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Jun 22, 2009 06:52 PM

How do you reconcile hole-in-the-wall and healthy?

Clearly, many hounds (myself among them) place a big premium on what I'll call 'value eateries.' These places, typically ethnic (the fantastic korean/chinese/italian/falafel/pizza/etc) holes in the wall that just put out great grub, without a lot of frills, at a great price.

Separately, many hounds (myself also among them) care intensely about eating healthily. This is one of the major drivers of the local, organic and sustainable movements. Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, thank you for educating us.

My challenge is reconciling these two foci especially with respect to the hole in the wall ethic places we love. It's tough to find out (sheesh, even to ask someone for whom English isn't a first language) where they source the great fish they use in the $2 sushi pieces, the pork in the delicious food truck empanadas, etc. We just saw Food, Inc and the bit about Monsanto "owning" all US soybeans got us thinking about this more. Is all the edamame from genetically modified seed and, if not, how on earth do you find "natural" soybeans?

Really curious to know how other hounds with similar interests think about and reconcile the competing aims of ethnic/value/discovery/deliciousness with local/organic/deliciousness/healthy.

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  1. Monday to Friday - good healthy organic bagged lunch and dinner most nights. Weekend and once during the week - hole in the wall. I also assume (maybe wrong) that some of the hole in the wall places like pho and chinese are somewhat healthy. Others I just live a little and hope I break even.

    1. I flip flop between healthy home cooked meals with lots of fruit, veg, local products, organic etc. etc. and whatever tastes good in a hole in the wall place. There is a place for all good food in my world. I can't eat out all the time, I start to feel a little unwell. I tend to like simple healthy breakfasts, and light healthy lunches. So it isn't a big deal when I splurge in a hole in the wall and eat whatever I want. I don't try to find places that only serve organic local food, I would be cutting out a lot of really wonderful ethnic home style cooking if I did. If it tastes good, I eat it.

      1. I simply don't care.

        I eat what I enjoy. Period. End of story.

        1. I eat most of my meals at home and they are usually healthy (whole grains, mostly organic veggies and meats, lower fat, minimally processed foods, etc.). But when I go out, I don't put any restrictions on myself and eat whatever I want -- and that may mean anything from white rice sushi with fish sourced from Japan to al pastor tacos from a truck. I know people who are insistent about eating sustainable, organic, healthy, etc. when they eat out, but I'm just not one of them as I hate putting restrictions on myself like that. This is a balance I'm happy with.

          1 Reply
          1. I don't think there is any correlation between "hole in the wall" and "healthy". Not all health food restaurants serve healthy food, and not all hole in the wall places serve non-healthy food. Ultimately YOU are responsible for what you eat where.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KiltedCook

              I think the OP was using the term "healthy" as a catch-all phrase for organic, sustainable and local.