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Cheese & Chinese Cuisine?


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I love cheese but I left China at age six. My parents don't like cheese too much, they say it's too greasy. I wonder if they would like sharp, hard cheeses.

When we first moved to America my mom wanted me to get accustomed to American food so she made me eat that disgusting Kraft pre-sliced cheese. I'm surprised that experience did not totally ruin all cheeses for me.

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Had my first taste of cheese when I was about 8 living in Hong Kong. I vaguely remember it was hard, strong cheese from England, offered by the English lady living in the next apartment. I didn't like it as my brother told me it was "jee see -pig poop" in Toisanese! I probably would've liked it as I love stinky tofu.

I came to Canada when I was 10 and ate Velveeta slices in our restaurant - grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese burgers. I loved the little round slices served as part of dainty trays at bridal showers. Then I found the squeeze tubes of cheese whiz.

Didn't REALLY taste cheese until I got married and mingled in the adult Caucasian world. :wink: Our musician friends from England introduced us to wine and cheese parties in the 70s. I loved caephilly(sp?), esrom, brie - whatever they had to offer.

My Dad, Mom and siblings will eat cheese, mild cheese, especially on apple pie. I think they all pretend to like cheese at parties, but they don't keep anything except slices in their fridge. Older Chinese may not like cheese because dairy products were not part of their growing up. The texture and taste may be difficult to get used to. :unsure:

We keep 2 or 3 kinds in our fridge, mostly for snacking, but I'd trade it all today (just today) for some stinky tofu! (to keep this in line with China and Chinese cuisine! :laugh: )

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I love cheese of all kinds, except anything made by Kraft that is orange/yellow in colour. The more aged and pungent the better. But, I also love the handcrafted raw milk cheeses that some Quebec and Maritime farmers make.

My first exposure to velveeta or Kraft cheese slices tragically caused or coincided with a monster migraine headache when I was about 10. Took me about half a century to be able to even look at the stuff *shudder*.

Edited by Ben Hong (log)
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Older Chinese may not like cheese because dairy products were not part of their growing up. The texture and taste may be difficult to get used to. :unsure:

That and the fact that most (older anyway) Asians aren't raised on cow or sheep milk and so don't have the enzymes required to digest the cheese. I have a Chinese friend and if she eats cheese it is apparent to everyone within a 1 mile radius. :wacko:

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!

Tommy Smothers

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Cheese is very much an acquired taste for anyone who didn't grow up eating it. I'm not Chinese, but didn't taste cheese in any form until I was six years old due to a severe dairy allergy. I still remember trying it and thinking it tasted horrible - like something that had gone bad. It was years before I grew to accept the flavor, and more years before I really enjoyed cheese.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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All of my immigrant relatives who came to the U.S. later in life avoid cheese. The younger ones, like young ones everywhere, eventually develop the taste for...pizza. When immigrant relatives my age or younger start eating pizza I know they've definitely become Americans. ;-)

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This ABC loves cheese. My earliest exposure to cheese was more of the bright orange American or cellophane-wrapped Kraft variety (of which I still harbor a secret fondness for--mainly in grilled cheese sandwiches). I didn't get to appreciate the real stuff until my college years. I prefer the soft and semi-soft types, but am not yet fond of the real stinky kind. I will eat some, and leave the rest for my hubby. My parents, like your relatives Hest88, will eat pizza or chicken parmesan.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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I echo everyone's view that it depends on when you came to the U.S. (or any other cheese eating country). I immigrated when I was seven, and my first experiences with cheese was also the Kraft processesed stuff. It's the kids who picked it up from the supermarket because that was what their peers were eating. My parents never touched that stuff.

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Wow. I didn't mean to stir such controversy in the other thread. :huh: I sincerely apologize if anyone was offended or if they saw me as being culturally insinsitive in some way.

I simply remember my experiences in China. This was a long time ago, though, in the early ninties, and I know that things have changed a lot there. However, whenever one of my Chinese friends would ask to try cheese that we had brought back with us from a shopping trip to Hong Kong, they invariably didn't like it. In fact, I can't think of a single instance when they did like it. Remember as well, these were Chinese who had been born and raised, had never been outside of China, and did not have much exposure to non-Chinese food.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Wow. I didn't mean to stir such controversy in the other thread.  :huh:  I sincerely apologize if anyone was offended or if they saw me as being culturally insinsitive in some way.

No need to apologize! It made for good discussion and sharing of experiences.

So, it seems that if you immigrated to North America at an early age, like I was at age 10, your first cheese experience was the Kraft slices - that some of us may still harbor a fondness for in grilled cheese sandwiches. :laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Wow. I didn't mean to stir such controversy in the other thread.  :huh:  I sincerely apologize if anyone was offended or if they saw me as being culturally insinsitive in some way.

I simply remember my experiences in China. This was a long time ago, though, in the early ninties, and I know that things have changed a lot there. However, whenever one of my Chinese friends would ask to try cheese that we had brought back with us from a shopping trip to Hong Kong, they invariably didn't like it. In fact, I can't think of a single instance when they did like it. Remember as well, these were Chinese who had been born and raised, had never been outside of China, and did not have much exposure to non-Chinese food.

Were you referring to my other post in "Only a Chinese would eat it? No, I'm not offended by this or the other thread at all! I'm sorry if I gave that impression! Both thread have been very informative. I'm very happy to be part of eGullet! You guys are very cool! :cool:

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Remember as well, these were Chinese who had been born and raised, had never been outside of China, and did not have much exposure to non-Chinese food.

There's absolutely no need to apologize. There are still likely hundreds of millions of Chinese on the mainland with little to no exposure to any nonChinese cuisines.

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I've always loved cheese, but definitely not as big a fan as my dad, he eats cheese of any kind. As far as I can remember, all my family members (the ones who I know) ate cheese. I think the main factors that my family enjoys cheese has to do with us not being lactose intolerant and we're generally adventurous eaters.

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My husband left China at age of 10 and let's say that he is not very found of cheese...

He only likes good parmigiano reggiano or Grana Padano, in chunck, with wine. One time, on a trip to Lodi (Lombardia-Italy), we sampled the raspadura lodigiana, it's a very fresh grana that is shaved from the whole grana. So delicius that my husband just ate raspadura for lunch. There must be hope for me!

I will consider myself happy when he will give a try to stincky cheeses.

Funny thing is my mother in law, she loves cheese! Grandma' just runs away at the sight of it......

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I think the main factors that my family enjoys cheese has to do with us not being lactose intolerant and we're generally adventurous eaters.

Lactose intolerance was the old wive's tale reason (what I heard) as to why not a lot of Chinese people eat cheese or drink milk. Same reason why Chinese people usually drink soy milk etc. Now whether this has any factual basis I don't know, but I find it a reasonable explaination.

I was born here (Canada) and I love pretty much all cheese, doesn't matter if it's stinky, runny, hard, old, young, orange, white, blue... But I did start with the Kraft slices when I was a kid, and I ate a lot of them straight from the cellophane wrapper. That was one of the standby after school snacks.

Edited by BCinBC (log)
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When the McDonald chain first opened in China, I wonder just how popular  cheeseburgers were -- as compares to a regular Big Mac..

I've been wondering the same thing. And I've heard of Pizza Huts and the like opening in China as well. Has anyone seen a menu from an American pizza chain in China? Are there cheese-less offerings or are people eating a lot more cheese than they used to?

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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According to a food show on my local radio. Cheese sales overall in Beijing is going up. There was also a reportage from a French restaurant in Beijing where the interviewed chef said that the sale of his cheese plate, with camembert, brie, gruyère etcetra had gone up and was the most requested thing. According to the programme, eating cheese seperatley was one hot trend for young fashionable Beijingites. Very interesting.

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When the McDonald chain first opened in China, I wonder just how popular  cheeseburgers were -- as compares to a regular Big Mac..

I've been wondering the same thing. And I've heard of Pizza Huts and the like opening in China as well. Has anyone seen a menu from an American pizza chain in China? Are there cheese-less offerings or are people eating a lot more cheese than they used to?

I also found this by google:

http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/cultu...chinacheese.htm

And this on fast food restaurants.

http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/agexporter/19...7/fastfood.html

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Lactose intolerance was the old wive's tale reason (what I heard) as to why not a lot of Chinese people eat cheese or drink milk.  Same reason why Chinese people usually drink soy milk etc.  Now whether this has any factual basis I don't know, but I find it a reasonable explaination.

I wouldn't call lactose intolerant an old wives tale. If something makes you sick, you'll most likely want to avoid it or develop an aversion to it. If cheese makes 90+% of another population sick, I can bet that cheese wouldn't be very popular with that population as well.

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Lactose intolerance was the old wive's tale reason (what I heard) as to why not a lot of Chinese people eat cheese or drink milk.  Same reason why Chinese people usually drink soy milk etc.  Now whether this has any factual basis I don't know, but I find it a reasonable explaination.

I wouldn't call lactose intolerant an old wives tale. If something makes you sick, you'll most likely want to avoid it or develop an aversion to it. If cheese makes 90+% of another population sick, I can bet that cheese wouldn't be very popular with that population as well.

I wasn't saying that lactose intolerance is an old wives tale, as it is obviously a well documented medical condition.

What I was trying to say was that the reason why dairy products are not widely consumed by Chinese people is because, according to an old wives tale, a large percentage of the population is lactose intolerant. And by "large percentage" I would guess (emphasis on guess) 1 in 4 or 1 in 5.

Now, if you are saying that 90% of Chinese people are lactose intolerant, that would negate the old wives tale. Is that a fact, and if so, where did you get that information? 90% is an awfully high number, one that might suggest that the cheese plate at the aforementioned French restaurant in Beijing is not as popular as previously suggested.

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Now, if you are saying that 90% of Chinese people are lactose intolerant, that would negate the old wives tale.  Is that a fact, and if so, where did you get that information?  90% is an awfully high number, one that might suggest that the cheese plate at the aforementioned French restaurant in Beijing is not as popular as previously suggested.

90% is the number I've heard as well.

http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW...9339/10239.html

Lactose intolerance usually is genetic (inherited). In many people of African or Asian descent, the body begins making less lactase around age 5. As many as 90% of Asian-Americans, 80 percent of American Indians, 65% of African-Americans and 50% of Hispanics have some degree of lactose intolerance. In contrast, most Caucasians (80%) have a gene that preserves the ability to produce lactase into adulthood.

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Well there you go. Still I can't wrap my head around 90% as an absolute figure, as I have seen all sorts of people of Asian descent eat pizza etc. Perhaps it is the phrase "some degree of lactose intolerance" which suggests that some of that 90% can and will consume dairy products, with minimal or shall we say "tolerable" symptoms.

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