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.

Favorite ethnic/regional cuisine not your own


JAZ
 Share

Recommended Posts

It occurred to me tonight when I was making enchiladas with leftover duck breast that I could eat Mexican/Mexican inspired food four or five times a week and be perfectly happy. Yet, I was raised with pretty traditional "American" cuisine, so that's not my culinary background at all. Sure, we had "Mexican" (i.e., Mexican-American) food when I was growing up, but we also had lots of American versions of German, Italian and Chinese food. Yet those didn't stick with me the way "Mexican" did.

So it got me wondering if other people have grown to have favorite ethnic or regional cuisines that they weren't raised with. Is there a cuisine not your own that you love and could happily eat all the time?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vietnamese and Thai. Never had it growing up. As soon as I had my first taste of home cooked Vietnamese I was hooked. It was a dip in seasoned water, cook your own and wrap in rice paper meal that included the fried spring rolls. The nuoc mam cham dipping sauce was a revelation. The Hot sour salty sweet speaks to me more than my native Austrian cuisine. Along those lines the Thai fit right in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, I could be happy with any and all. None were much in evidence at home (except for an occasional curried something), but the DC burbs had an abundance of good, cheap international restaurants but a bicycle ride away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Southern USA. Fried chicken, ribs, pulled pork, leafy green stuff fried in bacon drippings. You know it's good.

(My "native" cuisine is Mexican.)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Mr. Sapidus...Indian probably first by a hair, then Southeast Asian, well, actually ALL Asian and Mexican. Throw real Italian into the mix too, not just Italian-American.

Even though I grew up mostly in Southern California, by breeding, birth and culinary tastes, we were Midwest farmers all the way. Italian was spaghetti and meatballs with Ragu sauce and green can cheese. Chinese was "pepper steak" with soy sauce, flank steak and bell peppers. On Minute rice. No Mexican, it was far too scary, I didn't taste an avocado until I was about 18, and it was an epiphany.

Once I got old enough to start going out on my own, and got exposed to co-workers, friends, fellow students, etc. of different cultures, my mind was blown and my palate eternally grateful. I probably do one of each cuisine a week, along with the good old, solid American classics.

Isn't it fabulous to have a choice?

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louisiana Creole/Cajun but since I'm from Houston and my mother's family is from Deep East Texas this may be a little too close to home to qualify. It is almost certainly my favorite to cook, all the way down to making the specialty charcuterie required, and it hits all the comfort food buttons in a way that few other things do. And as an added bonus, Creole cusine incorporates many elements of classical French cuisine as well, probably my very close second favorite.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louisiana Creole/Cajun but since I'm from Houston and my mother's family is from Deep East Texas this may be a little too close to home to qualify. It is almost certainly my favorite to cook, all the way down to making the specialty charcuterie required, and it hits all the comfort food buttons in a way that few other things do. And as an added bonus, Creole cusine incorporates many elements of classical French cuisine as well, probably my very close second favorite.

Oh holy cats ! How can I have forgotten Cajun/Creole???? Yeah, add that in too. Just made some killer jambalaya this week. And that certainly was never a cuisine that entered into Chez Pierogi when I was a kid.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Pierogi-- it's great to have a choice. I like Indian, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, SE Asian, and others, and wouldn't like being confined to one. My wife and I are planning a trip to India this year; on previous month+ trips to India the food has not become boring, or a chore, or whatever. We can do Italian for about two weeks before it gets old, but Indian is easily good for a month or more. If I had to choose one, it would be hard to choose between Indian and Chinese. And growing up in solidly midwestern downstate Illinois with a mother of German extraction, none of those was what I grew up with. (Perhaps that's why I like them. {G})

Dick in Northbrook, IL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bistro-style French cooking. As in coq au vin, duck a l'orange, beef bourguignon and steak au poivre. Rack of lamb. All of this done the old way, with everything loaded up with good butter and the cooking liquids and sauces thickened with starch. Bacon in damn near everything. Rooster in the coq au vin--none of this half-arsed business using a young roasting chicken. Desserts such as baked apple tart, lemon tart and clafoutis. I'm super excited about going to France and hitting up all these flash restaurants in Paris, but I'm just as excited about visiting old-fashioned bistros and the like.

Honourable mentions to ...

  • Proper Mexican (as in, not the Americanised/Australianised stuff, which I hate)
  • Italian
  • Indian
  • Sichuan
  • Ethiopian
  • Spanish
  • Good quality, as opposed to mediocre shit (see: food court sushi), Japanese
  • Creole/Cajun

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese not necessarily in that order. But I am also a great fan of Danish food!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arg, hard to choose between Thai and Japanese. Japanese would probably be the healthiest.

I think a lot depends on the quantity and quality of the cuisine that you have experienced. I think if I lived in Vietnam or Mexico for a year I'd learn to love it more. You also learn about the great regional variation within those countries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Usually when I leave a place after a trip I'm glad to be back where I have more variety. When I left two weeks in Thailand -- mostly in Chiang Mai -- I felt precisely the opposite. I could live there, eat eight meals a day, and eternally ecstatic.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ethiopian. Thai second, but I can replicate Thai pretty well. Ethiopian I get so close, but never really nail it. And my injera bread is way off the mark. And I just love having a plate and napkin that are edible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can I choose? My mom was a pretty bad cook but she did learn some Mexican recipe from our neighbors and Italian from other neighbors so I grew up knowing these foods.

A little later we got a Chinese restaurant in a nearby town and I fell in love with that.

Asian of all kinds is my go to choice. Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian are all favorites but I think Thai has an edge. I didn't come to it until late in life because I had heard and read so many snide comments about fish sauce and shrimp paste that it sounded very distasteful.

A friend in the Bay Area took me to a Thai restaurant for the first time and it was a revelation. When I got home I dug out all my foodie magazines that had Thai recipes and cooked it for the whole week. Couldn't get enough. It was good even though I had to sub a lot of stuff like lemon zest for lemon grass, etc.

A first, a Thai restaurant in our little town and I can hardly wait to try it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My cookbooks tell the tale: Mexican, Indian, Sichuan, Middle Eastern.

Pulled pork gets a entry of its own. Never had it before last summer.

Have had Thai only twice and Japanese only once. And Vietnamese never. I've never had Ethiopian food, but I suspect that I would love it.

I like Mexican best; DH likes Sichuan best.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darienne, find a cookbook or pull a recipe up online. Etiopian is awesome, best beef stew (of any others) hands down in my opinion. It is all based around berbere sauce. And it is served on a large piece of a spongy bread called injera. Smaller flats of injera are how you pick up the food to eat with your hands.

Ok, now I am hungry.

Edited by Doodad (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darienne, find a cookbook or pull a recipe up online. Etiopian is awesome, best beef stew (of any others) hands down in my opinion. It is all based around berbere sauce. And it is served on a large piece of a spongy bread called injera. Smaller flats of injera are how you pick up the food to eat with your hands.

Ok, now I am hungry.

Will do. I mean it. I have Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum. It no doubt has some Ethiopian recipes in it...but no meat. And exactly two bread recipes.

Thanks, Doodad.

ps. I think you should PM me some specific sites to go to. Wouldn't want me to pick the wrong recipe, would you?

pps. Do you use Teff in your injera?

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't use teff and that may be one of the problems I don't know. It is basically unleavened bread with soda water to make the bubbles. Mine tend to come out more like crepes or something. In the restaurants it is more like a spongy flatbread with a texture sort of like chinese steam bun.

I use some cookbooks, but let me see what I can find online. The two main dishes are doro wat and yebeg wat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didn't this topic used to be called: If you were on a desert island and you could only have one type of food what would it be?

Most people used to say Italian, right? Perhaps we now just think of Italian American food as American food--spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, etc. If you look at the variety of real Italian food, much of it isn't a pantry staple or a household word. So, do we not even think of Italian food as ethnic? Interesting.

That said, I would probably choose Vietnamese or Thai. I would have to think long and hard if I had to choose between them. It strikes me that if you had access to any Thai ingredients you wanted you could make almost any Viet dish. You think? Is the reverse true?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It occurred to me tonight when I was making enchiladas with leftover duck breast that I could eat Mexican/Mexican inspired food four or five times a week and be perfectly happy.

A friend said, "I could eat Chinese food every day... wait, over a billion people do!"

I think of Mexican or Mexican-inspired and Italian as pretty mainstream in the US.

Ethiopian. Thai second, but I can replicate Thai pretty well. Ethiopian I get so close, but never really nail it. And my injera bread is way off the mark. And I just love having a plate and napkin that are edible.

Ethiopian was my first thought, but perhaps it is because I don't get it very often. Certainly a favourite but there are others I don't think I'd tire of, too. Mostly rice or pasta based, since I'm not big on potatoes. We picked up a cookbook years back at The Red Sea in Washington DC but kind of dropped trying to use it. Need to revisit that.

This topic reminded me of a Thai/Chi/Mex restaurant in the 'burb I used to live in that was run by a Central American family with a Thai wife. Miss that place.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mexican, first by a long way. Then it would be North African.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...