Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
sazji

Ethnic Restaurants in Other Lands

Recommended Posts

Are you by a Japanese in the US or a Mexican in France, who longs for some flavors from home but find that local versions of "your" cuisine don't even come close, or some essential thing is missing? Are you a Cambodian who is still a bit scandalized when Americans load up their plates with some of everything before starting to eat? Do Indonesian restaurants in Holland spoil Indonesian food in a way different than in the US?

I'm not talking about a single place that doesn't quite get the spicing right, but rather things that are "standard" in the local "transplanted" version of your food where you live; or ways people eat/expect to be served that more or less spoils the experience. Or other things I might not have thought of.

Here are a couple of mine:

I was reminded while writing another post of an evening in Seattle many years ago when my partner and I decided to try a Greek restaurant we'd wondered about.

The first thing you get in a restaurant in Greece is a basket of good thick bread. When none was brought, I asked the waitress, and she said "we don't have any." "No bread at all?" I asked. "Well, we have fried pita" she said. "Let's go," I said. I couldn't imagine having a nice Greek dish and no bread with it! Sure this was just a case of isolated insanity, we went to another place, same story, so we went to another, that was still run by Greeks. The woman said "we used to have bread but the Americans don't want it so we stopped." Defeated, we settled for fried pitta, which continued to strike me as just weird, like sitting down to an American meal and getting a basket of hotdog buns. The food was great but it was just "wrong." But there you have it - it seems that most Americans now think Greeks sit around eating fried pitta.

(I'm reminded of a reverse experience of some friends who went to a Chinese restaurant in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia back in the 70s. The dishes arrived, and the food had been ladled over big thick slices of wonderful, spongy bread!)

Here in Turkey Chinese restaurants have no pork on the menu, you get dishes with no sauce on them, and a bowl of "chinese pilaf" (plain rice) is priced as if it were another main dish. There are so few Chinese here that what Chinese (or Americans who have lived near a big Chinatown) might prefer is irrelevant. So I just do without Chinese food here.


Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I have to say is, the world is built like McDonalds, even McDonalds isn't exactly consistent the way people think they should be.

People have the right to be creative, so little things don't bother me like not upholding all the "traditional customs". But if I do go to a "Greek" restuarant and see Lo Mein, and Quesedillas I would be a wierded out. BUt if I saw a restuarant being a Greek styled restaurant but fusing new ides, like making a greek style pizza, or a greek style hamburger, or a greek style fajita then I just think its neat.

If people are good at what they do, the atmosphere is pleasant with good service, I try not to pick on their personal creativity and just enjoy it.

If I really wanted to experience Greek food to its finest, I would go to Greece.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
People have the right to be creative, so little things don't bother me like not upholding all the "traditional customs".  But if I do go to a "Greek" restuarant and see Lo Mein, and Quesedillas I would be a wierded out.  BUt if I saw a restuarant  being a Greek styled restaurant but fusing new ides, like making a greek style pizza, or a greek style hamburger, or a greek style fajita then I just think its neat.

If I really wanted to experience Greek food to its finest, I would go to Greece.

I have nothing against creativity, not every cook in Greece makes every dish the same of course, and I don't expect that. (I do get a little tired of places that throw a little feta and oregano on anything and everything and call it "Greek" though.) And here in Turkey many restaurants regularly come up with their own new dishes that are unique. We wouldn't have cuisine without creativity. But I would have a problem with a Chinese restaurant that didn't provide any rice!

I do wonder what eating in an Indian restaurant in the US is like for someone from India. Is it more often like a "taste of home," or like my experience, just a letdown?


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...