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Old 03-11-2012, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,344,637 times
Reputation: 6670

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Has the average Joe Schmoe in your town eaten sushi?

Do they know what hummus is?

How about "curry"?

Paella?

Couscous?

Samosa / sambusa / samsa?

Dosa?

Falafel?

What ethnic foods are common in your city?

Virtually everybody in Duluth knows has at least a faint idea of what sushi is. There seems to be a division between people who have tried it and love it and are always praising it, and people who have never tried it and would be absolutely disgusted if force-fed it.

The first include young people as well as middle-class adults. The second group includes working and lower-class, blue-collar people, even the younger of them, and elderly people.

Few of my relatives on my father's side (who come from a blue-collar "salt of the earth" background) would recognize any of the foods other than sushi. I sense, strongly, that most other local working-class residents of the "Westside" and many of the middle class residents are this way. They are very sheltered and provincial in their palate. I remember a girl in the 7th grade CCD class I taught who thought that "shrimp cocktail" was exotic.

The well-educated, upper-middle-class, or well-traveled people are likely to recognize at least hummus and curry and perhaps falafel and couscous, but would probably not be able to tell a dosa from an apple.

People from all backgrounds, at least older people, would recognize Cornish pasties (brought by miners), lutefisk (a Norwegian dish consisting lye-treated fish commonly served at Christmas Eve), potato sausage (a Swedish item sold at grocery stores here and viewed as the most normal thing in the world, but apparently not at all common in other regions of the country), and "porketta" meat (an Italian-inspired spiced pork sold at all local grocery stores).

Less likely to be recognized by the youth, but still more popular here than in other places and available at normal stores include sylta (Swedish head-cheese) and lefse (Norwegian potato bread). Potica (nut rolls) and sarma (stuffed cabbage), both from Central European cuisine, are popular on the Iron Range, about 60 miles north of Duluth, which at least the latter also somewhat popular in Duluth but usually known under a different name.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:32 AM
 
Location: Near L.A.
4,114 posts, read 9,233,285 times
Reputation: 3349
Americans in general aren't familiar w/ real foreign-originated or -based foods.

Burritos are really Tex-Mex, for example, and not Mexican.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:38 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,363,470 times
Reputation: 11309
Yes to most of the above.

LA is a pretty foodie town. I can say the same for SF.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,037,464 times
Reputation: 3599
Pączkis! (pronounced Ponch-skis)

I've never had one but they're probably the most popular foreign foods of metro Detroit.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:00 AM
 
Location: London, UK
3,458 posts, read 4,010,720 times
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Yes, Boston and Cambridge are both very good food cities with a fair amount of adventurous eaters.

I actually posted a topic on the Boston board highlighting where you could find different foods from each ethnicity: Best of Boston?

So as you can see we pretty much have it all covered.

The largest ethnic communities we have though are: Chinese (Specifically Taiwanese), Brazilian, Portuguese, Haitian, Dominican, Cambodian, Salvadoran, Cape Verdean and Jamaican, so all of those types of restaurants are easy to access in addition to the typical "ethnic" foods that are basically available in any city (Thai, Indian, Japanese, etc..)
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:14 AM
 
32,094 posts, read 33,002,049 times
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NYC is well known for its foreign food restaurants. So most NYers are familiar with all kinds of foreign food.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,142 posts, read 54,613,656 times
Reputation: 66544
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Has the average Joe Schmoe in your town eaten sushi?

Do they know what hummus is?

How about "curry"?

Paella?

Couscous?

Samosa / sambusa / samsa?

Dosa?

Falafel?

What ethnic foods are common in your city?

Virtually everybody in Duluth knows has at least a faint idea of what sushi is. There seems to be a division between people who have tried it and love it and are always praising it, and people who have never tried it and would be absolutely disgusted if force-fed it.

The first include young people as well as middle-class adults. The second group includes working and lower-class, blue-collar people, even the younger of them, and elderly people.

Few of my relatives on my father's side (who come from a blue-collar "salt of the earth" background) would recognize any of the foods other than sushi. I sense, strongly, that most other local working-class residents of the "Westside" and many of the middle class residents are this way. They are very sheltered and provincial in their palate. I remember a girl in the 7th grade CCD class I taught who thought that "shrimp cocktail" was exotic.

The well-educated, upper-middle-class, or well-traveled people are likely to recognize at least hummus and curry and perhaps falafel and couscous, but would probably not be able to tell a dosa from an apple.

People from all backgrounds, at least older people, would recognize Cornish pasties (brought by miners), lutefisk (a Norwegian dish consisting lye-treated fish commonly served at Christmas Eve), potato sausage (a Swedish item sold at grocery stores here and viewed as the most normal thing in the world, but apparently not at all common in other regions of the country), and "porketta" meat (an Italian-inspired spiced pork sold at all local grocery stores).

Less likely to be recognized by the youth, but still more popular here than in other places and available at normal stores include sylta (Swedish head-cheese) and lefse (Norwegian potato bread). Potica (nut rolls) and sarma (stuffed cabbage), both from Central European cuisine, are popular on the Iron Range, about 60 miles north of Duluth, which at least the latter also somewhat popular in Duluth but usually known under a different name.
Yes. I am in New Jersey, which is very diverse ethnically and LOVES all types of foods, but, I haven't seen any of the Swedish or Norwegian foods that you mentioned. Southern Jersey was originally settled by the Swedish, but I don't think there is much left of the culture.

I just found a little middle-Eastern (Lebanese) restaurant on a side street last month that has baba ganoush and hummus and falafel and stuffed grape leaves. Very excited about that. Indian places are all over. Italian--well, this is NJ. You have choice about what TYPE of Italian restaurant you want. And just about every type of Asian. NJ also has the largest Cuban population outside of Miami, so we have that type of food, as well as lots of Portuguese and Brazilian. Oh, and Greek, of course. Not only are there straight-up Greek restaurants, but NJ is known for its proliferation of diners, and most diners are owned by Greeks, so you'll generally find the Greek specialities along with the burgers and eggs and Taylor ham sammitches.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, MD
3,240 posts, read 3,287,914 times
Reputation: 3010
Pretty much all Americans are familiar with Italian, Chinese and Mexican food; you'd be hard pressed to find a pocket of people who have never tried those things. Average joe types generally don't eat the above types of foods, its mostly upper class people who live in diverse areas or younger people. Rural areas will usually only have a bunch of chain restaurants or standard American staples like diners or pizzerias.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:45 PM
 
14,752 posts, read 28,629,477 times
Reputation: 8781
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhenomenalAJ View Post
Pretty much all Americans are familiar with Italian, Chinese and Mexican food
Agreed. And you are also COOL if you go for Thai or Indian food, which I detest. I once went for Thai, asked for "zero stars" on the spiciness, and spent the afternoon at work in misery.

I was say that a lot of people in the West's big cities aren't very familiar with Greek, Middle Eastern, French, Portuguese and South American food.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
2,709 posts, read 4,230,797 times
Reputation: 998
Definitely. St. Louis has a bunch of Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indiana restaurants...Greek as well (Michael's).
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