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May 1, 2000 08:26 AM

Favorite Inauthentic Dish

  • j

Being that this board is about LA, it just doesn't feel "right" that there are a number of posts requesting pointers for "authentic" foods. I don't know of anyone whose diet is mostly "authentic" anything. I grew up eating dinners that were around 50% Japanese food, 20% "american", 10% mexican, and 20% whatever, usually all on one plate.

What's your favorite "inauthentic" mixed up combination or dish?

Bonus points if it has a name, can be ordered at a restaurant, or would not be confused for "fusion" food.

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  1. Authenticity in all things is an absolute worth striving for. However, I have to admit the very occasional craving for a pastrami burrito at Oki Dog down on Pico, which is to say pastrami, chili, kosher dill chips and fried nappa cabbage wrapped in a giant tortilla by Okinawan cooks and served with about three pounds of fries. I find a chilled quart of Rainier Ale to be an efficient solvent for this delight.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pepper

      Authenticity is a two-edged sword. If everything remains 'authentic' then we see no innovation. Of course, like many people (I suppose), I sometimes look at authenticity with shock and at other times I love to see people take food outside the envelope.

      So, when should we seek authenticity and when should we let our hair down and let food go where it may?

      1. re: Jim Dorsch
        Tom Armitage

        Each has its place. Whether "authentic" or "innovative," good food is good food. And we all have opinions about good food vs. bad food. I'm fond of saying that "the classics are classics for a reason." In other words, there are certain combinations of tastes that have established themselves as winners over the ages. But that doesn't exclude the possibilty of new classics.

        1. re: Tom Armitage

          Also, y'know, there is a big difference between Macanese-chef-improvises-within-the-context-of-classic-Macanese-cuisine and Macanese-chef-tosses-in-lots-of-sugar-because-he's-heard-lo-fan-like-that-sort-of-thing.

            1. re: Pepper

              What about if the chef arbitrarily decides that he likes it sweeter, and adds sugar, even though all the rules say it's wrong. What about the clever substitution of ingredients in an otherwise consistent menu? What about trans-ethnic foods, like what's created by Koreans under Japanese imperialism, or Chinese who have migrated to *wherever*, or Mexican border foods, or Americans (and non-Americans) adapting "American" foods (burritos, pizza, hot dogs, burgers) in other countries.

              Where does that HK cafe food get classfied? Does it become authentic once it's from an "other" place? Are burritos more "real" once sufficient numbers of non-American Mexicans have adopted the dish? What's the role of time in the construction of authenticity -- is time just another form of distancing? Is the desire for authenticity reactionary?