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.

Recommended Posts

as a professional cook and as a chinese, i would like to point out that beside the msg, the other difference between home cooked chinese food and restaurant style is the lack of "wok hei" in home cooked food. the stove makes a difference.

you can store your rice overnight before cooking it as fried rice just like the restaurant did, but you can never achieve that same taste, even with the MSG.

That is very true. I try and try but without my restaurant kitchen, not successful. :sad:

But, Ben told me how to get "wok hei" again by using my turkey fryer outside! Haven't tried yet tho'. Haven't had anyone to impress. :laugh::laugh:

I have an electric stove in my home. If I am patient, and cook in small batches, I CAN get my wok really hot and stay hot. The results can be quite good.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
as a professional cook and as a chinese, i would like to point out that beside the msg, the other difference between home cooked chinese food and restaurant style is the lack of "wok hei" in home cooked food. the stove makes a difference.

you can store your rice overnight before cooking it as fried rice just like the restaurant did, but you can never achieve that same taste, even with the MSG.

That is very true. I try and try but without my restaurant kitchen, not successful. :sad:

But, Ben told me how to get "wok hei" again by using my turkey fryer outside! Haven't tried yet tho'. Haven't had anyone to impress. :laugh::laugh:

I have an electric stove in my home. If I am patient, and cook in small batches, I CAN get my wok really hot and stay hot. The results can be quite good.

I learned years ago from Hong Kong Caterers that the only sure way to provide "Wok Hei" in a home kitchen or any type of fire is by:

[1] Customize your burners on a fuel stove to a much higher "BTU" level. Some types of so called Camp Stoves have easily adapted burners. This was used in many private residences where it was installed on Balconies or Patio Areas in many older buildings they was a open cooking area originally set up to do this installation. [i had this done in Honolulu and it worked]

[2] Adapt a Propane or Diesel Fuel Burner capable of keeping a high consistent flame.

[3] The most popular method used in Asia is buying a "Kerosene Cooker" that traditionally was "Pumped Up by Hand" to build up the flame. There may be more similar methods in modern Kerosene Stoves.

In Hong Kong, Honolulu and most of Asia the majority of Gas is manufactured and never burns as clean as Natural Gas or Propane. To this day lots of Restaurants still use Diesel Stoves and Kerosene Cookers because it is reliable and they are accustomed to working with this method.

When I moved from Hawaii to Honolulu I had the foresight to pack my 6 Burner/Broiler/Oven Stove that worked with Propane and was the envy of most of my Chinese friends until someone started selling them locally.

The Orange Flames prevalent with Manufactured Gas isn't reliable in BTU's. Even worst it makes keeping your Pots and Pans clean a real pain as the Bottoms and sides tend to become carbonized.

Another thing to consider is that most Chefs agreed that the best "Wok Hei" for different dishes was also attributed to the Fat/Oil being cooked with for each dish.

The preferences started with, Lard, Suet, Asian Pressed Peanut Oil, Peanut Oil and eventually thru the years Soy Oils. It wasn't unusual for a Master Chef to adapt or mix the Oils to create the type of finesse he expected to obtain with each item prepared since each Oil retains different "Hei Points" that effect the taste.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think a major difference between homestyle and US Chinese restaurants is that at home, an individual is not likely to eat an entire "entree" that has enough sung to serve as the accompaniment to five people dining from large bowls of plain steamed rice.

After several years acclimating to American portion sizes, I could, if I really tried, finish an "entree" in a Chinese restaurant by myself.  But I would feel really bad afterwards -- heart racing from too much sodium, and feeling quesy from too much fat.  Nobody I know eats that way at home.

Good point Laksa.

I've had my share of elaborate Korean meals with lots of banchan and platters of bbq.

But was surprised that in many Korean homes a single, rather small whole fish will be served for four people, each with a bowl of rice, a simple soup and a pickle dish. I had a hard time sharing a little fish with three other people. :smile:

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Anzu, I don't think anyone is bicycling across Shanghai these days since the municipal govt has banned bicycles on most city streets.  :biggrin:

I live in Shanghai, and maybe I can add a little to the thread. First, bicycles are everywhere in Shanghai, they've been banned from major thoroughfares but dominate the traffic in general - . There's no doubt that your average Shanghai-er walks and bikes far, far more than your average American.

Secondly, trying to generalize Chinese home-style cooking is impossible. There's just too many people, too many cultural variations, too many traditions, etc. Talk to somebody from one region, and they invariably will tell you that the food of more-or-less any other region is repulsive. Lumping them all together isn't quite fair.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only one constant I know about is that the great majority of Chinese people I run into outside of Shanghai or Hangzhou, think that the Shanghai food is the worst in the country. But this is entirely off topic. Anyhow, I'll take the added sugar any day. Interesting to note that the super-sweet cuisine of this region appears to still allow for far skinnier people than here in Beijing.

I think that the previous posts on diet and increasing fat should take a closer look at the already inherent differences in northern cuisines vs. the south. Quite interesting to me at least.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The only one constant I know about is that the great majority of Chinese people I run into outside of Shanghai or Hangzhou, think that the Shanghai food is the worst in the country.

Hmmm, have these people tasted xiaolongbaos? These are of Shanghai origin... :huh::unsure:

I can't imagine anyone can take a broad sweep over one region's cuisine and say that IT is the worst in the country! :shock:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to the fat content and quantity of restaurant vs. home cooking, I once had a very interesting comment from a friend of mine from Hubei.

She wanted to see how I made my Mapo Doufu becuase she really loved how I made it, so she came into the kitchen while I was cooking for my guests....

Her main comment on seeing me cook was " wow! you cook like a restaurant cook would do...SO much oil used!"

She said that in her family, they would never have done things like seal the meat by 'passing' it through oil like I was taught to. There just wasn't the money to buy that much oil to use in such a fashion.

The thing is...I only cook like that for guests, not for ordinary everyday food. So maybe I slip into 'restaurant cooking' when I get an audience... :wacko:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Link to post
Share on other sites
The only one constant I know about is that the great majority of Chinese people I run into outside of Shanghai or Hangzhou, think that the Shanghai food is the worst in the country. But this is entirely off topic. Anyhow, I'll take the added sugar any day. Interesting to note that the super-sweet cuisine of this region appears to still allow for far skinnier people than here in Beijing.

I think that the previous posts on diet and increasing fat should take a closer look at the already inherent differences in northern cuisines vs. the south.  Quite interesting to me at least.

I agree with you - it's very interesting...what came first - the bigger northern build or the more weight-packing northern diet?

The consumption of lamb, yoghurt, wheat....surely they must have had an effect? It provides such different nutrients from fish rice and non-diary diets....But then again, just maybe being bigger was predicated by the climate - cold Hebei winters require big people....or perhaps a far greater consumption of fatty foods. Roll on the lamb's tail hotpot!

Maybe it's just all that cabbage (baicai)......... :raz:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Link to post
Share on other sites

mmmm I love that stuff. Nothing like sitting down to a huge hot pot full of vertebrae.. then given a second pot of bones and some straws to suck out the marrow. I think the typical fancy muslim Beijing meal is a vegetarians version of hell. More for me I guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't imagine anyone can take a broad sweep over one region's cuisine and say that IT is the worst in the country! :shock:

Dejah, you mustn't hang around a lot of Chinese people! :raz:

Only half-joking, sadly. The younger generation may be different, but the Chinese aren't exactly world leaders in open-mindedness. Much of the prejudice is directed at their own countrymen.

And never mind a neighbouring province, but neighbouring towns of the same province provide just as good a target for perjoratives. And fodder for unflattering limericks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it probably surprises me every time I hear one of these sweeping generalizations dumped upon the people in the next city. Though, Shanghai gets the butt of all dumping from Chinese all over China (imo). A Beijinger here made a mention of how the Cantonese eat anything that has legs, except tables..... and only the day before had I witnessed a large dog being pulled into a beijing restaurant's kitchen. anyhow.. no generalizing here

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...
Nervously I send my first post.

My husband and I were in Hong Kong the week, Red China opened up the borders for the first time. We were fortunate enough to be the second American group allowed into  Canton.

We were thrilled to go there at that time.

Loving Asian food and traveling extensively we were not excited by the food we received. We felt that, at that time (the 70's) the caliber of the procuce and meat left a lot to be desired. I do think there are many changes  since that time.

I, for one would like to hear what it is like today.

Beverly

I suspect that this is a common event, i.e., better quality food stuffs in the West. Several Vietnamese friends of mine from Vietnam say the beef used on phó here in the USA is far superior to the beef they had in Vietnam. Additionally, beef is generally much more available here in the USA than in many Asian countries.

I would like to add, based upon reading rather than travel, that many "authentic" Chinese recipes have many variations based upon where in China they are made or where the chef is from or how he/she is trained. So to speak of "authentic Chinese" food can really be misleading.

I do look forward to the discussions in this forum!

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

(An aside  --- can Chinese immigrants to the US really claim to be the sole inventors of chop suey? I saw an awful lot of chop suey shacks in Sri Lanka. ) :smile:

I am under the impression that "chop suey" really just means essentially "odds and ends", i.e., left-overs, which are thrown/cooked together.

Is this correct?

If so, then I would suspect that "chop suey" has existed in China and all over the globe since time immemorial!

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding "authenticity", I try ask a person from the area of China I am interested in, i.e., Canton, Sichuan, etc., which local restaurant is the most "authentic" for that particular cuisine so I can find some dishes which are more like those cooked in China than those normally found in the USA.

I know to expect that virtually all Chinese restaurants will have dishes "from" or "similar to" dishes from other locations in China. I usually have a hard time getting the chefs to cook spicy/Sichuan dishes hot enough...I usually order spicy 15 on a scale of 1-10 and still have to add chili oil :>(

Once I have eaten a dish I particularly like, I will check my reference library or check online for recipes and then cook the dish my way using/mixing the ingredients from the various recipes.

I know for sure that my next stovetop will have a powerful wok burner!

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Is san choi bau (you know, the minced meat-vegies in lettuce cups) authentic Chinese or some Western-Chinese concoction?

And what about Chinese mustard? What is it made of exactly (I haven't had it myself -at least not that I'm aware of) and is it an authentic ingredient or borrowed/derived from the Europeans (like Dijon mustard)?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

Link to post
Share on other sites
Is san choi bau (you know, the minced meat-vegies in lettuce cups) authentic Chinese or some Western-Chinese concoction?

What's your cutoff for "authentic" here?

Umm...whether it exists in China?

Then yes, it's authentic. You can get it (usually made with pigeon, I think) at many restaurants in HK serving typical Cantonese food, alongside the roast chicken and suckling pig and sweet'n'sour pork. As for whether it's a US-inspired invention (similar to deep-fried walnut shrimp in mayonnaise with broccoli), I don't know.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Is san choi bau (you know, the minced meat-vegies in lettuce cups) authentic Chinese or some Western-Chinese concoction?

And what about Chinese mustard? What is it made of exactly (I haven't had it myself -at least not that I'm aware of) and is it an authentic ingredient or borrowed/derived from the Europeans (like Dijon mustard)?

You can get both in Hong Kong.

The origin of mustard..... not sure.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...
With regard to the fat content and quantity of restaurant vs. home cooking, I once had a very interesting comment from a friend of mine from Hubei.

She wanted to see how I made my Mapo Doufu becuase she really loved how I made it, so she came into the kitchen while I was cooking for my guests....

Her main comment on seeing me cook was " wow! you cook like a restaurant cook would do...SO much oil used!"

She said that in her family, they would never have done things like seal the meat by 'passing' it through oil like I was taught to. There just wasn't the money to buy that much oil to use in such a fashion.

The thing is...I only cook like that for guests, not for ordinary everyday food. So maybe I slip into 'restaurant cooking' when I get an audience... :wacko:

don't you filter and reuse the oil? did you tell her so?

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I am under the impression that "chop suey" really just means essentially "odds and ends", i.e., left-overs, which are thrown/cooked together.

Is this correct? If so, then I would suspect that "chop suey" has existed in China and all over the globe since time immemorial!

in "The Chinese Cook Book" by Wallace Yee Hong (c. 1952), he states, "The basis of chow yoke (stir-fry pork) dishes is mixed vegetables. Even the well-known (in America) chop suey is of this family. In chow yoke, you can use whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand and whatever meat is available."

his recipe "96. Stir-Fry Pork Chop with Assorted Vegetables (Chow Pork Chop Kew)" includes all the usual ingredients for chop suey except that bean sprouts are not mentioned and a little tomato catsup is used. Does this make the case for a traditional chop suey in China?

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
Does this make the case for a traditional chop suey in China?

To clarify:

There is no "traditional" chop suey in China.

There is no "chop suey" in China.

You won't find "chop suey" in menus among the restaurants in China. It is a North-American thing. In spirit it is the Chinese way - stir-frying local vegatables with bitsy little chunk of proteins.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By missdipsy
      Two of my family members are pescetarian, one of whom is my picky daughter who only likes a few types of fish cooked in very specific ways so to all intents and purposes is mostly vegetarian. Many Chinese soup recipes involve meat or fish, or at least meat broth, so I'd love to find a few more recipes that would suit my whole family (I also don't eat much pork as it doesn't always agree with me, and a lot of soups involve pork so this is also for my benefit!). Vegetarian would be best, or pescetarian soups that are not obviously seafood based (I could get away with sneaking a small amount of dried shrimp in, for instance, but not much more than that!).
       
      Any kind of soup will do, although I'd particularly like some simple recipes that could be served alongside a multi-dish meal. But I'm always interested in new recipes so any good soup recipes would be welcome!
       
      Any suggestions?
    • By Dejah
      Re- thread on "favourite Chinese cookbook": There is much discussion on what is authentic, recipes that are not found in any of today's Chinese cookbooks. Muichoi suggested starting a collection in eGullet. This may be a way for all of us to start actually recording recipes that have been passed down through generations.
      Muichoi requested a recipe for dried bak choi soup. I am sure there are many "recipes" for this favourite. I can recount the different ingredients, but not the amounts - just a bunch of this, a few of those, etc.
      Start your engines, folks, and let's get posting!
    • By aroberts
      I went to chinatown in London today and came back with just a few items.
      A 1Kg packet of frozen mixed seafood.
      A squeezy bottle of hot chilli sauce
      Tin of Wasabi peas
      Bottle of Saki
      What do you always pick up from oriental food shops?
    • By infernooo
      Hi everyone!
      I am looking for recipes that you might consider as "home style" cooking that are common/popular in Shanghai (or around that area). Preferably things you grew up with that may or may not be widely known... I have a friend who was born and raised there and want to surprise them... (so asking them what their favourites or what they grew up eating is a NO-NO - they will see it coming a mile away).
      Any ideas?
      Thanks in advance!
    • By liuzhou
      Congratulations are due to Fuchsia Dunlop, whose "Food of Sichuan" has just been published in a Chinese language version - a rare honour here. I've ordered a couple of copies as gifts for local friends who loved the Engish version, but struggled with some language issues.
       

      《川菜》,
      中信出版社。
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...