Food & Drink

The trouble with our obsession with ‘authentic’ Chinese food

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 14th, 2019 12:42 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 29, 2008
3094 posts
397 upvotes
thriftshopper wrote:
Feb 5th, 2019 10:08 pm
Seems the person who got the ball rolling had her early career and made the observations that got her started in my neck of the woods. There's now a Yunnan restaurant but not sure how authentic it is (no reason to believe it isn't given the number of what=appear-to-be-mainland customers I saw eating there).

https://www.timescolonist.com/news/loca ... 1.23623246
I like this quote:
The notion of “authentic” versus “fake” food seems odd now. The idea that only certain dishes may be served, or that there is any one proper way to prepare a dish in a country, let alone a region, is absurd, Hui says. She doesn’t say it, but there’s a metaphor in what she found: There’s no such thing as an “authentic” Canadian. Everything evolves. The Canada of today might not look like the Canada of your childhood, but your version didn’t look like your parents’ version, either.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 25, 2009
4083 posts
1196 upvotes
Moncton
There is also the issue of China being significantly richer than it used to be, and so they eat far more meat they they used to. “Traditional” Canadian Chinese food has a lot of egg bassed dishes.
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
Newbie
Jun 23, 2017
68 posts
15 upvotes
North American Chinese food was made up by Cantonese since they made up the majority of the Chinese immigrant population from 1800s-1990s.
What Canadian and American society describe as "Chinese" is actually Cantonese (And maybe Taiwanese in some US cities)
Northern Chinese from mainland China have very different custom and taste for food.
All those dim-sum/seafood restaurants you see in here founded by Cantonese. I never had dim-sum until I came to North America. And the grease Cantonese style lobster in freshman club surely shocked me.
When I had some white neighbours come as guests, we prepared slow-cooked stew beef, beans and potato. All of them are pretty surprised because it looks nothing like Chinese food they know. However it was a very common dish in Northern China.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 28, 2007
5202 posts
1588 upvotes
Alberta
Cheapo-Findo wrote:
Feb 3rd, 2019 1:41 pm
Lot's of made up chinese food in North America where when you go to China they be like WTF?
The only thing Chinese about westernized Chinese food is the guys who make it.
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2016
2426 posts
1450 upvotes
jackrabbit000 wrote:
Feb 12th, 2019 11:25 pm
The only thing Chinese about westernized Chinese food is the guys who make it.
Yeah, Bourbon St. Grill and Caribbean Queen....
Newbie
Jun 23, 2017
68 posts
15 upvotes
jackrabbit000 wrote:
Feb 12th, 2019 11:25 pm
The only thing Chinese about westernized Chinese food is the guys who make it.
Actually, some Chinese restaurant has two sets of menus. One for non-Chinese and one for Chinese customers.
The first time I walked into a Chinese restaurant in San Fransico, I was going to order something like general chicken, then the waiter told me "forget it, that's for Americans, you want to look at the other half of the menu."
It was so hilarious.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
8181 posts
875 upvotes
Montreal, QC
I used to be really all about the whole "authentic" thing, then I realized authentic is a relative term.

For example, fusion food (which the author jokingly references as "the f word") is often disregarded as non-authentic and even a farce in some circles, but lots of cultures' cuisines are at the base some form of fusion. For example, many Asian countries have cross-pollination of certain dishes based on their history of living/occupying other Asian countries so is that fusion or authentic? Then there's stories of immigrants moving to different countries and assimilating their cuisine with the local cuisine which leads to dishes that weren't there originally but now are staples of the cuisine (ex: Al Pastor tacos in Mexico have a root with Lebanese immigrants).

Of course, there's definitely a case of "adapt the food to the place you're selling it in", that's just part of business. We shame ethnic restaurants for doing this, yet a lot of restaurants have success doing this abroad (ex: KFC in India & Japan).

Anyways at the end of the day, if you like something be damned if it's authentic or not.
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2017
1412 posts
503 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
uber_shnitz wrote:
Feb 14th, 2019 8:21 am
For example, fusion food (which the author jokingly references as "the f word") is often disregarded as non-authentic and even a farce in some circles, but lots of cultures' cuisines are at the base some form of fusion. For example, many Asian countries have cross-pollination of certain dishes based on their history of living/occupying other Asian countries so is that fusion or authentic? Then there's stories of immigrants moving to different countries and assimilating their cuisine with the local cuisine which leads to dishes that weren't there originally but now are staples of the cuisine (ex: Al Pastor tacos in Mexico have a root with Lebanese immigrants).
The test is, whether the localised cuisine is actually eaten at home or only served to outsiders.
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD

Top