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Old 04-12-2013, 07:39 PM
 
Location: SGV, CA
819 posts, read 616,236 times
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Default Least Americanized ethnic cuisine?

If you care enough about food to be browsing the Food and Drink forum then you probably already know that much of the ethnic food found in the USA bears only superficial resemblance to the real thing. The most famous examples are of course 'Mexican' and 'Chinese' food. Taco Bell was founded by a white guy and good luck trying to find a fortune cookie in China. Other cuisines have not escaped unscathed either. I've eaten gyros made with sour cream, pad thai made with ketchup, and Indian curry with no spice at all. Of course let's not forget that most 'American' food is really just heavily distorted versions of German and Italian food. Are there any ethnic cuisines in America that are the real deal?

I should stipulate that the presence of authentic restaurants does not necessarily prove a certain cuisine hasn't been Americanized. Authentic Chinese restaurants can be found pretty much anywhere with a visible Chinese population, but 99% of the customers are actual Chinese. What I'm looking for is a cuisine that, even when catering primarily to a non<insert ethnicity> customer base, is still the same as the food in it's country of origin.

Please note I'm not trying to be a food snob here. I don't look down on people who enjoy Americanized food, nor do I automatically equate 'authentic' with 'good.'
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
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I would say much of the Filipino food I've eaten in Hawaii and the West Coast is quite similar to what I've had in the Philippines. I dig Filipino food, I've been eating it for a looooong time.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
846 posts, read 423,823 times
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North Korean Cuisine?
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
4,746 posts, read 2,735,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioque View Post
North Korean Cuisine?
I love Korean food, but I'm not certain I can distinguish North Korean food from South Korean food. Can you list a few North Korean dishes? I'm very curious and I would like to know.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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Most Turkish restaurants that I've been too (no not kebap houses, but real restaurants) are usually pretty good on the authentic scale.


Italian food here on the other hand is nothing like what it is in Italy.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:17 PM
 
2,995 posts, read 2,367,429 times
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Many ethnic restaurants are Americanized although you will find authentic examples in smaller numbers.

From my own experiences I find that most Caribbean restaurants/eateries are pretty authentic wherever they happen to be. Most of these are tiny spots that only have a handful or less employees that are first generation in the US. They cook as close to home as possible. The larger the restaurant the less authentic things become, but those are few in my experience. I'd say that the two most common styles of Caribbean food I see are Jamaican and Cuban.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:38 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
5,603 posts, read 5,994,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
The most famous examples are of course 'Mexican' and 'Chinese' food. Taco Bell was founded by a white guy and good luck trying to find a fortune cookie in China.
Taco Bell is not Mexican food. Where I live, it's not even considered food, much less Mexican food. There are plenty of authentic Mexican restaurants here. Sometimes the food is totally different in one from another. Why? Because Mexico is a big country and different regions have different styles of food.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:06 PM
Status: "Which witch is which?" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: In the land of cotton
4,268 posts, read 2,135,323 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
Taco Bell is not Mexican food...
You took the OP's quote out of context as the OP stated Taco Bell is one of "the most famous examples" of Americanized ethnic cuisine.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:12 PM
 
Location: In a valley in the South Hills
3,781 posts, read 1,735,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
Taco Bell is not Mexican food. Where I live, it's not even considered food, much less Mexican food. There are plenty of authentic Mexican restaurants here. Sometimes the food is totally different in one from another. Why? Because Mexico is a big country and different regions have different styles of food.
Mexico is a certainly a big country with numerous distinct cuisine styles. Unfortunately SA seems to favor the standard Tex-Mex. SA folks love to eat tacos for dinner (not done in Mexico), and love their fajitas and burritos (US inventions). Sure you can get a decent mole and maybe even a milanesa, but those generally come with frijoles (Tex-Mex) and "Mexican rice", another Americanization.

Find me a place with a nice snapper Veracruzana, a baked octopus in chipotle, swordfish with cilantro cream, fried zucchini flowers, huitlacoche, etc.etc. (not to mention organ meats) and I'll be there. Rare even in Texas, although Austin and Houston have some pretty good examples. I keep hoping there will be more Mexican restaurants offering more dishes from the Central and South regions, but it seems we're just getting more of the same, except with more tequilas and Mexican beers being offered.

I like Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex. They're both legitimate cuisines on their own. However, I do take exception to those styles being called "Mexican" as I feel it disrespects actual Mexican food.

I've lived in Mexico and spent considerable time in Europe. I've had bad examples in the US of pretty much any cuisine I could compare to its homeland. I've never been to Asia so I can't compare to authentic. So I don't know how Americanized the Asian food I eat is. I can cook Indian myself using a Madhur Jaffrey book, which should be fairly dead-on, and it tastes similar to most Indian restaurants I've been to. I'll do Indian from scratch. Not so with Thai as I usually cheat with a prepared red or green curry base. My home creations can be better or worse than eating out, which tells me Thai restaurants are very uneven around here. I haven't tried making Vietnamese/Lao/Burmese/Cambodian.

I've spent time working with a Chinese restaurant. Staff dinners were decidedly not menu items. You really need to like picking out small bone pieces from chicken or digging into gelatenous or chewy stuff. The Chinese idea of 'comfort food' is discomforting to most Western palates. Plus, many of the vegetables used in dishes in the US are different than their Chinese counterparts.

Korean appears to be a good bet. And even if the Korean we get around here is Americanized, it's still pretty damned good.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:40 PM
 
Location: SGV, CA
819 posts, read 616,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sskink View Post
Korean appears to be a good bet. And even if the Korean we get around here is Americanized, it's still pretty damned good.
Korean definitely seems reasonably legit. I've been served some decidedly non-Korean banchan (side dishes) though. I'm fairly certain macaroni salad, mashed potatoes, and broccoli are not dishes native to Korea. I've also heard the rice paper they give you at Korean BBQ restaurants is an American thing, as they use lettuce to wrap the meat in South Korea.
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