Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Shanghai Warms to a New Cuisine


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,742 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 February 2014 - 02:50 PM

Gotta hand it to 'em ...

 

http://www.npr.org/b...ood-to-shanghai


.... Shel


#2 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,954 posts

Posted 13 February 2014 - 02:52 PM

So now it is authentic!


  • Franci likes this

#3 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,235 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:11 PM

That sort of made me die inside. Thankfully only 2 (I think) aspects of my food culture have been ruined by America - hummus and labneh ("greek yogurt")....The thought of a place opening in Beirut serving Americanized hummus gives me horrors. I have to imagine it'd be closed within a week, though.



#4 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,742 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:26 PM

That sort of made me die inside. Thankfully only 2 (I think) aspects of my food culture have been ruined by America - hummus and labneh ("greek yogurt")....The thought of a place opening in Beirut serving Americanized hummus gives me horrors. I have to imagine it'd be closed within a week, though.

 

What is the difference between "Americanized" hummus and that from the middle east, and how have we "ruined" it?  Likewise our Greek yogurt and yours?


Edited by Shel_B, 13 February 2014 - 03:30 PM.

.... Shel


#5 Kim Shook

Kim Shook
  • participating member
  • 3,018 posts
  • Location:Richmond, VA

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:49 PM

It seems like they are catering to American expats.  I know that if I lived in Shanghai, I would patronize this place.  Even if I loved authentic Shanghai food, I'd miss my 'home' food.  I think that if food is good, it is good.  It may not be authentic, but there is nothing inherently wrong with "American-style" food.  


  • judiu and gfweb like this

#6 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,235 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:51 PM

Well, let's start with the latter one. There is nothing especially Greek about it, and all it is is strained yogurt. Take any old yogurt, put it through a cheesecloth/coffee filter to strain the excess liquid out overnight, and voila, labne! Or, rather "Greek yogurt." There's nothing wrong with it, I just find the marketing and pricing absurd, as if it's some brand new thing with amazing benefits bog standard yogurt doesn't have, and therefore should cost $6 for a litre tub.  Bah!

 

As for hummus, store bought hummus is just vile. And other things pureed in the same manner are not hummus, like "beet hummus" or whatever it was I saw. Hummus by definition means chickpeas!  This one I have much greater problem with, as it's such a staple and deeply ingrained into the culture.  It just bothers me on an inexplicable level.



#7 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,235 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:54 PM

It seems like they are catering to American expats.  I know that if I lived in Shanghai, I would patronize this place.  Even if I loved authentic Shanghai food, I'd miss my 'home' food.  I think that if food is good, it is good.  It may not be authentic, but there is nothing inherently wrong with "American-style" food.  

 

I dunno. I love East Asian food in general and "authentic" (which may be cringeworthy) regional Chinese is one of my favorites. I really don't ever miss Americanized Chinese food. Actually one of the disappointments about the few East Asian restaurants in the Middle East is that they all serve very Americanized stuff for the most part. 

 

 

Now, if a place opened up in Shanghai (or anywhere else) with a seriously damn good, American-style burger, I could get behind that!



#8 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,742 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:54 PM

It seems like they are catering to American expats.  I know that if I lived in Shanghai, I would patronize this place.  Even if I loved authentic Shanghai food, I'd miss my 'home' food.  I think that if food is good, it is good.  It may not be authentic, but there is nothing inherently wrong with "American-style" food.  

 

Might not "American-style" food be authentic American?  It seems that we here in the states have our own culture and history, and that is reflected in our food - the ingredients and how we prepare it.


  • Shel_B likes this

.... Shel


#9 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,742 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:59 PM

Well, let's start with the latter one. There is nothing especially Greek about it, and all it is is strained yogurt. Take any old yogurt, put it through a cheesecloth/coffee filter to strain the excess liquid out overnight, and voila, labne! Or, rather "Greek yogurt." There's nothing wrong with it, I just find the marketing and pricing absurd, as if it's some brand new thing with amazing benefits bog standard yogurt doesn't have, and therefore should cost $6 for a litre tub.  Bah!

 

As for hummus, store bought hummus is just vile. And other things pureed in the same manner are not hummus, like "beet hummus" or whatever it was I saw. Hummus by definition means chickpeas!  This one I have much greater problem with, as it's such a staple and deeply ingrained into the culture.  It just bothers me on an inexplicable level.

 

So what makes Greek yogurt Greek?  Are you complaining about the price and the marketing or the yogurt?

 

Well, how is home made American hummus different than Lebanese home made hummus?  I don't think you can compare supermarket products with well-made restaurant or home made products.  Maybe that's the same in Lebanon?  Is what you get in the supermarket  in Lebanon equal to what is made at home?  And, from what I understand, in part by experience, Israeli hummus may be made and presented differently than Lebanese hummus.  Which is "authentic?"


Edited by Shel_B, 13 February 2014 - 04:01 PM.

.... Shel


#10 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,235 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:48 PM

 

Well, let's start with the latter one. There is nothing especially Greek about it, and all it is is strained yogurt. Take any old yogurt, put it through a cheesecloth/coffee filter to strain the excess liquid out overnight, and voila, labne! Or, rather "Greek yogurt." There's nothing wrong with it, I just find the marketing and pricing absurd, as if it's some brand new thing with amazing benefits bog standard yogurt doesn't have, and therefore should cost $6 for a litre tub.  Bah!

 

As for hummus, store bought hummus is just vile. And other things pureed in the same manner are not hummus, like "beet hummus" or whatever it was I saw. Hummus by definition means chickpeas!  This one I have much greater problem with, as it's such a staple and deeply ingrained into the culture.  It just bothers me on an inexplicable level.

 

So what makes Greek yogurt Greek?  Are you complaining about the price and the marketing or the yogurt?

 

Well, how is home made American hummus different than Lebanese home made hummus?  I don't think you can compare supermarket products with well-made restaurant or home made products.  Maybe that's the same in Lebanon?  Is what you get in the supermarket  in Lebanon equal to what is made at home?  And, from what I understand, in part by experience, Israeli hummus may be made and presented differently than Lebanese hummus.  Which is "authentic?"

 

 

Nothing makes "Greek yogurt" especially Greek. The Greeks have normal yogurt, and strained yogurt, just as the Arabs and Turks do. My main complaint is with the price and marketing. The yogurt itself is fine, although I typically strain my own from store-bought regular yogurt.

 

Homemade American hummus in the sense that it's made with chickpeas and garlic and lemon and tahina is fine, there's nothing especially "American" about that, as it's sticking to the traditional recipe. Typically, the hummus you can get in the prepared foods section of a Lebanese supermarket is quite high quality though, because they know they have picky customers. American store-bought hummus, even if it's not made with carrots and spinach and God knows what, tends to be have the wrong consistency and seasoning (not to mention additional unpronounceable ingredients), at least for what I'm used to and what I like. If someone likes that, then fine, the hummus entrepreneurs are doing something right, I guess.

 

For what it's worth, supermarket vs homemade is not always an unfair comparison - good quality supermarket yogurt (to return to that) can be fantastic. 

 

As for Israeli hummus, in the Jersusalem book, Ottolenghi and Tamimi went with Tamimi's grandmother's recipe for hummus, so I'd defer to the Palestinians (the recipe rocks, by the way)! My American gentile friend who has lived both in Palestine and Lebanon also prefers Palestinian-style. That being said, it's absurd to think "hummus was invented in Ramallah/Tel Aviv/Beirut/Damascus" given that it's such a staple it presumably predates anybody keeping track of it.  


  • judiu likes this

#11 Jaymes

Jaymes
  • participating member
  • 7,438 posts
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:54 PM

That sort of made me die inside. Thankfully only 2 (I think) aspects of my food culture have been ruined by America - hummus and labneh ("greek yogurt")....The thought of a place opening in Beirut serving Americanized hummus gives me horrors. I have to imagine it'd be closed within a week, though.

 

Well, I know I'm just a silly so-and-so, and never have been politically correct, but, as far as I'm concerned, there is so much food in the world, and so many people eating it, that another restaurant, even if it's serving a style of food that I don't much like, isn't a very good reason for despair.  It's just more folks at the party, isn't it?  I mean, you can say it's "ruined," but I doubt that any hummus or labneh police are coming to your house and confiscating your homemade hummus and labneh because it doesn't conform to the "ruined" standards.  And, since both hummus and labneh are easy to make at home, surely that's what you're doing.

 

So what do you care if I'm living next door to you and I'm eating crappy hummus and labneh?  How on earth could that possibly ruin what you're eating?  You might feel sorry for me, as in a "they know not what they do" sort of way.  But I fail to see how what I eat, even if you find it deplorable, should cause you to "die inside."

 

As for the article about the food in China, and the mention of Orange Chicken, I'm sure no expert, by anyone's standards, but I did live in Hong Kong several decades back, and recall "Old Peel Chicken" being fairly well available.  It was made with dried tangerine peels, if I recall correctly.  And, although admittedly it was nowhere nearly so sweet as Westernized Orange Chicken, it was still in the same culinary family.

 

Again, in my view, not something worthy of "dying inside."  There are some really horrific things in this world, you know.  Having somebody else eat "ruined" hummus and labneh is surely not the hill to die on.


  • judiu likes this
"And you, you're just a stinker."

#12 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,742 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 13 February 2014 - 05:02 PM

Nothing makes "Greek yogurt" especially Greek. The Greeks have normal yogurt, and strained yogurt, just as the Arabs and Turks do. My main complaint is with the price and marketing. The yogurt itself is fine, although I typically strain my own from store-bought regular yogurt.

 

Homemade American hummus in the sense that it's made with chickpeas and garlic and lemon and tahina is fine, there's nothing especially "American" about that, as it's sticking to the traditional recipe. Typically, the hummus you can get in the prepared foods section of a Lebanese supermarket is quite high quality though, because they know they have picky customers. American store-bought hummus, even if it's not made with carrots and spinach and God knows what, tends to be have the wrong consistency and seasoning (not to mention additional unpronounceable ingredients), at least for what I'm used to and what I like. If someone likes that, then fine, the hummus entrepreneurs are doing something right, I guess.

 

For what it's worth, supermarket vs homemade is not always an unfair comparison - good quality supermarket yogurt (to return to that) can be fantastic. 

 

As for Israeli hummus, in the Jersusalem book, Ottolenghi and Tamimi went with Tamimi's grandmother's recipe for hummus, so I'd defer to the Palestinians (the recipe rocks, by the way)! My American gentile friend who has lived both in Palestine and Lebanon also prefers Palestinian-style. That being said, it's absurd to think "hummus was invented in Ramallah/Tel Aviv/Beirut/Damascus" given that it's such a staple it presumably predates anybody keeping track of it.  

 

 

We're generally in agreement here, although I take a small issue with your point on yogurt, or some yogurt.  Many "Greek" and other yogurts are loaded with crap - thickeners like corn starch or carrageenan, sugar and other enhancements.  A lot of store bought yogurt, regardless of style, should forever remain in the dairy case.

 

I'm familiar with Ottolenghi and Tamimi's hummus - it's very good, and while I won't go so far as to say it's a hummus by which all others should be judged, it's right up there.  So now we have a common point of reference.


  • judiu likes this

.... Shel


#13 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,659 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 07 June 2014 - 07:36 PM

I've ordered delivery from this place, and was unimpressed. Taken as North American-style "Chinese" food, I thought it was poorly executed. The meats tasted interchangeable, as did the thin, watery sauces punctuated with what tasted like canned fruit. The spring rolls and egg rolls looked exactly the same - perhaps they do in the US too? In eastern Canada, where I'm originally from, an egg roll has a thicker wrapper and is folded into a rectangular shape, as a opposed to a spring roll, which has a thin wrapper, and is usually a cylinder.

 

The General Tso's chicken had broccoli that tasted both watery and burnt.  I'd never tried it before, as it wasn't a popular dish in Nova Scotia when I was growing up, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to taste like that. I haven't bothered ordering from them again. They are perhaps better in the restaurant, but if I want a spring roll or noodles, I'll just go to Crystal Jade. 



#14 liuzhou

liuzhou
  • participating member
  • 2,222 posts
  • Location:Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Posted 08 June 2014 - 05:12 AM

 

As for the article about the food in China, and the mention of Orange Chicken, I'm sure no expert, by anyone's standards, but I did live in Hong Kong several decades back, and recall "Old Peel Chicken" being fairly well available. It was made with dried tangerine peels, if I recall correctly.

 

Dried tangerine peel is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking. Mainly used in hotpots and braised dishes with all sorts of meat, but more usually pork than chicken. You can buy it in supermarkets, but most people dry it themselves. I have a big jar of it in the fridge from two Christmases ago. It keeps forever. Personally, I would never use it with chicken. The flavour is too strong.

 

"Orange chicken" is often touted as being from Hunan province. I lived there from 1996 -1999 and go back at least twice a year. It is the largest orange producing area (in the world, I believe). I have never come across the dish in any form resembling the American version, however. 

 

 

The meats tasted interchangeable, as did the thin, watery sauces punctuated with what tasted like canned fruit. The spring rolls and egg rolls looked exactly the same... ...The General Tso's chicken had broccoli that tasted both watery and burnt. 

 

So, it is authentic, then.


Edited by liuzhou, 08 June 2014 - 05:18 AM.


#15 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,954 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 06:43 AM

A common feature of Americanized Chinese places in my part of the US is that they suck.

 

Not because the concept of the dish is bad, but because the kitchen doesn't give a damn about what they put out... or that's what their patrons want.

 

Gloppy greasy partially cooked coating on fried things....overcooked chicken breast bits...day-glo orange candy sauces.

 

Barf.