Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What makes Asian food Asian?

Does it become traditional Indian curry if I add Mccormicks' curry powder into a concoction of vegetables?

Does it become Pad Thai if I add scallions and peanuts into noodles?

Does it become Chinese if we add MSG to every dish?

I saw this lady on food netweork, grill un-seasoned chicken breasts on a griddle and call it "Chicken Satay" . She served it with peanut sauce made with peanut butter, chilli oil and lime juice. And she had the nerve to say "this would be the best take-out Thai food you ever had."
What the Furikake?

If you are modifying a regional cuisine, then say so upfront. Don't you be mixing curry powder in water and tell me it's an Indian dish. We don't use that generic curry powder to make curries.

We have a term called "Indian-Chinese" . Basically it's the Indianized version of Chinese food. I mean hakka noodles, Aginomoto(MSG), American Chop-suey.. these are all the things you will find in a Chinese restaurant in India and not in China probably (someone correct me here). And some of my family will openly accept that they prefer the Indianized Chinese version to the traditional Chinese food.

Wait a minute, do we even get anything "traditional" in this country or is everything changed to suit the local palette?


Rajitha said...

please don't get me started on food network..they only know how to make 1 million versions of chicken parmesan...and about indo-chinese...i love it..but i am yet to taste authentic chinese..coz chinese here is americanized and boring..if i may say so ;D

Valli said...

I agree with you and rajitha. When i landed in the US, I was glued to the FoodNtw for the first six months, learnt few tips, learnt about few italian dishes, and then later it became so repetitive and monotonous - i just stopped watching it.

oh and one of my friends who was touring china told me chinese dont have the fortune cookies :)

Sowjanya Yinti said...

You know, I wondered about the chicken parmesan too. Yeah, I still watch it though so I can see how ridiculous they are some times. I am a sucker ..what can I say :).

Valli - I never knew about fortune cookies. Have to go see where the heck we got these fortune cookies from :)

Miri said...

Fortune cookies originated from Japan and are not a Chinese tradition at all.
Apparently, it was the Chinese in America who capitalized on the demand for it from GIs returning from the war and began making fortune cookies which led to their instant popularity as part of a Chinese dinner.

Very coincidentally read about this today in this article:

And yes, misrepresentation seems to be the cuisine of the day!

Read more

Valli said...

hey sowjanya,

Thank for visiting my blog. Orange, green, purple - i wonder why we all are attracted to color a lot :) human nature i suppose . heheh the best part though - cauliflower rocks. I didnt get to crisp the florets much - they were bit softer.


Sowjanya Yinti said...

"misrepresentation seems to be the "
cuisine of the day!"

This is so true.

Didn't even know FC's were from japan. Oh the things you learn from blogging :)

Happy cook said...

I have never watched food network as we don't get that post here. And reading the comment from other guys here i think i am not missing that much :-)
Oh and i love your sari :-)

DK said...

America has a mix of so many cultures in its midst, so its not a surpise that they take bits and pieces of it in their cooking. Its fusion and sometimes they are jus a wonderful treat. Its like making and using best of both the worlds. Sometimes it sure gets pretty hard to know the authentic cuisine and we get so used to the customized ones that there are chances that we dont like the original ones! hahaha...It takes research and knowledge of an experienced to know the classic dishes!

I do have to do lots of reserach to get the authentic ones!Oh well this my offence meant for anyone else.

meeso said...

Looks like you have a lot of yummy dishes here to try...and nothing with curry powder, thank goodness :D I use to work with some girls and they would bring in curry powder and tell me to make something...and that is a really awful taste!