditarranean food.

    Or else soundly demonstrated by a scientific study that, curiously, avoids using the word "ethnic" in its 43 page analysis:

    "Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like It Hot," Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 73, No.1, March 1998
     
  15. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I dislike Korean food.

    Lots of things thrown together to make a crude amalgaration. Kimchee is offensive.
     
  16. madaboutshirt

    madaboutshirt Senior member

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    I dislike Korean food.

    Lots of things thrown together to make a crude amalgaration. Kimchee is offensive.


    +10. Korean food is overrated.
     
  17. Macallan9

    Macallan9 Senior member

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    I dislike Korean food.

    Lots of things thrown together to make a crude amalgaration. Kimchee is offensive.


    What about Korean BBQ? It's just meat and rice with some side dishes.
     
  18. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Or else soundly demonstrated by a scientific analysis that, curiously, avoids using the word "ethnic" in its 43 page analysis:

    "Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like It Hot," Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 73, No.1, March 1998


    Why are you so obsessed with that word? When people in America say ethnic food, it's anything that isn't made by white people of euro decent. And sorry, but there's enough evidence of food in hot climates that suggests that not everyone in such circumstances favors flavor comming from almost nothing but heat.
     
  19. SField

    SField Senior member

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    I don't know, Field. AFAIK, and from our experience at home oil is used sparingly when you cook in a wok just enough to hasten the cooking process, since for the most part wok cooking is about cooking food at the quickest possible time to seal in the flavor. If you're eating eggplant swimming in oil and mapo tofu (which is also claimed by the Japanese as their dish) then more than likely the food is Szechuan.

    And as you can see, I cited mainly Szechuan as the culprit.
     
  20. unicornwarrior

    unicornwarrior Senior member

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    I can see where you are coming from with your Mexican food comment, but I think some of the best restaurants I've eaten at were in Mexico City.

    (I've lived in Mexico for a great deal of time, so I have "real" experience)

    Then again I'll throw out that several of my favorite high-end mexican restaurants happen to have a french, italian, or south american theme in terms of what's offered.

    On the more "mexican" side of the menu, I suppose if you enjoy fish there are quite a few places I could recommend. I'm actually one for hole-in-the-wall type restaurants that sell tacos (i know of some extremely excellent ones)


    I think almost all cultures have something delicious to offer. I think it's slightly unfair to hold a culture's food in contempt based on a few experiences at a couple of restaurants. I'm sure someone out there can make something you enjoy in any style of cuisine.
     

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