Asian food in Italy?
This may seem a strange topic what with the amazing quality and diversity of Italian foods, but here goes; I am lucky enough to be moving to Parma in November and will be there for at least a year. I intend to have a real immersion in Italian food while there, but I also think that every now and then I will crave some of my other favorite foods, particularly Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese. Do you know if there are any decent restaurants of this type in Parma, the surrounding areas, or Italy in general? What about the availability of ingredients for cooking such foods oneself? I'm a good cook so if I can set up a reasonable pantry of essential ingredients I'll be ok too (soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut milk, scallions, ginger, lemongrass, etc.).
Thanks for any help!
I realize this thread is several months old, but I'm hoping the OP will see this and post an update with the Asian findings in Parma? I am also moving to Parma starting in March for at least a year, and I am wondering if I should be stockpiling cans of coconut milk for the move.
Milan caters to a significant Japanese business crowd, Firenze has a near-native Chinese population, as does Genova -- all within reach of Parma. Genova also has a significant Ecuodoran population, and you increasingly find hole in the wall restaurants serving latin American food in italy, in the major cities (where hotel staff is often latin American).
I would not eat raw fish or "crudo" in Parma without declarations of freshness as dictated by law.
For some reason unknown to me Chinese restaurants abound all over Italy, so you should find some in Parma. Also almost any major city has a Japanese restaurant. Thai and Vietnamese are not as common, but Milan is not too far a trip from Parma, you will find every restaurant here as well as Asian speciality food stores.
Chinese restaurants certainly abound, but very few are chow-worthy, many have serious hygiene issues. Cooking for yourself is a very good option in the meantime. Bring some supplies to tide you over till you find a shop. I did a google search and a name that came up was "Dragone d'oro" via Bottego 1, Parma 43100 which got good reviews. Here's the link: http://www.tolasudolsa.com/scheda_loc...
I assume you're planning to learn Italian, for the moment try posting in English on local boards, definitely better than using online translators which are atrocious.
Here is a great Parma website/discussion forum for food. I did a search for sushi and this is what came up http://www.tolasudolsa.com/search.php?find_desc=sushi&find_loc=&Search=%3CSPAN%3ECerca%3C%2FSPAN%3E
You are entering an intense great food culture which is very strong on its own regional specialties but is broading out some
Re ingredients, italians are passionate about fresh fish - Aside from local cuisine, fresh deluxe seafood seems to be the preferred dining out choice for italians. they even serve "crudo" in mainline italian restaurants. So you should be able to find excellent fish in the markets to make you own sushi/asian dishes if the restaurants dont satisfy.
Asian ingredients are likely to be thin on the ground - if the big supermarkets dont have what you need maybe a health food place will - this one seems to have some http://www.tolasudolsa.com/scheda_loc... or you can ask at one of the chinese restaurants or query on the forum.
re: jen kalb
Thank Jen, that's very helpful. Part of the reason for my post was to sniff out how many hounds I'm likely to find in Italy. Local boards, that makes sense, but I'm not speaking Italian yet so...will use google translate for now. Wonder if I post in English.....hmmm.
Also just not sure about the culture in general, is there a lot of talk like this and is there interest in non-Italian foods? I will find out soon enough I guess. Usually posting on the Boston board and used to lots of discussions about wide variety of foods and so on.
Don't get me wrong though; I am totally psyched to just live and eat in Italy!
Id say there is very little foreign food altogether in Italy, tho you do see things like schwarma once migration reaches critical mass in the towns. In venice the last time we noticed quite a number of southeast asian workers and chinese coffee shop proprietors (bad sign for the croissants and coffee, Id say) but still I believe there is only one chinese restaurant in the city proper. In Brescia, there are a fair number of south asians, and I saw a bengali fruit store, kebab shops an a lady in salwaar kameez. Ive heard that in Piacenza, the next big town west of you, there are kebab shops too, maybe in Parma.
There are tons of food obsessed people in Italy, really crazy hounds, Id say - once you get enough Italian to read that food board, or for that matter go out to eat much you will see it but its different from the US, because Italy has a deep, coherient and regionalized food culture of their own - even with competing local nationalisms and variations in dishes. The cuisine in Parma differentiates itself from Reggio 30 mi down the road, for example. The people are also cosmopolitan and I am sure that. If you make friends and want to share your own traditions and interests that will be possible.
We will really apreciate your reports on the local scene once you hit the ground.