Re: Chinese Chinese

1

No, authentic chinese food is rice, some tofu, some greens, some thin broth, according to Emerson. According to M/tch (beats me how he knows) it's authentic banquet food that's all about the bizarre textures.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:07 AM
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Q: why is authentic chinese food adventure eating?

A: why, because chinese food is adventure eating, that's why.

Q: oh.

A: that's right, oh.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:09 AM
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"Kidney flowers", mmm, sounds delish.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:09 AM
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authentic chinese food is rice, some tofu, some greens, some thin broth

And perhaps a freshly boiled cat.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:10 AM
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Let a thousand kidneys bloom.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:11 AM
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theory: china is just large enough to support a variety of culinary styles.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:13 AM
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It's this insidious bullshit of having a secret menu that's not for Americans. Imagine going to an Italian restaurant, seeing risotto or osso bucco at the other tables, then they bring you spaghetti and meatballs. "What about what they're eating?" "Oh, you wouldn't like that."

Plenty of Americans are willing to try something different - especially in a Chinese place where you usually order family-style. So, Beef with Broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken, and, oh heck, let's try Crazy-Ass Fish.

I'm not saying this is a majority view, but there's plenty of decadent coastal elites who'd be amenable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:14 AM
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All of them deeply foreign, strange, and probably communist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:14 AM
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Here in Minneapolis, jewel of the Midwest, we have all kinds of great Chinese food available, from the daily and routine to the fancy. And we also have some delicious greasy-spoon type Chinese, which hits the same spot that is hit by, say, two eggs over easy and hashbrowns.

We've got several dim sum palaces, the amazing Yummy where my parents can get the more recognizeable dishes and I can get the pea tips or the home-made chow fun noodles, we've got a trendy bar-restaurant (the Rainbow) whose food is a little precious for my taste, several Szechaun places (mmmmm! They know how to make things taste rich and spicy but also adjust for white-Minnesotan-ness), the Taiwanese joint with all the fake meats and the cooler full of lotus root and cold chicken slices, and even a tolerable Shanghai-style restaurant (although I can't even think about the delicious Shanghai food that is even now being cooked in Shanghai, where I can't eat any of it.) And the little deli in our giant pan-Asian grocery store, United Noodles! They do some fantastic sticky-rice-in-a-banana-leaf. And if you need more than that for regular dining, you must be spiritually deficient. Or Ogged. Ogged, why must you be so difficult?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:15 AM
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8 to 6 or 7, I'm not picky.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:16 AM
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Ass Fish

More commonly known as carp.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:19 AM
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How am I being difficult, little Frowny face? I went to this place and enjoyed it. I'm just explaining why the White Man isn't supporting the authentic Chinese food business.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:20 AM
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Authenticity is a mirage. Also, American Chinese food is a variety unto itself, and very underrated.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:20 AM
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sticky-rice-in-a-banana-leaf

Mmmm....


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:21 AM
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Oh, I'm too slow. But I wonder also: why the concern with authenticity? The problem with most cheap Chinese food is that it's deep-fried, sticky-sweet, and tastes pretty bad, not that it's not exotic enough.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:23 AM
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spicy but also adjust for white-Minnesotan-ness

Uh huh. I once went to a Chinese place with a Norwegian friend and she had something spiced with black pepper and was doing the "woo [wave hand in front of mouth]" thing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:26 AM
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12: By maintaining that the white man doesn't support Chinese food because it's too fancy, which is a statement that passeth all understanding.

(And around here, whitey supports LOTS of Chinese food. But we're not as sophisticated as you out there on the coast.)

The worse Chinese food I ever had was in (as far as I could tell) a converted brothel in Butte, Montana, cooked by the descendents of the original Chinese railroad-worker-restauranteurs who'd opened the place. I had extremely demoralizing egg foo yung, which I never order but figured was pretty basic. But what seemed like the whole town was there having dinner and seemingly having a great time, plus it was a weird building, so the quality of the food didn't matter too much.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:28 AM
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When it comes to Irish food served in those pub-in-a-box places that are now everywhere, the regular but fake dinner menu has inauthentic items made with delicious grassfed beef and pork and buttery potatoes and fresh salmon and green vegetables. But then there's the authentic menu, which only has blight-blackened potatoes, the bitter fruits of colonial oppression, and for dessert the bare chance of survival on a disease-ridden boat to Ellis Island. Naturally, the foodies beg for the second menu.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:29 AM
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In Chicago most of the Chinese restaurants have chop suey on the menu. OTOH, the meal I had in Chinatown was one of the best Chinese meals & one of the best meals for the price I've ever had.

A lot of countries' food is, in most authentic forms, pretty inaccessible to the west. Hell, even in Italy they serve tripe all the time, whereas you don't find that here. And a lot of the best meals I've ever had are at ethnic food places that are a bit chichi-New American-ized but not to the point of being "fusion"--Frontera Grill, Blue Ginger, etc.
The point is, there's a middle ground between Sweet & Sour Chicken & organ meats. (There's also the option of having a giant menu.)

But it's not that you can't get great Chinese food, more that it seems to have stagnated compared to other foreign cuisines.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:30 AM
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16: No, they actually have a proper six-inches-deep-in-dried-chilis menu, which they will amp up or down at your request. I was a little concerned, in fact, since it looked so "authentic". What astonished me was how the dishes we ordered were hot enough to taste hot but were also very rich and deep-flavored, unlike a lot of "hot" food I've had, where "hot" is all you can taste.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:31 AM
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In Chicago most of the Chinese restaurants have chop suey on the menu.

I have not noticed it on the menu at that strip of places in the mall in Chinatown across from the El tracks—you know the one I mean.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:33 AM
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There's a Pakistani place near here which has an Urdu only menu which appears to be basically offal. But I can't get the waiters to translate, because although they're generally fluently bilingual they don't know most of the English terms because whitey doesn't eat that stuff any more. Impasse.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:33 AM
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Can they describe what the relevant part does and where it's situated?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:35 AM
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The thing is, I also love certain kinds of bad Chinese food--not badly prepared food swimming in oil, but the sort of generic dishes that have been heavily Americanized into an almost state-fairishness. Really good inauthentic sweet-and-sour pork, for example.

When I lived in Beijing, a friend of mine and I would come back after teaching our late night class and get food at this little brick-walled place across from campus--it had student art on the walls and was wonderfully warm in winter. One night we got what was essentially super-thin chicken strips in batter with a pot of candied lemon syrup to pour over the top. Once I adjusted to the idea, mmmmmmm!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:35 AM
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23: I might try bringing in an anatomical chart.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:37 AM
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the bitter fruits of colonial oppression

You can actually get these in America, but only on a few college campuses. Yummm.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:39 AM
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OFE, it sounds like you're willing to eat offal, and they're probably not going to bring you brain or eyeball, so why not just point to something and trust in Allah?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:40 AM
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I had one pretty good Chinese dinner in London, but it was inauthentic in a different way from American Chinese food. Also, Boston's Chinatown is bigger than London's.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:40 AM
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But it's not that you can't get great Chinese food, more that it seems to have stagnated compared to other foreign cuisines.

I'm not sure that I agree with this. I've been eating Chinese (US-cooked, Szechuan-style) my whole life, and I swear that it's gotten worse - that I used to be able to get pretty satisfying dishes at most Szechuan places, whether in NYC, Miami, or suburban NJ. Now, I'm never really happy. Further, foodies I know have complained about what you can get in NYC and SF - not that there's nothing good, but that it's hard to find, harder than it was 15 years ago. I'm pretty sure Ruth Dreischel (sp?) has said the same thing.

But basically, I agree with Cala in 15.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:41 AM
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I went to a Chinese wedding and they had a 12 course dinner with all kinds of exotic traditional meals that were meant to bring luck to the couple, like smoked duck's tongue and crazy mollusks I've never heard of. It was quite fascinating.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:43 AM
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Frowner, have you been to Little Szechuan on University in St. Paul? Seriously fucking good. Also, I just went to East River Market on Hennepin in Northeast, and that was really fricking good, if Malaysian- and fusion-influenced.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:44 AM
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29: To extend a bit, lest you think that my tastebuds, not the state of Chinese food in America, have changed, I have a really superb taste memory - I still have a vivid recollection of a unique spaghetti and meatball (no red sauce) dish made for me by a family friend some 30 years ago, when I was no older than 6. I've never figured out what she did, and when I asked 10 years ago, she didn't recall the dish. But it was amazing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:45 AM
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27: I had a brilliant dish of sheep's brains in Brick Lane in London about a month before the first batch of vCJD diagnoses were published. I might try pot luck, but I don't go there all that often, as it needs a car.

28: but it was inauthentic in a different way from American Chinese food.

The menu was in Wade-Giles?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:45 AM
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Here in Pgh there is one Chinese place that the Chinese graduate students say is the most authentic. As far as I can tell it differs not a whit from any other Chinese place, except that it has more duck and fish with the same old sauces and vegetables. This leads me to believe that this place actually has the best secret menu given only to Chinese people, and that the Chinese graduate students are unaware that whitey gets the homogenized menu. But I could be wrong.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:46 AM
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Malaysian- and fusion-influenced.

IME, these are the places with decent Chinese.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:46 AM
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34: Where, Ned?

Also, I thought you were ex-Pittsburgh?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:47 AM
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just point to something

Duck intestine is a big component of the style (authentic, I dare say) of Chinese cuisine popular in the East Elmhurst section of Queens. I haven't ever seen fowl entrails other than livers and hearts (are livers and hearts entrails?) on a menu anywhere else. Somehow the notion of eating duck intestine just really puts me off. The non-duck-entrail portion of the menu is very good.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:47 AM
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(sp?)

Reichl.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:48 AM
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21: yeah, Chinatown's great. Or at least it was the one time I went.

In general, it seems like you can get better food here than say, Boston, but you have to work harder for it--there's more of a risk that the place closest to your apartment is actively bad.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:49 AM
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29: I was talking to the owner of a little Chinese place I liked about this, actually. He claimed it was an economic problem, basically. To do this style of food you need a) really fresh ingredients and b) more labour than most styles of food (meaning, there is more prep work). The industry is largely moving away from really fresh except at the high end, and that's not a comfortable place for most Chinese restraunts. If you are dealing with an essentially fungible labour force (e.g., your `french' cuisine being cooked by sout americans) a lot of them are less willing to work in a chinese place, because they typically have to work harder for the same money. That was his claim anyway, and it seemed to make sense. So these days, most of them are cutting corners.

It's kind of like a little Indian place I used to like a lot that closed when the owner retired, because he litereally couldn't find anyone willing to take over for him and keep the menu similar. He tried for 15 years or so, but his days were 5am to 9pm and nobody was willing to do that, I guess.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:49 AM
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41

36, Orient Kitchen on Baum Blvd.

Also, I am currently in Pittsburgh. Hopefully for only 2 more years.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:49 AM
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40 makes a lot of sense. The chef at the place I went shops for fresh ingredients every day and makes what's available, but he's a one-man show and charges a lot of money.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:52 AM
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31: Actually, that was the Szechuan restaurant to which I adverted (I was just collapsing St. Paul in to Minneapolis so as not to confuse the provincials.) Although Dara Moscowitz has reviewed another that she says is just as good, and I haven't tried that one yet.

There's (to be all Pan-Asian about it) a really good new Malaysian place (Peninsula) on Nicollet. Try the deep-fried five-spice eggplant....it's not good as a "dish" since there's no sauce at all, but as a shared snacky thing it's amazing.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:52 AM
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So, ogged, any recommendations for affordable places in Chinatown?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:53 AM
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For real adventure eating, go to China itself. Every region will eat something that will weird you out, but Guangdong is apparently the epicenter for this sort of things.

Here are some shots from a night market in Beijing where you can get centipede, starfish, etc.

Also fun Snake whiskey and fried duck head.

While I was in China, I broke with vegetarianism a little to eat fried scorpion.

The Chinese love of stunt eating is something most Chinese people seem conscious of and proud of. The anthropologist Robert Weller has a nice chapter in Discovering Nature where he talks about eating a "living dead fish", a fish which had been cooked just enough that its nervous system was still functioning and it could twitch. His hosts felt that serving this was a way to honor him, but one of his American students was so freaked out she burst into tears. He winds up giving an analysis Chinese stunt eating as an attempt to gain power thought to be at the periphery of society (it makes sense when you read it.)

The ecologist Vaclav Smil maintains that the Chinese habit of eating exotic species is having a measurable negative effect on biodiversity.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:54 AM
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41: Ah, I think I've heard that as well - both parts (supposedly-authentic, but generic-appearing).

Grumble.

Little Asia on Craig St actually has a separate sheet in the menu with organ meats, and I thought "aha!" But the results were uninspired.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:54 AM
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No.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:54 AM
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For real adventure eating, go to China itself. Every region will eat something that will weird you out, but Guangdong is apparently the epicenter for this sort of things.

Here are some shots from a night market in Beijing where you can get centipede, starfish, etc.

Also fun Snake whiskey and fried duck head.

While I was in China, I broke with vegetarianism a little to eat fried scorpion.

The Chinese love of stunt eating is something most Chinese people seem conscious of and proud of. The anthropologist Robert Weller has a nice chapter in Discovering Nature where he talks about eating a "living dead fish", a fish which had been cooked just enough that its nervous system was still functioning and it could twitch. His hosts felt that serving this was a way to honor him, but one of his American students was so freaked out she burst into tears. He winds up giving an analysis Chinese stunt eating as an attempt to gain power thought to be at the periphery of society (it makes sense when you read it.)

The ecologist Vaclav Smil maintains that the Chinese habit of eating exotic species is having a measurable negative effect on biodiversity.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:55 AM
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Bastard.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 10:59 AM
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My wife was served live sushi in Japan, her least pleasant experience in 2 years there. IT was a total "let's freak the gaijin" situation, which if course made it worse (the host proved himself a jerk on other occasions).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:00 AM
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I pretty sure we were served a plate of meal worms in China for the sole purpose of freaking us out.

Also, I found that in the backpacker tourist mecca of Lijiang, you can get American style Chinese food, if you want it. Also, pizza.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:02 AM
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I agree with Gonerill that authenticity is, like w-lfs-n, problematic. The bitter fruits of colonial oppression, like the blood of innocents, are an acquired taste, but some have a sweet aftertaste.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:02 AM
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40: That happens everywhere, unfortunately. I'm still somewhat in mourning for what used to be one of the greatest seafood restaurants I've ever tried: a Saigon crab joint run out of one of the standard four-story row buildings in the middle of a residential area. It shut down probably about 5 years ago now, because the grandmother wanted to quit cooking and she couldn't find anyone else willing to do the work.

I will never again have a $2 meal so delicious.


Posted by: JAC | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:04 AM
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51: The family I stayed with in Samoa handed me a heaping platter of live sea urchins -- cracked, but with the spines still moving -- for the same purpose. Man, did they taste foul.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:04 AM
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40 makes a depressing amount of sense to me. Given the expectation-pressure to offer a 50 item Chinese menu, it's maybe not an option to make 15-25 American-friendly but well-made, fresh dishes.

Since Ben's here, I'll mention Cook's Illustrated. They occasionally do Chinese dishes - not just several flavors of stir-fry, but actual attempts to recreate Chinese dishes. They almost always still with traditional restaurant items - beef with broccoli, kung pao, etc. And the results are invariably better than I've had of those dishes. So my contention is this: a menu of Cook's-grade recipes would suit American tastes while being superior to 90% of the restaurants in the country. Further, most of these dishes are very straightforward, and shouldn't run into the objections in 40.

So what's the deal? Beef with broccoli has like 6 ingredients per Cook's; why not just make it the right fucking way?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:05 AM
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52: Authenticity is problematic, but American Chinese food at it's best isn't that great, it seems.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:06 AM
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Pittsburghers take visitors to Primanti Brothers to freak them out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:08 AM
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44: You looking for Cantonese or something else? There's an excellent noodle place on Kearney between Sacramento and Clay (east side of Kearney, closer to Sacramento than Clay). Dunno if they do dinner, I've only been there for lunch.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:08 AM
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Isn't this the case for foreign food everywhere? I once had the dubious pleasure of eating at an "American" restaurant in Italy that was terrible. The only good part about it was the name - "Crazy Bull" - that went along with the Western/Cowboys & Indians/totally un-PC d├ęcor.

In the old USA Today buildings in Rosslyn (right across the river from DC) is the best Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant - China Garden. It's where Chinese tour groups in DC take their clients.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:08 AM
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53/55 sure, it's not just Chinese places or anything, but I think they are especially hard hit. The increase of centralized suppliers, and then centralized suppliers that do basic prep, etc. really hasn't helped the middle-cost restraunts at all. There was more variability before, but the better that average was better than now, I think.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:09 AM
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57 gets it right. I don't know anyone who's been to Primanti Brothers more than once.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:10 AM
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Kearney s/b Kearny, obviously. Oh the shame.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:10 AM
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57 gets it right. I don't know anyone who's been to Primanti Brothers more than once.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:11 AM
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Why must the double-posted comment be the one that includes the phrase "more than once"?

Also, I actually got a Movable Type error message, so don't blame me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:12 AM
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shivbunny and I went to Primanti's right after we got our marriage license! Along the lines of 'well, babe, you have to because this sandwich pretty much sums up Pittsburgh.'

He liked his sandwich.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:13 AM
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I used to share a flat with a girl whose parents owned and ran a reasonably well regarded Chinese restaurant in her town. We used to eat out at some of Glasgow's chinese restaurants.

There was the whole secret menu thing happening at some places, but my overwhelming impression was that it didn't really contain anything radically different from the 'public' menu. A wider range of things, maybe, but nothing wierd. It was a lot cheaper, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:14 AM
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44: You looking for Cantonese or something else?

I'm pretty n00btastic when it comes to the mysteries of different chinese cuisines, so, whatever.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:15 AM
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I don't know anyone who's been to Primanti Brothers more than once.

Do their sandwiches not taste as good as they look? Because they look fine to me.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:15 AM
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Hell, tracking down the photo link, I got hungry for it myself. They're great sandwiches! (except the inexplicably popular "cheesesteak," which is nasty).

Comment posting has been slow as shit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:15 AM
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68: They're not bad, but they do tend to lay on the stomach like a lead weight for a while.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:17 AM
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If you think a sandwich with french fries and cole slaw on it "looks fine", then I guess they taste as good as they look.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:17 AM
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Hey Cala, email me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:17 AM
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68/71 some food is only appropriate early in the morning, while seriously enebriated. Then it's perfect.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:18 AM
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Okay.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:19 AM
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If you think a sandwich with french fries and cole slaw on it "looks fine"

All the gyros I had in greece incorporated fries and some salad-like element, and many were fantastic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:19 AM
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The easiest and cheapest way to get authentic and delicious Chinese cuisine is to live next door to some Chinese people. At least, that's worked for me.

Of course, now we have to invite them over in reciprocation and I'm not sure what I can serve them in the spirit of cultural exchange.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:19 AM
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I do want to clarify that the cole slaw is vinegar-, not buttermilk- or mayonnaise-, based.

The biggest legitimate complaint with a PB sandwich is that the bread is pretty bland Italian, but on a sandwich that big, I don't think heartier/crustier would actually work.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:21 AM
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The 'cheesesteak' is pretty bland and seems to be made of meatloaf.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:22 AM
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76: Authentic American cuisine! Jello salad! Mayonnaise cassarole!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:23 AM
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I'm not sure what I can serve them in the spirit of cultural exchange.

Opium, obviously.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:24 AM
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I wonder whether food threads get more comments than sex/dating threads or "Bush Administration selling babies for kindling again" threads.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:24 AM
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Of course, now we have to invite them over in reciprocation and I'm not sure what I can serve them in the spirit of cultural exchange.

Traditional American cuisine, of course. Country ham, Shaker pie, chili, whatever. Crack yer James Beard.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:24 AM
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In Cleveland, we had a place that served sandwiches with coleslaw and fries in it, and everyone loves it. I hold that everyone loves it because they served two-dollar pints in the afternoons, but hey. I'd go along with the fries, but never the slaw. That's wrong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:25 AM
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I thought traditional American cuisine started with cream of mushroom soup. I kid, I kid.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:25 AM
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84: What, it doesn't?


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:27 AM
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81: All sex threads end up as food threads, so I don't think they can be separated for counting.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:27 AM
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83: More evidence that Cleveland just wishes it could be Pittsburgh.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:27 AM
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Food is a continuation of sex by other means.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:28 AM
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AWB is fundamentally sound about not putting anything as healthy as slaw on your chip butty (fries sandwich). Soubz understands when to eat it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:29 AM
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Samoans include live sea urchins in their sex in order to scare outsiders.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:29 AM
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90: And it works!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:33 AM
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The secret menu doesn't appeal to most of us. "Um.... It's something a female pig has that a male pig doesn't". Or tendon. It also may just be a "two-price" menu for people who can read Chinese.

Soub's explanation sounds good (labor-intensive), and I heard the same as helpy-chalk about endangered species (e.g. pangolin).

A lot of Vietnamese and Thai restaurants are Viet-Chinese or Thai-Chinese, following the American market.

There is a strong, ancient indigenous Chinese gourmet tradition, so it's not just authenticity we're talking about. It's like a high art which might not be making it over here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:35 AM
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re. Regional styles of Chinese, the tastiest Chinese restaurants opening in NYC over the past 10 years or so have been the ones billing themselves as Shanghai-style or Hong Kong-style. Has this been true elsewhere in the U.S.?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:37 AM
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One authentic dish I saw in Taiwan was a an 8-oz hunk of bamboo shoot slathered with mayonnaise. Another was a French roll with canned corn glued on, or a cocktail weenie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:38 AM
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Traditional American cuisine, of course.

I was thinking brisket, latkes, and tzimmes.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:41 AM
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What, no kugel?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:42 AM
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Whatever, man.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:42 AM
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94: But were those authentically Chinese, or traditional Puyuma cuisine?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:44 AM
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Portland's tiny Chinatown has been spruced up with a fabulous Suzhou-style garden and various other improvements -- so spruced up, in fact, that the low-rent Chinese businesses are on the verge of getting priced out. Oops.

Good Chinese food is hard to find here, but Thai restaurants are everywhere. Can't swing a dead cat without hitting one, so to speak.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:45 AM
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What does Jesus McQueen know about good eating anyway?!!?!?!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:50 AM
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OT, you guys can now buy my brother's book, cheap on Amazon.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:50 AM
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Although Dara Moscowitz has reviewed another that she says is just as good, and I haven't tried that one yet.

What's the name of the place? I'm skimming through her reviews for one I've missed.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:51 AM
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82nd SE is the real Chinatown. Even Hung Far Low is out there now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:51 AM
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Jesus:

Off topic, didnt you recommend a couple of good wines from the Northwest? A pinot noir maybe?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:51 AM
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("buy" s/b "pre-order". A distinction without a difference.)


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:52 AM
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but never the slaw. That's wrong.

Hmmm, better avoid carolina bbq cuz most of the sandwiches come with slaw. Of course, you could just get a platter and keep it separate.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:52 AM
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Clown:

that is very cool. I might put that on my list. I love that Monk/Coltrane live cd.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:53 AM
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104: I don't recall, but there are loads of good Pinots out here; it's the principal varietal in western Oregon. I'd be happy to recommend a few, but it depends on whether your tastes run to big California-style drink-alone wines or more subtle, French-style eat-with-dinner wines. You could email me, unless other people want to start drinking early.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 11:59 AM
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For authentic Chinese food in DC, Try Joe's Noodle House in Rockville, MD. My experience has been pretty much like Ogged's at Jai Yun. I haven't been adventurous enough to try the duck tongue, though.


Posted by: Brett | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:02 PM
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103: True. It's going to look odd in a few years when Chinatown has been reduced to the gate at one end, the garden at the other and maybe only Fong Chong in between.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:03 PM
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greater DC chinese has gotten better since Chinatown rents shot up and the cruddy places there closed. There's really good Taiwanese in Rockville, and dim sum in wheaton. In both places kitchen and waitstaff are not fungible short-order cooks, so the economic argument may be valid but not everywhere applicable. I haven't seen double menus here-- the closest is the specials board, and as long as you recognize the single character for meat and fish you can ask about the relevant dish.
No authentic chicago-style hotdogs though. sport peppers and celery salt, mmm-mmm.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:05 PM
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Clownae, congrats on your brother. I'll probably get it.

There's also a Mexican with the same name who wrote an unrelated review for Amazon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:13 PM
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Fong Chong and the Magic Garden.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:13 PM
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92: Right. I wouldn't be surprised if the complaints about Visas have to do not with the availability of chinese cooks, but the ability to bring over particular chinese cooks.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:16 PM
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I'll just note for apo's and Wrenae's and NCProc's and others' benefit that the new Korean place on NC 55 at the south end of Durham's budding Little Wherever is fantastic. It's called Vit Goal Tofu and it has a partner Korean grocery next to it.

This has actually been the key to me for finding really fresh/delicious Asian(-inspired) food (around here, anyway). A restaurant with an attached grocery store of the same variety is going to have great food. I don't know authentic from the lady next door but I know when I like something.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:49 PM
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"Authentic" food is anti-American. RMcMP gets it right.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:52 PM
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Leaving aside the question of authenticity, almost all the food I had in Taiwan was different than the Chinese food I've had in the US, and different than the food my American relatives cook. Very few of the vegetables and fruits seem to exist over here and some of the seafood was caught the day we ate it. This doesn't mean that all the food was good, though.

I'm not sure if "secret menu" means anything different than making special requests. Most of the time I've been to Chinese restaurants with my relatives in the US, they've ordered from the menu everyone has, but I remember a few banquet style meals where they probably pre-ordered ahead of time. Maybe some of those dishes weren't normally on the menu. I don't think I've ever heard any of my relatives care about authenticity rather than whether or not something was good. They also seem to like some Chinese buffet places - Chinese American versions of Hometown Buffet - that I haven't found particularly good at all.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:53 PM
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seafood in general should be eaten the day it's caught if at all possible. It's all downhill from there.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:55 PM
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lw: in DC Chinatown, haven't tried much beyond Full Kee, which is pretty good. Any suggestions on Rockville / Wheaton?


Posted by: Brett | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:58 PM
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I don't think I've ever heard any of my [Chinese] relatives care about authenticity rather than whether or not something was good.

Yeah, my feeling was that in China you really have an indigenous desire for tasty and different food which isn't tied to traditionalism. Of course, almost everyone concludes in end that Chinese food is the best, but only because it's tastiest.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 12:59 PM
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115: The Thai place down University Drive from our house (Thai Cafe) is also fantastic, though I don't know from authentic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:04 PM
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The Jamaican place in the same shopping center as Vit Goal Tofu is supposed to be good.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:06 PM
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"an indigenous desire for tasty"

The new tag-line for the McOrientalism Deluxe


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:08 PM
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115: I'm moving to Durham next month. What is this budding Little Whatever?


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:15 PM
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As a person who has lived in both Beijing and Pittsburgh for substantive chunks of time, I know that I gain weight in Pittsburgh and lose it in Beijing. I attribute this to the relative palatability of the Primanti Bros style cuisine versus the Beijing Hot Pot style cuisine. Good Beijing jiaozi (dumplings), however, are something of a happy marriage of the two.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:16 PM
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Thai places are everywhere in Richmond. Lots of Chinese take out. But Thai sit down places are what is opening up.

Some Vietnamese, but not nearly as much.

I still love my Indian Spice/grocery store.

Naan is goooodddd.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:20 PM
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125: Eschew the hot pot in favor of the duck. You'll plump up nicely.

Another alternative is Beijing's abundance of good Uighur fare. So filling and tasty!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:20 PM
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Shorter 126: Nan is god.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:21 PM
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125: Actually, I found that I lost weight like a crazy-weight-losing-thing in Shanghai, where I stuffed myself by day and night with delicious Shanghai dishes and various Chinese pastries (seriously, it really messed me up--I had all the money I could spend and then some, plus I didn't actually pay rent, plus I could eat whatever I liked and lose weight). In Beijing I thinned out a little but the local food seemed really greasy, as opposed to sweet, salty and oily as in Shanghai. I wanted to like Beijing better (historic sites, grid system for streets, culture as opposed to commerce) but I didn't.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:22 PM
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124: I call for a Durham meet-up given how many of us are here or relocating here. Little Wherever is roughly the 55/54 intersection and anywhere within a half mile in any direction. Several good Indian restaurants (with attached groceries), two great Thai places, two Korean places (one of which I know is great and has a grocery), some fantastic sushi and Jamaica Jamaica.

122: Speaking of Jamaica Jamaica, they have up years and down years. I don't know if it's changed management or what but they tend to be fantastic for two years and terrible for two years. Last I know (within two years) it was on another kick of being great. When they are good they are simply divine.

121: Thai Cafe? Hells yes, must try it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:22 PM
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Although Uighur pot-roast with the big bread was really good. And the lamb and rice dish! So tasty.

I think a lot of it had to do with having more and better friends in Shanghai, so I ate properly more often. In Beijing, I ate on my own for convenience a lot.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:24 PM
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124: Hey, welcome to the Bull City, ptm! I think we've just about got enough people here in the Triangle to start having Carolina meetups!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:24 PM
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129 -- Beijing was one of my favorite-ever walking around cities, though I was only there for a week. I liked the food there a lot -- it seemed to me like finding good food in Beijing was easier than in Shanghai; but the comparison is probably not very good since when we were in Shanghai, there was suddenly one more person in our party than when we were in Beijing, a very demanding person who took most of our attention away from hunting down tasty victuals.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:27 PM
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230 -- the place I speak of is new and is called "Hot Pot" if my memory from reading the Vit Goat Tofu threads at Chowhound this afternoon is correct. One person compared it favorably to Jamaica Jamaica.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:28 PM
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131: Da pan ji with the big flat noodles is what I really miss. Shanghai had a couple of good Xinjiang restaurants when I was there, and while I love Chinese food, it was great to have something completely different sometimes without spending what it cost to get halfway decent Italian or Mexican or whatever. Plus the waiters at the Xinjiang places were always so incredibly numbfaced stoned, which was somehow pleasant to behold.

Also, after the 1997 SE Asian economic crisis, a lot of Chinese could afford to travel to Thailand, and by 1999 or so a lot of Thai restaurants started to open in Shanghai, some of them pretty damn good.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:29 PM
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Beijing food is definitely more fattening, in the greasy/oily/heavy sense, than Shanghai food, I just found it all way less palatable. This is very likely because I freshly dropped my vegetarianism upon arriving and every sauce in Beijing has the specter of ground pork or chicken innards. The nice vegetarian places tend to be of the Buddhist variety where, for some reason, they do less vegetables and more fake meat. Which grossed me out, at the time.
I do love a good Beijing duck, but would have heartburn for the next 48 hours after only eating the crispy delectable skin.The meat always seemed to me like it was coated with vaseline.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:33 PM
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The meat ATM always seemed to me like it was coated with vaseline.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:35 PM
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Huh. Hot Pot is indeed new; I'd not heard of it before, but Google confirms that it exists. Thanks for the tip!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:36 PM
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This would be where I get all smug about living in Vancouver where about a third of the population is Chinese.


Posted by: double-plus-ungood | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:36 PM
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I used to get those duck-in-a-bag things you could get at fancy grocery stores, where it was half a roast duck vacuum-sealed. Schlocky, but spot-hitting in the dead of a windy winter.

Gosh, I wish I could go back to Shanghai. But the Shanghai I would go back to is the Shanghai of 1996, irretrievably swept away into the past. Ah, youth! Ah, time travel, when will you be invented?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:37 PM
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137: Chances are it wasn't vaseline.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:38 PM
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138: Hot pot basically involves boiling stuff in water or, if you're lucky, in some kind of broth. I generally find even excellent hot pot to be pretty mediocre fare. It's kind of fun and novel the first time you try it, but it's really nothing to write home about. When I eat out I prefer to let a trained professional do the cooking. If I'm cooking boiling is generally not my favored method.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:39 PM
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138: Apparently Sal's Birdland, next door to Jamaica Jamaica, started serving Jamaican food along with the wings which are their specialty; Jamaica Jamaica complained to their landlord who threatened to evict Sal's Birdland if they kept serving Jamaican food; so she moved into the new spot which is currently (as of 2006) takeout only. Meat, rice 'n peas, and patties are very good; sides are mostly skippable.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:39 PM
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Clownae, how is it that you now know so much about restaurants in NC?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:41 PM
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Chowhound is my restaurant resource.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:42 PM
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144: It's the reciprocal of this phenomenon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:43 PM
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(That is to say: I thought RMcMP's description of Vit Goal Tofu sounded interesting, so I went over to Chowhound to see what had been written about it, and the story about Hot Pot/Sal's Birdland caught my eye because I like West Indian food so very much.)


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:43 PM
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17: "Extremely Demoralizing Egg Foo Yung" would be an awesome name for a band. Or a blog, for that matter.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:46 PM
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146: So what's the version of Chowhound for gay bars called? </straight man>


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:46 PM
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148: I think DARPA should look into using it in the GWOT.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:48 PM
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149 -- "cockhound" sounds like it would work except Urban Dictionary says it refers to a heterosexual satyromaniac. Did you have something in mind, o straight man?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:50 PM
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Damn these food threads. Now I'm hungry. Sofa King hungry.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:51 PM
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A note that Vit Goal's menu is basically a forest of squiggles I am sure are probably Korean characters. There is just enough English to amuse in a vaguely guilty way.

Clownae, I was really curious as to how the hell you knew about Jamaica Jamaica. It's worth noting that whether in an up or down cycle their fried plantains have always been fantastic.

Hot Pot looks to be in the same shopping center (Jamaica Jamaica is actually in the shopping center next to the one where Vit Goal is). I must check it out ASAP. Rah and I live maybe two minutes from there, tops.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:53 PM
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Did you have something in mind, o straight man?

Well, you know, Clownae, shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:54 PM
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Oh, there's a restaurant called Hot Pot! I just thought Apo was talking about hot pot in general. Nevermind.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:57 PM
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154 -- God knows it's true.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 1:57 PM
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On the downside, Durham's Little Wherever is also a wasteland of strip malls and road construction. There's a bus stop in the center of it but getting to most places involves hiking down the side of a four-lane highway that only has intermittent sidewalks. This is mainly an FYI for ptm.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:08 PM
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Sukiyaki or Huo Guo, which I guess is what "hot pot" are a couple of my family's favorite dishes (as far as I can tell, the main difference between the two is the sauce). I've rarely had them at restaurants and they've never been as good there.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:09 PM
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"which I guess is what "hot pot" is,"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:10 PM
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I'm never going to get through all the comments, but in case no one else has already said it, the secret to getting the really authentic Chinese food is to go with an authentic Chinese friend. I had probably the best ever Chinese food years ago eating with a Chinese friend in China town. She ordered a few things from the secret menu and, as far as I could tell from the hand gestures and whatnot, described something to the server that the kitchen apparently made. Yum. Of course, when asked what we were eating, she somewhat sketchily maintained she couldn't translate in that tone of "you don't really want to know." So good, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:17 PM
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How does one distinguish between one's authentic and inauthentic Chinese friends?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:18 PM
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158: Yeah, hot pot at home is a lot better. And it does make for kind of a fun atmosphere, and no-one's stuck in the kitchen cooking for everyone else. Still though, it's not something I'd ever crave.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:19 PM
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157: I plan to get there in my pickup truck that burns hydrocarbons made from the hopes of puppy dogs. Also, I'll be running the air conditioning.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:25 PM
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161: By how they taste. Duh.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:25 PM
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160: The truly authentic Chinese restaurant experience includes at least one of the diners consulting with the waiter/waitress for fifteen minutes to half an hour. If you don't know Chinese, it may appear that there's a furious argument taking place, but really, it's just a routine discussion of what's available and how it will be cooked.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:26 PM
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163: Sweet. You'll be fine.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:27 PM
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161: The inauthentic ones are the ones you are just pretending to be friends with so they will order food for you at a Chinese restaurant. The problem with this approach is that they generally catch on and then you *really* won't want to know what you're eating.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:35 PM
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There's very little Chinese food in Albuquerque, and what there is is terrible, so I've never really developed a taste for it. (Lots of good Vietnamese food, though.) I haven't had many of the regional Chinese cuisines; I might like, say, Szechuan.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:38 PM
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119:

Bob's noodle 66, just north of the new Rockville thing.
The noodle 88 across the street is supposed to be good too. A+J Restaurant on the pike across from the monster BestBuy is good northern cuisine-- no seafood, low-rent setting, though. Hollywood Cafe in Wheaton is good, so is Woomi for Korean and Dessie for Ethiopian in the same stretch of University Blvd.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:47 PM
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160: This can all be accomplished in 4 1/2 minutes if you weren't there. The other 11 1/2 + minutes are needed to discuss the fashion choices of why the speaker is there with them, what tea white people usually like, or what do Sikhs eat at home, does anyone here really drink milk by choice, etc. etc. All very intricately done with complicated in-jokes and occasional parts acted out.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:53 PM
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164: "taste" s/b "drive"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:57 PM
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I recall wandering around DC's Chinatown (or "Chinatown") with another contributor to this thread for quite some time looking for a place to eat that looked decent. We eventually ended up going to Five Guys.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 2:59 PM
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"Chinatown"

Yeah. We have an arch, though! Very authentic.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 3:01 PM
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I'm not sure that this counts in the secret menu sweepstakes, but when we went to a Chinese-Indonesian Restaurant in Amsterdam, the English menu had only the Chinese dishes.


Posted by: aretino | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 4:27 PM
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Hey if anyone is still following this thread you might like to read this.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-21-07 8:32 PM
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Chinese food in the US seems to bear little resemblance to Chinese food in Hong Kong. If you were to ask for 'Chop Suey' in Hong Kong - or anywhere in China for that matter- the waiter wouldn't have the slightest idea what you wanted. Food definitely gets modified from continent to continet.

But China has retaliated - go to any Cha Chan Teng (cheap'n cheerful cafe in Hong Kong) and you can get a glass of "Yuan Yang" - a mixture of milk tea and coffee.

The ultimate weapon of course is "Chow Dao Fu" - fermented bean curd that, when deep fried, smells like your grandmother being cremated - at least at the point when her hair catches fire. This is the Cantonese response to Roquefort/Danish Blue cheese and should be seriously considered by the military for use in battle.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-22-07 12:29 AM
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I did some work for a Chinese pharmaceutical company once. The chief pharmacist was from Beijing and was very particular about his food. When I first worked there he gave me the run-down on all the local places complete with discussion of each chefs abilities.

He took us all out for lunch once to one of the local Chinese restaurants, and, as per earlier discussions on this thread, spent about 15 minutes in furious discussion with the waitress. What we got was fairly standard dim-sum but it was *so* good, and just insanely cheap.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-22-07 12:59 AM
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I guess I won't be surprising anyone by talking about all the good chinese food here in SEAC-SX, eh? actually one of the best things about it is the incredible south indian food. as good as the best I ever had in madras, but you can eat all the salads and raw vegetables what you sort of shouldn't eat in india. the happy citizens of narnia have basically sublimated all their political interests onto food, with which they are obsessed. they have more than one TV show that goes around rating various hawker stalls, and a great book too: makansutra.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-22-07 8:24 AM
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The trump cards in the Chinese food game are live monkey brains and live baby mice injected with honey. I haven't had either, thank you. The live baby mice dish is attested as early as about 80 AD.

In China, all the weird-food jokes we tell about Chinese are told about Cantonese.

I have had dog meat. It was gamey in a good way and was stewed in a very rich thick spicy broth, almost a gravy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-22-07 8:57 AM
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800 AD, if anyone cares.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-22-07 8:57 AM
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