Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Chicken balls aren't authentic?

My family were always adventurous eaters and we sought out cuisine from around the world. But let's face it, unless you have someone who is highly familiar with a given cuisine, you are going to have trouble piecing a proper meal together. This was the case with my family and Chinese food.

Oh sure, it's not like we thought that giant egg rolls or chow mein were authentic, but we felt we were doing quite well with our lemon chicken. However, since having the joy of eating with TM and his family who LOVE to eat (like my family), we have learned so much more.

We now not only know they types of dumplings to select, but we know what dipping sauce goes with each. I order my favourite curdled tofu soup and dip the bread sticks in. I happily eat my way through hot pot. Gone are the days of thinking that chicken in black bean sauce was as authentic as I could get (although I cannot stomach chicken feet yet).

It made me realize how far I'd come in my Chinese cuisine knowledge when TM and I went out for a meal with my sister and nieces. My sister ordered General Tsao chicken. We couldn't finish the vast amount of food we had ordered, so we took the leftover chicken home. My sister can't stand leftovers - we have no such dislike. However, TM had never had General Tsao chicken in his life. It was so caramelized and he kept laughing asking, "Is this what caucasians eat as Chinese food?" And all I could think was, "well, yeah..." Here I had thought that that was one of the more 'authentic' dishes.


Anonymous said...

I worked in a Chinese restaurant once and the stuff they served in the front wasn't what they ate in the back! I still have the image of the Grandma eating a chicken foot...*shivers*

I'm not adventurous when I eat, but sometimes I wish I was.

Susan as Herself said...

I went to Chinatown in NYC with a Chinese friend once many years ago. He ordered off a separate menu---one written in Chinese---they brought it to him without asking, and gave me the "Americanized" version in English. I ended up ordering with him off the "real" menu and we got several strange looking dishes---some of which I did not eat once he told me what was actually in them. I recall tiny baby birds, beaks and all... YISH. But overall I was glad I tried the autentic stuff. (And I am probably the only person on earth that does not like egg rolls.)

eroswings said...

I'll stick to the Westernized version of Chinese food. No chicken beaks and no chicken feet for me, thank you very much.

eroswings said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Snooze!

And Happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadians!

Snooze said...

HeartinHand: Since I stopped (for the most part) eating meat when I was 16, there are so many items that I don't eat that I try to eat just about everything else. I had never even thought of the cooks and staff eating 'traditional' food in the back of a westernized Chinese restaurant. Great visual!

Susan: lol - TM talks about the Americanized menu versions. Great you had that experience, but I would have avoided the baby birds too. [I'm with you on egg rolls!]

Eros: I hear ya! But some of the very traditional items are extremely yummy and don't involve parts of animals that we aren't used to eating (how I feel whenever my father eats haggis). Nothing wrong with westernized Chinese food though.

Eros: Thanks Eros!!