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Is it possible to dislike an entire country's worth of food?


I have no problem with people who say "I don't like X dish, or Y ingredient" but I recently went out to lunch with friends and suggested Vietnamese, only to be shot down by one friend who said he doesn't like it. It always strikes me as odd that someone can't find SOMETHING to eat at a general restaurant (steakhouses, sushi places, etc, that specialize are obviously a different thing).

Part of the reason that it makes me confused is that I was (and still am, a bit) a picky eater, and I've never been to a place where I said "There is nothing here I can eat." I may be required to get a bit creative at places with a limited menu, but I never starve. And in this case, I wasn't suggesting a place limited to pho, but with a full range of Vietnamese dishes.

So what do you think? Is it possible to dislike EVERYTHING a country cooks?

  1. In theory, yes.

    In practice, no. It would be hard to imagine that anyone has tried every single food from a particular country.

    1. I have a friend who "hates" Indian food. Period. I really don't think she's ever been inside an Indian restaurant. Things like that drive me batty.

      14 Replies
      1. re: alliegator

        I thought that for years. It turned out that what I didn't like was fenugreek - methi. Curry-powder-flavored chip dips had traumatized me. I finally woke up, and now I even like, or at least can tolerate methi, and I luuuuuuurv Indian food.

        Clearly not someone who's had a wide range of experience or has much curiosity about what's out there.

        1. re: lemons

          It's harder if someone doesn't like cumin or other even more commonly used ingredient in Indian cooking. I was in India years ago (and I do mean "years"), when Indian restaurants were uncommon in this country. My husband then couldn't stand spice. I kept saying to the cook, "Nay masala!" and he'd bring a dish, saying, "Nay masala" but I could taste the heat and I love heat.

          So unless there is a way to pick out what taste they hate and eliminate it or get them to slowly accommodate themselves to it with baby steps, it's probably best to let them have their prejudices and eat other places with them.

          I had great lamb vindaloo for lunch alone yesterday!

        2. re: alliegator

          years ago i went to an indian restaurant with a group from the conference i was attending. i've never been overly fond of indian food. but was having a good enough time when i broke out in a massive case of hives (emergency room, antihistamines, then steriods).

          i had no idea what dishes (there were 10-12) had been ordered for the table, much less their ingredients. since i'm not fond of the cuisuine, i've never been inclined to track down the offending ingredient. so when someone suggests indian, i tell this story and we go someplace else.

          1. re: wonderwoman

            Same thing(ish) here, Went with folks from work, and after had Massive asthma attack. I worked in a hospital at the time, and went down to ER, I don't know what dish caused it, but haven't wanted to risk it since (25 years).

            1. re: wonderwoman

              If there's an allergy or something similar, that is certainly a very good reason to not like a cuisine! Sorry to hear that happened to you and breakfastfan :/

            2. re: alliegator

              Years ago I got severe food poisoning at one of the Indian canteens in the old Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong and it took me years before the smell of Indian food didn't make me nauseous by association (it made travelling around India a few months later quite difficult!)

              I still can't say I like Indian food much, but I can recognize that the problem is with me and not with the cuisine and I do make an effort to eat at Indian restaurants once in a while.

              1. re: mpad

                And I spent a night upchucking sea cucumber on Victoria Peak. Didn't turn me off to Chinese food.

                1. re: rccola

                  Wow. Guess you never can tell. I spent some weeks in Hong Kong once, and although naturally I ate a lot of Cantonese food, most of my meals were at the Indian canteens and "messes" in the fabled Chunking Mansions, the most monstrous and teeming rabbit warren of a slum I've ever set foot in. Enjoyed every delicious meal, never even hiccuped.

                  1. re: emu48

                    Not getting sick in Asia (minus Japan and maybe Singapore) one can only chalk up to "you were lucky, I wasn't."

              2. re: alliegator

                +1, alliegator. That kind of deliberate ignorance really makes me angry. I'm usually not that crazy about Indian food in general, but some of it- naan, coriander chutney, lots of other chutneys, and the food an Indian physician made for me to return a favor, is some of the best food I've ever had. So to hate a cuisine based on one or two dishes is just stupid.

                1. re: alliegator

                  I've known a few people like this. And a big part of the problem is that Indian food is highly aromatic. If one is turned off by smells encountered in a restaurant, one's appetite in general will be suppressed.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    And you make a great point. If the whole cumin/coriander type aroma is completely offputting, it would be tough to want to dive in.

                  2. re: alliegator

                    I don't like any Indian food. I have tried it multiple times and in more than one country. I just don't care for any of the flavor profiles I encountered and the look of the food is a little bothersome. But I can say I have tried it and put forth the effort. It is just not for me.

                    1. re: Jelly71

                      A friend of mine refused Indian food on the basis that she did not like her food pre-digested. My husband was like that for years but tandoori chicken and shrimp won him over.

                      So if you're ever stuck going to Indo-Pak, tandoori might be the way to go.

                  3. If one wishes to be kind there are several,answers...

                    Some people have never had a country's food and are food "timid" or anxious about new things.

                    Some people are ( truly) allergic to certain ingredients, for example fish sauce, which would be difficult to avoid in a Vietnamese restaurant, although not impossible. But it is easier for the truly allergic to avoid the restaurant.

                    If kindness is lacking....most of these people are ignorant and wish to remain so.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sinicle

                      I avoid most types of Chinese restaurants. (Note: I know that there are many types of Chinese/Asian restaurants, but I live in the middle of nowhere midwest, where there isn't a whole lot of differentiation.)

                      I'm allergic to soy. I don't have a lot of options at those types of places that don't have soy, and cross contamination is a big issue.

                      I was considering going to a Japanese grill type place - I figured if nothing else they could do a plain steak and some veggies. But when I called ahead to check, the chef told me that "It's ok, we make our own soy sauce here from scratch."
                      Guessing that it still contains soy, so...not really the confidence that a food allergic person wants.

                      I do however sometimes make these types of dishes at home with substitutes (though I'm guessing the flavor isn't exact), so I can't say that I just hate an entire country's flavors.

                    2. Maybe they just don't like the associated flavors, and just doesn't want to deal with it for lunch. I know people that when asked if they want to go to lunch and given a variety of choices that are country-based, Mexican, Chinese, etc... will have a preference, as well as dislikes. It's not about that person knowing every food from a country and hating everything.
                      I don't understand your point about a "general" restaurant yet you suggested Vietnamese.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: wyogal

                        What I found especially odd was that he likes Thai food, which uses many of the same ingredients.

                        What I meant by "general" is that it doesn't specialize in a single dish. For instance, I'm not a big fan of sushi, but I do like other Japanese foods, so if someone suggested Japanese and we went to a place that was all sushi, I would be seriously bummed. So when I say Vietnamese, I mean there are a variety of foods, not just pho.

                        1. re: Terrieltr

                          Personal preference, that's all. And maybe the lunch in question was not really the time for your friend to branch out.

                      2. I am no fan of the Mexican food that reaches my part of the world. Southwestern food is OK, but the platters of tough meat, refried beans and gloppy sauces that even well-regarded mexican places serve are not for me. Fajitas are the exception, but I'm told that that is Southwestern US more than Mexican. And chorizo is good.

                        And I've had plenty,PLENTY of Mexican food, so it isn't being "timid" or "ignorant" as you so wrongly suggest.

                        And I do not feel compelled to make an exhaustive survey of Mexican dishes before I say that I am no fan of the cuisine. I've made a fair sampling over many decades.

                        I know that many will disagree. That's fine.

                        51 Replies
                        1. re: sal_acid

                          Your point is well made..but comments about not liking an entire country's cuisine are rarely made by people, such as yourself, who ARE knowledgable.

                          1. re: Sinicle

                            How do you know this? I've known sophisticated (in the good sense of the word) people who simply don't like Indian food. I love it, but I accept that they don't and I hold no brief with them.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Well said, Perilagu Khan. Personally, Indian & Mexican are two of my fave cuisines in the world. I have some very close friends who can't stand either or both and, like you, I don't hold it against them.

                          2. re: sal_acid

                            Very hard to find good Mexican/taqueria food in many places. I lived in San Francisco and it was amazing. Now I live in Memphis and I just don't eat Mexican or taqueria food. Now whenever I visit the family I just destroy tacos and burritos.

                              1. re: sal_acid

                                But you stated "that reaches my part of the world" So you really do not have experience with Mexican Cuisine, which is not "platters of tough meat, refried beans and gloppy sauces"
                                So you are ignorant of what Mexican Cuisine is since you have opportunity to experience it yet you say you have made a fair sampling of it?.

                                1. re: chefj

                                  If they don't like it, they don't like it.
                                  again, personal preference.

                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    How can you say you do not like it if you have never had it?

                                    1. re: chefj

                                      They have had it. Not every single cuisine or dish from Mexico, maybe, but enough to know they are not a fan.
                                      No, I do not think a person has to try every single variation or dish of a certain country in order to have the "right" to say they don't like that cuisine.

                                      1. re: wyogal

                                        They have not had enough to know if they do not like it. The description of what has been sampled shows that they have not had a fair representation of what Mexican food is only crappy Mexican food some where out side of Mexico.
                                        They have the right to say what ever they want, but it is not based on an informed opinion.

                                        1. re: chefj

                                          And what percentage of a nation's dishes (as if we could even enumerate every Mexican dish) must one sample in order to have an "informed opinion"?

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            One needs to at least try one dish made by someone who is proficient and experienced at the cuisine to have any real information to base a blanket statement like that on.
                                            Do you think eating American food at an Applebee's in Kenya would be an and experience to base a opinion of all American cooking on?

                                            1. re: chefj

                                              Or Applebee's anywhere in the US, for that matter.

                                              1. re: chefj

                                                I rather doubt the OP's friend was basing his opinion on Applebinh's. Therefore, you have no call to condemn his dislike of Vietnamese cuisine.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  this sub thread was in response "sal_acid's" above post.
                                                  Sorry if you were confused

                                      2. re: chefj

                                        Look here, my friend. I have eaten Mexican food in Texas, Delaware, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, New Mexico and New York over many decades. That is an extremely fair sampling of what's available in the US. And I don't like it.

                                        I haven't had all of the dishes in France, Japan, China or Italy, but I like what I've had in the US, so I say I like Italian, French, Chinese and Japanese food.

                                        I take it you like your overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans. That is your choice, I would never criticize you.

                                        1. re: sal_acid

                                          With all due respect, having lived in Mexico I can say that it is not very likely at all that you've had a real sampling of the true range of Mexican cuisine. Your again reducing Mexican cuisine to "overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans" demonstrates that you have not had real Mexican food. Just because a restaurant in Texas, Delaware, Pennsylvania, etc. says it is "Mexican" doesn't mean that it really is. I'm sure that 99% of the "Mexican" restaurants in the U.S. specialize in the nachos, burritos and frozen margaritas. There may well be Mexicans in the kitchen (there are in French and Italian restaurants as well) and there may even be Mexican Americans eating there but that still doesn't mean they are serving Mexican food and not a version designed to appeal to the American (and even second and third-generation Mexican American) conception of what Mexican food is.

                                          If you want to say that you don't like "Mexican-American" food that would be fair enough, but it does not seem like you have had sufficient experience with the real cuisine of Mexico to be in a position to be able to pronounce whether you like it or not.

                                          To be frank, having lived also in Japan, the same would be true of the majority of Americans who claim either to like or to dislike Japanese food based on their experiences eating in the large majority of "Japanese" restaurants in the the U.S.

                                          1. re: mpad

                                            PA has pretty crappy Mexican food, says this PA resident who cooked his way through a substantial portion of Diana Kennedy's first three books, as well as a couple of Southwestern cookbooks, during 1982-87 (I lived in DC then, fwiw).

                                            That said, there's something recognizable and samey-samey about even good Mexican food (it's the chiles, dammit, and I didn't always use the hot ones). Since 1987, I've pretty much given up on making it. Italian is how I live, pretty much, when it comes to food.

                                            As for the original post, except for sushi, you kind of have to drag me to an Asian restaurant. I wouldn't say I _hate_ any particular cuisine, but with very few exceptions, I've never had much desire to make any of it at home, and that's the barometer for me, foodwise, whether I want to cook it.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              I'll give credit to someone who's cooked out of Diana Kennedy's books as having given real Mexican food a try and so fair enough for them to then say they don't like Mexican food.

                                              I have no problem with people not liking the flavor profiles in Mexican or any other cuisine, so long as they've tried a sufficient cross sample of the real thing to be making an informed decision.

                                              The truth about many ethnic restaurants is that they aren't serving a very "authentic" (and I know that the very meaning of authentic can trigger huge debates in Chowhound) food. This can be from a lack of availability of ingredients or because financially they figure they need to broaden their appeal or for other reasons. Most immigrants who open restaurants don't come with a lot of cooking experience but opening a restaurant is seen as the best path to operating their own business.

                                              Little of the Vietnamese food I've had here tastes much like what I ate in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese immigratns were ethnic Chinese from the south and so the restaurants they opened don't necessarily reflect the full breadth of the country's cuisine.

                                              But having lived in both countries, what is passed off as "Mexican" or "Japanese" in restaurants here is particularly egregious.

                                              1. re: mpad

                                                >I have no problem with people not liking the flavor profiles in Mexican or any other cuisine<

                                                What is a flavor _profile_?

                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                  Many cuisines have a set of ingredients and combinations of flavors that they draw on. That is what distinguishes the flavors of one cuisine from another. For example:

                                                  Japanese: dashi (katsuobushi and konbu), soy sauce, miso, sake and mirin. One way or another those ingredients will be in virtually every Japanese dish. Others common but not in every dish would include rice vinegar, nori, sesame seeds, katsuobushi, ginger, wasabi, Japanese mustard, daikon and lots of others.

                                                  Mexican: dried chiles (ancho, pasilla, guajillo, arbol, chipotle), fresh chiles, tomato, tomatillo, herbs (cilantro, epazote, hoja santa, Mexican oregano), nixtamalized corn.

                                                  Indian: lots of spices used in complex combinations (cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek, asafoetida, amchur, mustard seeds, turmeric to name just a few), chiles

                                      3. re: sal_acid

                                        " sal_acid about 3 hours ago

                                        I am no fan of the Mexican food that reaches my part of the world."

                                        Just curious to know if you have tried Mexican food in uh Mexico?

                                        And I really do appreciate your disclaimer (just trying to figure out what part of the world you are in...Middle East Coast USA? Yeah, I don't think I would like much of the "Mexican" food I would find their either...is the Italian good?)

                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                          Haven't been to "uh Mexico". Don't have to go to know that I don't like what I've had here. It is all made by mexicans and the restaurants are mainly patronized by Mexicans. I have every reason to believe that is authentic.

                                          I have a question for you. Why do some of you care what I like or dislike?

                                          1. re: sal_acid

                                            Speaking only for myself, I am curious because your opinions come across as very strong. People with strong opinions are usually interesting because they form those strong opinions for a reason.

                                            Anyway, there really is no "wrong" or "right" when it comes to personal taste. although sometimes the history behind those personal tastes can be interesting and informative.

                                            Happy eating! (because that's what it's really all about!).

                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                              You are making a sweeping generalization regarding one cuiziine (Mexican) by tasting a relative small sample of a different one (Tex-Mex). You can say you don't like Tex-Mex, even though you evidently haven't tried much that is actually representative of good Tex-Mex, but it is absurd to say you don't like Mexican when you have not tried it.

                                              By the way, Tex-Mex is rooted in Texas and not Mexico.

                                              This reply is intended for sal_acid.

                                              1. re: Virginian

                                                Virginian, you need to read the whole series of posts. I said that I tend to like tex-mex but not like mexican.

                                                I am well aware of the distinctions and have eaten lots and lots of Mexican food that is cooked by natives and appreciated by Mexicans as authentic. I have kept waiting to like it. I conclude that after decades of waiting to find a Mexican restaurant that I like, I don't seem to like what's served. Therefore, I must not like Mexican food.

                                                I can make any generalization I want regarding my taste, because its, well, mine. And I would know.

                                                You are free to love it and I wouldn't criticize you because we have different taste.

                                                1. re: sal_acid

                                                  Yep! I hear ya! It's a personal thing. I don't get why so many others seem to get so bent out of shape by other people's personal preferences. It's personal. It's not their business, quite frankly. :)

                                                  1. re: sal_acid

                                                    sal-acid: first of all I fully respect your well tested aversion to mexican food. you have clearly given it the benefit of the doubt many times and it just isn't something you enjoy. The only thing I wonder is if you have ever tried to figure out what the common denominator is. Is there one prevalent spice or combination of flavors that is pervasive in virtually everything you tried? Perhaps someone with a wider knowledge of Mexican cuisine would be able to shed some light on it. And really the only reason to find out is that you might be able to identify a few dishes that don't have it so if you 'had' to go to a Mexican restaurant there would be a chance to order something you could enjoy or at least not dislike.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Why is it so important that he prove to the Nth degree exactly why he doesn't like something?

                                                      You don't like it, you don't like it. You move on. Lot of food out there in the world that's not Mexican.

                                                      I've never really gotten the Chowhound concept that you're not a "real" Chowhound unless you eat everything. Because you're "adventurous" is often the justification. It's perfectly acceptable to like what you like, and not like what you don't like.

                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                            I know you wanted me to avoid you, but, I couldn't help it. I agree with you! :)

                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                          Exactly, Jay. But there are exceptions to the "like everything" dictat. To wit, you can't be a real Chowhound if you like fast foods, processed foods, and Chinese-American food. Food has to be "authentic" and lovingly and/or expertly prepared dontchaknow.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                            Oh come on, that's just hitting the beehive. CH's were just talking about monkey bread and Cheese Wiz two mins ago on another thread. And, Supertaster has quite the following on CHOW about the latest processed brand. So, go ahead hit the beehive...but don't sell some b.s. about what CH's don't accept...ain't true.

                                                          2. re: Jay F

                                                            Perhaps I wasn't clear. I admit and agree, sal doesn't like Mexican food. And I don't have a problem with that. I would not expect sal to jump up and down excitedly when someone suggests going out for Mexican food. For myself, when there is something I don't like, I want to know why I don't like it. Maybe that gives me a clue as to other things I don't like or won't like. It might also make it possible to enjoy or at least tolerate a meal that would otherwise be bad.

                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              If I were stuck in a country -- call it Mexico, for argument's sake -- where all I could eat were Mexican food, maybe it would matter to me why I don't like it, since, presumably, I'd be having to eat it every day.

                                                              But I don't live in a place of limited options, so I choose to eat food I know I like, which in my case is usually Italian, or French-ish American...Alice Waters-y food. I've been around long enough to know what I like, trust me.

                                                              Another thing. I really can't afford to spend money purposely on food I don't like--not when I have so many options to eat food I do like.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                I don't think we fundamentally disagree that sal_acid has a right to dislike Mexican food. And I agree, there is no reason to defend it to the nth degree.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                I wholdheartedly agree with you Jay F. All the world's cuisines have something to offer for everyone's taste. That something may be hard to identify for any number of reasons but not having identified it is not a valid reason to trash an entire cuisine. If you don't like something or think you may not like something don't eat it, and don't pass judgement on a foreign cuisine until you meaningfully experienced that cuisine in the country of origin.

                                                                1. re: mudcat

                                                                  I don't think anyone is trashing an entire cuisine on this thread. Some people are merely expressing their dislike of a cuisine and why they would rather not eat that cuisine again. They're not going around telling everyone that a cuisine is horrible and that others should be avoiding it.

                                                              2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                Good question, Kaimukiman.

                                                                I think cilantro tastes like soap. So there's that.

                                                                Guacamole seems slimy.

                                                                I like the mexican palette of spices that also show up in southwestern/texmex food.

                                                                But the gloppy texture of sauce/food that shows up on the plate is a turn -off. FWIW I'm no fan of manicotti either, which seems to be one of the few mistakes in Italian cuisine.

                                                                I despise refried beans, the Mexican equivalent of poi.

                                                                I have had very nice moles...I've also had dreck moles.

                                                                I like fish tacos, but I'm not certain that these are Mexican and not Californian.

                                                                Part of my aversion to Mexican food are the wretched pieces of meat that show up. Gross overcooking must be required.

                                                                I'm sure that there are things I'd like in the vast expanse of Mexico, but, to me, it is an untrustworthy cuisine.

                                                                I'm not trying to provoke anyone with these comments. I actually puzzled at the controversy my palate has stirred up.

                                                                1. re: sal_acid

                                                                  I think I'm correct in stating that fish tacos are a mainstay in Baja California. Perhaps Sinaloa as well.

                                                                  1. re: sal_acid

                                                                    Im not a fan of cilantro or avocado myself. I abhor restaurants that smother every single entree in sour cream and guacamole, then give you a choice of red or green sauce to smother it in. I agree that a good deal of what is dished out as refried beans has about as much resemblence to well prepared refried beans as cafeteria porridge does to risotto. I also have to admit that I like beans in general, I know a great many people do not.

                                                                    I grew up with the "authentic" version of old style alta-california Mexican food, from which -sadly - developed into much of what is now the mess of food you described in your postings. And it can be, in fact often is, just as horrible as you portray it to be, wretched pieces of meat and all.

                                                                    Based on that you have every reason to believe that most Mexican food is dreck. And just as you are unlikely to find really good Chinese food in many places in the US, you are unlikely to find really good Mexican food as well. The really disappointing thing is that most people don't realize how awful what they are eating is compared to what it can be.

                                                                    I am glad to hear that at least you have had some decent moles, one of the real high points of Mexican food when done right, and a bitter scorched curdled mess when done wrong.

                                                            2. re: sal_acid

                                                              "why care?" Because this is a food discussion site and if you post strong opinions, you invariably get strong opinions back. Why would you post that you hate Mexican if you don't want discussion?

                                                              I disliked it for years because men tend to love it so much. Most men I know. My husband and son, anyway. I disliked being overruled when I wanted Asian and winding up at the Tex-Mex/Mex burrito/taco counter. But then I had really good mole. The closest thing to great curry/vindaloo. Which I love.

                                                              1. re: rccola

                                                                I think it has to do with people expressing their opinion, answering the question posted, and others being rather harsh in response. There are some responses here that are not very nice. It's not merely a "discussion."

                                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                                  Have to admit didn't read them all

                                                          3. re: sal_acid

                                                            I hate to join in the fray against sal_acid, I just don't think that what they described is how I think of Mexican food.

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              I'm with you -- I will totally and completely accept that Sal doesn't like American interpretations of Mexican.

                                                              But it's really, really difficult to justify saying that you don't like ANY of the food from a given country, especially when that country is large enough to have rather distinct regional differences.

                                                              I've had Oaxacan and Yucatan food that didn't have a single glob of refried beans or cheese, and it was fantabulous.

                                                              The fact that it's made by Mexicans does't mean that it's traditional or authentic (or whatever word you would use to mean that it resembles anything found in Mexico) -- it just means that Mexican folks are making what the local populace is willing to consider "Mexican".

                                                              Where I live, Old El Paso is considered authentic -- this makes me weep a little....but I also know that it's pretty awful in comparison to "real" (used to live in a region with a very high Mexican population and was not infrequently the only Caucasian in the place. And the food was outstanding with no beans and *Mexican* cheese -- not shredded American cheese)

                                                              By the way - I hate refried beans...so while I understand where you're coming from, I don't understand how you got to where you are.

                                                              Next time you're in an area with a large Mexican population, take some time to hunt down a "real" mexican restaurant. I'm guessing you'll be pleasantly surprised.

                                                              (by the by -- being allergic to an ingredient commonly used in a given cuisine moves it out of the like/dislike category entirely...)

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                When our house in SF was under renovation, one of the workers was a charming and handsome young man of 18 who I quickly adopted as his crush on our daughter, referred to online as PhD Barbie, was so cute. I wanted to take him to an authentic Mexican fish restaurant on Mission Street and he wanted to go to...TACO BELL. Why? "The other stuff's like the shit my mother makes. I LOVE TACO BELL." Over-salted, over-fatty and beloved for quick cheap lunch by many of the Mexicans around here. The young ones at least.

                                                                As a mother who cooks, it made me cringe.

                                                          4. Depends on the person, obviously. With Vietnamese a lot of people go into them assuming they are basically American-Chinese, so they order a sweet and sour chicken, which the kitchen sometimes has the temerity to make from scratch or otherwise ruin. Or those items weren't available at all.

                                                            Alternately, sometimes people prefer certain foods, and it is more persuasive to say they hate a cuisine rather than forthrightly try to steer a group in one particular direction.

                                                            And some people have had a bad experience. If you have only tried grocery store sushi, its pretty easy to write of Japan as a source of quality cuisine.

                                                            1. I used to have a friend (emphasis on the past tense) who HATED "Chinese Food". Not Hunanese, or Sichuan, or Cantonese. "Chinese Food".

                                                              Interestingly enough, when we took her to a Thai restaurant in Berlin (Thai she liked for some reason, only the gods know why), she ordered a dish that was probably the most "Chinese/Cantonese" dish on the menu -- some sort of chicken chop suey type thing. Hilarious.

                                                              Of course, this woman would be content to live on white bread & mayo sandwiches with the occasional hard-boiled egg thrown in for the rest of her life.

                                                              It's no wonder we parted ways recently. Food *bores* her.

                                                              1. Some people are very risk adverse so if you mention a type of food they are unfamiliar with their standard response is "I can't eat that."

                                                                It could be Martian food.

                                                                1. It is possible to dislike certain flavor types or combinations that are typical for a particular cuisine. I for one say that I'm not a great fan of a certain cuisine or more (Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian) based on the flavor profile of the several dishes I've tried of these cuisines. It also comes from the fact that I totally and absolutely hate coriander / cilantro.

                                                                  I am not in any way unadventurous but I'd never voluntarily eat a dish from these cuisines unless I was certain that it a) does not contain cilantro and b) does not contain certain flavor profiles.

                                                                  I must say that there were 2 very "foodie" countries where I didn't enjoy a single dish I ate and that was Indonesia and Mexico (both varied travel for over 2 weeks with different food all the time). In both cases there were notable exceptions - I really enjoyed the food at their best restaurants which were serving fusion of the national and European cuisines.

                                                                  So in my opinion, yes, it is possible to dislike a certain cuisine.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: sasicka

                                                                    With you all the way. I'm in the cilantro-tastes-like-dirt+dental-fillings camp, and am not crazy about peanuts all over the place. So, Vietnamese, Thai, and some Mexican restaurants are iffy for me. Thanks for posting-- I was going to earlier but thought I'd get leaned-on.

                                                                    1. re: sasicka

                                                                      >I'd never voluntarily eat a dish from these cuisines unless I was certain that it a) does not contain cilantro and b) does not contain certain flavor profiles.>

                                                                      Please explain "flavor _profiles_".

                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                        Flavor profiles: some combinations just put me off and I can't tell which ingredients exactly are the culprits. Eg. I find coconut milk in some things great whereas in other dishes I can't stand it. Some savory banana dishes are great while a few others make me heave. It can be fault of the cook or a regional thing, but I want to avoid trying and trying and discarding one dish after another, so even though I might find one dish out of ten that I like, I prefer to eat other cuisines. They are so many of them!

                                                                      2. re: sasicka

                                                                        +1 I am not a fan of Mexican food or Indian food - I can't tolerate heat in the slightest bit, and I don't like cilantro or curry (as a spice). There are certainly dishes I can find to eat at these establishments, so if the group decides that's where we are going, I order 1) a cheese or chicken quesadilla or 2) naan, respectively. If someone asked, as the original poster did, I would reply with "I don't like Mexican food," even though, yes, of course, I'm sure there are lovely dishes from these cuisines that a dedicated chef could induce me to enjoy. But that's hardly an explanation I would give to a simple request for where to eat. It's just easier to say "Nope. Don't like it."

                                                                        1. re: sasicka

                                                                          I respect people who identify what they don't like more than people who dismiss entire cuisines, probably because so many people I've met who claim not to like things also admit to never having tried much or any of it.
                                                                          If someone tells me cilantro tastes soapy to them, or they don't like the flavor of curries or coconut milk, I feel like they have at least given certain dishes a try and identified what their issues were as opposed to dismissing them out of hand.

                                                                        2. Hmm. Probably not absolutely everything but, for example, I"m not crazy about Thai food. The salt/sweet/sour/hot combo is not my favorite plus I can't stand bean sprouts, cilantro, or peanuts - hard to avoid in Thai food!

                                                                          That being said, I would still be able to find something to eat at a Thai restaurant. Satay, Thai iced tea, cucumber salad, and angel wings. Yum!

                                                                          Also not crazy about Scandinavian/Norwegian, etc., but there are always very basic foods that I would still eat. Bread, butter, and a smoked meat of some sort, I guess. I know, though, that I wouldn't be all too thrilled if someone suggested Norwegian!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Violatp

                                                                            Well said! Although I must admit my sweetheart's Scandinavian relatives introduced me to Akavit, which makes up for a lot of "high" fish.

                                                                          2. Kind of related (your post made me think):

                                                                            " I hate United States food!"

                                                                            If someone says this what do they mean?
                                                                            How would Chowhounds respond?


                                                                            26 Replies
                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                              The point exactly, and you can see how they respond in the above thread.
                                                                              The fact is that most countries have a wide range of foods, flavors and regions and often the representation of those cuisines in other places are limited at best and sometimes completely hacked.
                                                                              If I based my opinion of Italian food on what I had in India, I would say that I do not like Italian food, when in fact It was just a bad representation of a great world cuisine.

                                                                              1. re: chefj

                                                                                That reminds me of the menus at the small lodges on the trails hiking in Nepal. The menus would advertise pizza, burritos, falafel, and a range of other international options. but no matter which you ordered the result would be the same--a chapati with tomato sauce, paneer and dal.

                                                                                1. re: mpad

                                                                                  So true - though Kathmandu had some heinous versions of those dishes (not that I ate them - dhal bhat all the way for me)! Reminds me of Greece some decades ago -- huge menus but all that was ever available was salad, fried calamari, and chips (fries).

                                                                              2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                American food is so mongrelized, variegated and protean that I'm not sure I could say what it even is. And because of that extreme variety, I cannot imagine anybody not being able to find something they like. But most national cuisines are nowhere near so heterogeneous as America's. They ramify from a common core. I don't think American cuisine even has a core.

                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                  You can make the same statements about most of cuisines mentioned here. They are huge places with diverse Influences, ethnicity and regional styles and dishes.

                                                                                  1. re: chefj

                                                                                    Not to the extent of American cuisine, in large part because the US is far more ethnically heterogeneous than most nations. And the US is a comparatively young nation without the deep culinary roots of just about any Old World nation you could name.

                                                                                    If you have many cultures, you don't have a culture.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                      Truly one of the most ethnocentric statements in this thread so far.

                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                        Probably true. But its OK with us.

                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                          I like most of your posts but on this one you're dead wrong. The biggest "problem" with American cuisine is its similarity over different regions (and I've been to all 50 states and sought out good local food in most). The main thing that brings such diversity as we have is differences in local ingredients, particularly coastal vs. inland. Other than that, and the localized impact of immigrants in some areas such as NYC and the Louisiana bayous, it is amazingly similar across the country. There are many ways this can be measured -- one would be local cookbook compendiums done by ordinary people, such as Junior League, where the recipes are indistinguishable in different regions, and have been since at least the early 20th Century. Compare this to China, Mexico, Italy, even France in some ways, where there are strong and clear local distinctions in cuisine, not just a few local dishes; this devolves from the fact that these regions have long historical roots as distinct nations (in the cultural sense) that were comparatively recently brought together politically but have maintained their traditions, unlike the US where most regions were internally cross-colonized. In fact, taking China as an example, there really is no such thing as Chinese cuisine, just many regional cuisines.

                                                                                          Note -- I am not in any way endorsing Junior League cookbook recipes; just using it as a measure of the near-absence of local diversity.

                                                                                          1. re: johnb

                                                                                            Martha has a nice book out now called Martha's American Food, and it covers (I think) all the regions.


                                                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                                                              I must not have made myself clear. I wasn't claiming American cuisine has extreme regional variation--although there is more than you give credit for--but rather that there is extreme variation in virtually every sizeable locale in the country. Every large metropolitan area has a bewildering welter of restaurants representing multiple cuisines from every continent on the planet (save, presumably, Antarctica). Heck, even smaller to mid-sized cities have a very wide array of cuisines from which to choose.

                                                                                              In most ways, this eclecticism is a good thing for the consumer, but it also functionally eradicates any core cuisine America had or may have. One cannot say that for the vast majority of other national cuisines. China, I'm sure is an exception, but most nations, regional variations notwithstanding, have certain common denominators that serve as a culinary touchstone. America does not, or no longer does.

                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                Well yes, but the fact that there are many "ethnic" restaurants, or at least restaurants that claim to be "ethnic" all over America, I disagree that this has had any impact at all on the "core" American cuisine. In fact, American cuisine became fairly homogenous (by the standards of many countries) long before most of these ethnic places showed up, by several decades, for the reasons I cited.

                                                                                                I'm not clear what these common denominators serving as a culinary touchstones are. Of course there are similarities, for example in the regions of Italy, but I still say Italy (just one example) exhibits far more regional diversity in its cuisine than does the US.

                                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                                  The proliferation of the multitudinous ethnic cuisines has decentered the core to the point that it no longer is a core. This ci-devant core is now simply one of many competing cuisines, and is arguably no longer even the most prominent among them.

                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                    I find it difficult you could believe that argument unless perhaps your point of reference is a major city, and even then I see it as a false argument, as noted above. Come out to the country where I am and you won't find any ci-devant core. The core is still where it was -- there has been no revolution. What little there is of "ethnic" is faux-ethnic, and while it exists it has had little or no impact on what was there before, other than perhaps to suck away some business. The availability of "Asian Chicken Salad" at Appleby's doesn't count for much in my book. Now the emergence of Appleby's and its fellow-travelers has indeed had an impact, worthy of discussion, but that is not an ethnic-based development

                                                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                                                      America is no longer primarily a rural country. Come in to the city where most of us live and maybe you'll get a different photo.

                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                        I don't know how to think about this exchange. If someone were to ask me to describe American food, I don't think I could since there is a decent amount of regional variation not to mention ethnic influences.

                                                                                                        In New York City, you have iconic foods like pizza, bagels, Jewish deli, etc. Maybe American food is comfort food like mac and cheese, fried chicken, burgers, hot dogs? But then it's not fair to exclude the different barbecue styles in the South. And then how about the Americanized-whatever (Chinese, Mexican, etc) that exists in most areas of the country...

                                                                                                        1. re: churros

                                                                                                          This is interesting. Sometimes it is harder to see culture from the inside than from the outside. To us it seems impossible to define American food since it looks so varied from the inside and we are aware of the history and variability of dishes. Maybe those on the outside see some commonality that those of us inside don't or maybe that perceived commonality is incorrect and based only on a limited exposure to the true amount of variability, as when American food is dismissed by Europeans as just hamburgers and hot dogs.

                                                                                                          Might the same be true for us here looking in on the cuisines of others? To us here with a limited experience of Japanese food filtered through what is available in restaurants here that may or may not be mediocre representations, Japanese cuisine might seem quite limited. But to a Japanese person they would see a lot of variability--What links sushi, tempura, yakitori, ramen, soba, tonkatsu, okonomiyaki, oyako donburi, sukiyaki and yudofu together? (And that list doesn't include hundreds of more dishes). They would be aware of the Portugese origins of tempura. Is ramen Japanese now no longer a Chinese dish? What about the yoshoku dishes such as hambagu, kareraisu and so on? Are they Japanese or foreign food?

                                                                                                          The same would be true of a Thai or Mexican or French or Italian who would be aware of regional variability and influences from other cultures (Chinese Thai for example) in their cuisines that we might not be aware of from an outsider's perspective.

                                                                                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                          Thanks for the suggestion that I come into the city, but I have already lived in NYC for 10 years and DC for 20, not to mention Switzerland for 3 and significant time in LatAm and the Carib., so I think that's sufficient.

                                                                                        2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                          I have had many Europeans state they don't like "american" food. When pressed they are usually referring to national chain type food, hot dogs and fast food.

                                                                                          When I hear someone say they don't like "Italian" or "Mexican" or whatever I assume they mean they don't like what is available to them. I don't take it as a testament to their overall knowledge of the country and cuisine.

                                                                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                            Once when I was in high school a recent immigrant Vietnamese girl told me that she didn't like American food. I asked her why. She said that it was always lukewarm and she didn't understand why Americans don't eat hot food. I couldn't understand why she would have this impression, so I asked her where she had tried American food. Her response: "Everyday in the high school cafeteria."

                                                                                            You simply don't know what you don't know.

                                                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                              I hosted a high school student from Thailand for a year. And after a week of school, on the ride home, she was so quiet. and finally said, "I have to tell you something. I tried this cafeteria for one whole week and I really hate it. I hope it doesn't upset you, but may I please bring my own lunch?". I just cracked up out of relief that THAT was what was wrong. I give that kid credit, she tried everything, but definitely had a lot of "American food" dislikes.
                                                                                              Her favorite when it was all said and done was tacos. We live in Texas, so I guess that counts.

                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                Reminds me of the day my husband admitted to disliking beans in any form. After weeks and weeks in our early married days putting up with my bean love, he had to tell me...or he would have gone his whole life eating them. Refried mashed beans are the only way inwhich he'd enjoy them...while I continue to love every bean God gave us. I remember loving his hesitation to disappoint me and my home cooking ways back then...but equally glad he spoke up.

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  A lifetime of beans---that's pretty funny! Yeah, the relief is a good feeling. I was so busy worrying about her classes being suited to her abilities, the other kids welcoming her, her room being comfy... but cafeteria food had never crossed my mind. I hated it, too.
                                                                                                  That's one thing about dislikes: if you've given it a few tries, and you don't like it, pipe up!

                                                                                            2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                              US Food:
                                                                                              Covered in sauces, usually heavy creamy or cheesy. Heavy on cheese. Strong often contrasting and domineering flavors. In a word "excessive." Excess and heaviness throughout. Every meal seems to be some sort of festivity. Desserts over the top in chocolatiness, creaminess, fudginess, carameliness, gooiness.
                                                                                              Of course, we know that this is not US cuisine, but if you eat at a couple of mid to low brow places out on some suburban boulevard, off the interstate, at a mall, near a theme park, you could think this is US food.

                                                                                              1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                And, living in the SF Bay Area, I occasionally LOVE that cuisine at a buffet, especially. Of course, afterwards I'm sick for days, but it's totally worth it.

                                                                                            3. I think your final question/headline may not line up perfectly with the rest of your post. Maybe I'm misreading you and many of the responses?

                                                                                              I like most every cuisine, but in this context let's say you suggested Martian food. Maybe I tried it 9x before and never found something I liked. Sure I might find something I could eat and enjoy on this trip but I'd be likely to say I didn't like Martian food and could we go somewhere else?

                                                                                              I've never been to Mars so maybe I can't give an informed opinion about Martian food but I have sampled many of the Martian restaurants in my area..and haven't enjoyed them. It's of little use to me to hear that the Martian cuisine in my area bears little resemblance to what is available on Mars.as I won't be eating in Mars, but in my area.

                                                                                              Substitute Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Mexican, etc for Mars.

                                                                                              Sure, your friend could have likely found something to order but if you're dining with friends, wouldn't you rather pick a cuisine that they DO like?

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: 9lives

                                                                                                  My bafflement was NOT in his not wanting Vietnamese food. It was his declaration that he doesn't like the entirety of Vietnamese food. If he'd simply said "I don't want X today" I wouldn't have thought anything odd about it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                    Maybe it's just a case of that he hasn't liked the Vietnamese food which he has been served..and from his perspective, he doesn't like Vietnamese food?

                                                                                                    Again, if I sampled 9 dishes from a particular cuisine, and didn't like any of them, I'd probably come to the reasonable conclusion that I don't like the cuisine.

                                                                                                    We can have an intellectual discussion and conclude that there is "something" he might like, or he's ignorant about it, and he's never had it in Vietnam; but as a practical matter, maybe the guy just doesn't like the cuisine...It's based on his experience and he won't be eating it in Vietnam..but on his home turf.

                                                                                                2. I don't believe that was what your friend was saying. If I was going out to lunch with friends and we were discussing options, a Vietnamese restaurant would not be on the top of my list. Sure I could go there and find something I might like, but I'd pick other cuisines over it. So you don't have to dislike EVERYTHING a country cooks to say you'd rather not go to that particular kind of restaurant.

                                                                                                  1. I don't think it's entirely fair to say that a person is ignorant because they don't like a certain type of food. I'm an extremely open person when it comes to food and will try anything and actually can't think of anything offhand that I don't like. I generally love food. But some people are not huge fans of food, and that's okay.

                                                                                                    I'm extremely risk averse when it comes to physical stuff like sports, so I stick to the elliptical and never engage in team sports. I'm not ignorant for saying that I don't want to play lacrosse. I'm just not into it. And that's okay. I have a high tolerance for risk, on the other hand, when it comes to my work life. I'm not annoyed that other people don't - I know that everyone is different and it's no skin off my nose that other people make different choices than me.

                                                                                                    I think a person should be allowed to have preferences without being judged as ignorant or stubborn or willful. I'm sure there are areas in all of our lives where we choose not to try something new that we're either not particularly interested in or nervous about, even though we - in reality - could.

                                                                                                    And that's okay! :)

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: foxybee

                                                                                                      I agree totally! I could never take my Mom to a Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, sushi or Mexican restaurant. She's from the southern US but lived in New York for years yet she has an aversion to certain flavor profiles that would make it impossible for her to enjoy anything on a menu at these places. To be fair, she has tried Chinese and Mexican but it didn't go over well. I adore (real) Mexican food, it's my favorite cuisine and I will usually at least try other types of cusines.

                                                                                                      That said, there are foods I don't like. I've never liked coconut so I tend to avoid foods with coconut in it (coconut milk being the exception.) I know I don't like it because I've had it so trying it in a Thai, Italian or other dish is not going to convince me that I should give it another go. That doesn't make me ignorant; it's just a preference.

                                                                                                      I'm surprised reading some of the critical comments on this thread...everyone has a preference about something, whether it be food, clothes, a car or whatever. The fact is, not everyone likes the same things. It's what makes us individuals, but it doesn't make one person better than anyone else.

                                                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                        I think the criticism is more directed in the attitdue that comes with such a sentence versus the reality that most people have food they dislike.

                                                                                                        A significant portion of the food we try is food we spend money on - including food made at home, food eaten in restaurants, and prepared food products. And it is very understandable to not endlessly spend money on items we doubt we'll like.

                                                                                                        Also many culturally specific restaurants heavily favor a limited menu which for certain dislikes can greatly limit a menu. But I think the critics are coming from the place of "say you don't like cilantro/fried food/cumin/etc. - but not that you dislike X culture's food". As a statement it's not terribly helpful to find an alternative choice.

                                                                                                        Personally, I don't really enjoy food served in German restaurants (as they appear in the US) - but saying "I dislike German food" doesn't really give my dining companion an idea of a better choice. Does this mean that I'm equally opposed to Polish or Hungarian food? Am I just talking about Bavarian beer hall food - but a restaurant featuring food from Germany's north is ok? Is this just a knee jerk reaction to sausages and sauerkraut? It doesn't say very much because ultimately German cuisine is diverse in its entirety, if perhaps not in its diaspora restaurants.

                                                                                                        If I'm talking to someone about where to eat, then phrases like "I dislike spicy food/cilantro/coconut/dishes that taste like pad thai/raw fish/etc." are all helpful. I dislike Chinese food - not so much.

                                                                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                          Very well-thought-out, and nicely done. Thank you, cresyd.

                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                            I would consider it understood that, when somebody tells me they don't like German food, they are saying they don't like the German food that has been available to them rather than basing their opinion upon an exhaustive sampling of indigenous German cuisine.

                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                              While I think it is understood - I still persist that it's not helpful in terms of conversation about where to eat.

                                                                                                              If someone wants to hear about the summer I lived in Germany, my experiences with the food there, and my overall apathetic feelings towards it - I'm glad to bombard someone. But in the case of what do you want to eat - if I replied back to the suggestion of a German restaurant that I'd prefer a cuisine with more spicy options or a better selection of salads - I consider that far more helpful than "ick, German food".

                                                                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                it would also be considerably more mature, more polite, and less likely to have the person deposit you at McDonald's with a $10 bill.

                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                  Calmly stating that one does not like German food is not the same as blurting, "Ick! German food!"

                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                    Whether it's phrased calmly in polite language or started with "Ick!" - the contribution to the conversation is the same. It's a refusal without giving the other person a genuine point of response. Saying "I dislike German food" - (in calm, neutral language) could still provide a conversation with "what about Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, etc. food" with no real understanding as to why German food is objectionable.

                                                                                                                    For instance, I really enjoy goulash with lots of paprika and I'm happy to pay for it in a restaurant. So if such mentioned fictional German restaurant has a spicy, paprika full goulash - then I am more than happy to go. But that is all sorts of information not contained in "I dislike German food". While "Ick!" may not be polite, the general premise is the same.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                      If I calmly state my dislike for German food, you can ask why, if you are curious. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with the statement.

                                                                                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                  And that's a shitty base to form an opinion on.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    No it isn't. Normal people have fairly limited options to experience the world's manifold cuisines, let alone in their entirety. You do your best and you draw your own conclusions.

                                                                                                                    And just so you don't think I'm goring your Teutonic bovine, this applies to American food just as it applies to German. If a gal from Kiel told me she had tried American food several times and didn't like it, I would say "okay." I wouldn't call her ignorant, closed-minded and stupid, and I wouldn't try to convert her.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                      He. I wasn't thinking anything.

                                                                                                                      I've been following this discussion from the start, and I think I have to come down on the side of many here who say that, yes, it is impossible to dislike an entire country's worth of cuisine.

                                                                                                                      While one may have had any number of dishes from a specific country one didn't like, one can only then say "I don't like x dish from said country".

                                                                                                                      Granted, "one" can say pretty much anything as the day is long, and if some people don't like "German food", I won't waste my time arguing against that. But I will always have personal doubts about how many dishes of any given country one has had a chance to try.

                                                                                                                      As I noted below, I'm not a fan of Ethiopian food, b/c I genuinely dislike injera. That said, all the nice stuff on top of it is quite lovely. But I don't seek out Ethiopian restaurants, as there are about 10 cuisines I prefer over Ethiopian.

                                                                                                                      I guess it might also come down to country size and/or whether there are really huge differences between regions.

                                                                                                                      E.G., I would be more inclined to believe someone who says they don't like "German" food than "Chinese" food, given the many different cuisines.

                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                        But, effectively, it IS possible to say that you "don't like a country's cuisine." It is impossible to really, totally know ANY cuisine, to try every permutation of dishes. You can't even say that about your own country's food. Yet, everyone says they like "Italian food" or "Chinese food" or don't like "British food." In the context of human ability to try a number of flavor profiles or dishes, it is understood what is meant. By the same measure, people say "I like dogs" or "I don't like hamsters" or whatever. Even if they haven't met every dog or hamster.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                          You could say that, but I would still disagree with you.

                                                                                                                          There are a few German dishes I don't care for, but I wouldn't base my opinion on the entirety of German cuisine on that.

                                                                                                                          I'm just not a fan of blanket statements. And I've neither had dog nor hamster so far :-D

                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                            I have to agree with Perilagu Khan and Wawsanham. It's implied that when one says he/she likes or dislikes a cuisine, it's based on specific experiences and what's available to him/her. I think most people are not basing their opinion on the entirety of that cuisine. Or at the very least, they're willing to concede that they might have a different opinion on another variation of that cuisine (i.e. more traditional dishes, foods actually cooked in the country of origin, foods from a different region of that country).

                                                                                                                            And in response to cresyd's comments above that it would be more helpful for people to articulate why they don't like a cuisine....well, for me personally, I'm not going to spend five minutes trying to pinpoint exactly why I haven't enjoyed XYZ cuisine in the past when we're just trying to pick a place for lunch.

                                                                                                          2. I think that a huge part of disliking an entire cuisine can be blamed on certain ingredient culprits (disliking cumin/fishsauce/cilantro etc.) - but I also think that often "ethnic" food can get very easily boxed into limited menu range.

                                                                                                            In the US, I used to live on a small block that had 3 Indian restaurants - and other than a few small variations, the menus were identical. Mexican food is tacos, Middle Eastern food is hummus, falafel and kebabs. And so if those aren't dishes that are appealing, then there's little motivation to pursue those restaurants/cuisines, because often there won't be more options. And if there are, who really wants to spend the money just to find out if obscure item #54 is the one I like.

                                                                                                            Personally, if given the option of going to a German restaurant - I'd wrinkle my nose. A wide range of dishes/options on German restaurant menus that I'm used to seeing, don't appeal to me (especially if there are other restaurant options). However, I've lived in Germany for a period of time and enjoy many classic German dishes and foods. Just none that I have high expectations of seeing in a German restaurant. Should an occasion arise where I needed to eat in German restaurant, I also know that I would find something I could eat.

                                                                                                            So while I think it's highly unlikely of someone disliking an entire cultural cuisine - I think it's a very easy slide from "I dislike 99% of options at x ethnic restaurant, and thus never want to bother with any other food from this country".

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                              German food came to mind as soon as I saw this thread. Half of my family is German born and raised and I have travelled there many times and lived there as well. Of course, I didn't dislike absolutely every thing I tried but as a whole, it is a cuisine I do not like.

                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                I thought of German food as well. I spent quite a bit of time in Germany and never found much I cared for. I don't think liking the bread invalidates my position :)

                                                                                                                I also had another thought when reading this thread, "dislike" is a rather mild word too. It is different than"can't stand", "can't eat" "hate" etc. if a wide variety of a cuisine is not very likable to you, I think it is safe to say you don't like it in general. I certainly have entire cuisine preferences I can clearly rank order. I don't think there is anything strange about that.

                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                  Yeah, the summer I lived in northern Germany, I definitely lost weight. It wasn't that I hated the food or refused to eat it, but with the exception of eating fresh strawberries from the field, I have no amazing food memories from that summer.

                                                                                                                  Also, my experience with German restaurants in the US is that they fall under a limited scope of Bavarian beer hall food. And that I come closer to strongly disliking.

                                                                                                                  However, in general I think statements such as "I dislike all German (or Mexican) food" is likely to ruffle feathers because it's so widely sweeping and dismissive. I occasionally enjoy fried chicken, and there really isn't a legitimate food argument that I can think of to say fried chicken from other cuisines is fine - however shnitzle - yuck. I'd rather not order that from a restaurant, but that's different than not liking it.

                                                                                                                  But saying "I'm largely apathetic to German food, but they do excellent bread with cheese" - I don't see a major debate brewing over that.

                                                                                                                2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                  and I'm the other way round -- I'm of German heritage as well, and I adore Knoedel and sauerbraten and sliced ham and cheese for breakfast (it's not my day-to-day breakfast, but I love having it when I'm in Germany.

                                                                                                                  My dad's the same way -- doesn't eat it at home, but loves traditional German fare.

                                                                                                                  My mom -- who has not a drop of German blood, swears it's a genetic memory thing.

                                                                                                                  (and yes, sedimental - I agree that there's a gulf of difference between dislike and can't stand)

                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                    I am very fond of German breakfasts and the beers!

                                                                                                              2. Mpad's specifics on flavor profiles was interesting and certainly would help explain how one would not care to venture into the cuisine of a specific country or type. There is one, i think one, ingredient in Thai cooking which offends me. There for I avoid Thai food. I am sure I could find something that I liked in Thai cooking. However I do not choose to expend the time, money and risk potential illness to do so. Seems rational to me!

                                                                                                                1. In undergrad this chick I liked really enjoyed this Indian joint near by campus. So I took her there. It was some of the vilest food I've ever tasted. As a result, I've never been to another Indian restaurant. Some Indian dishes I read about sound delicious, but I'm not about to take another chance based on my singular experience.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                    That's understandable. Who wants to risk hard-earned cash on a meal they may very well not like? And who wants to endure a nauseating experience?

                                                                                                                    It's okay not to like things. Really, it is.

                                                                                                                  2. Like your friend, I thought I hated Vietnamese, but that was because I grew up encountering not-so-good Vietnamese food firstly in Australia, then much later in Singapore.

                                                                                                                    I got seriously worried when I was told I had to go to Saigon on a two-week business trip back in 2006, thinking that I may just starve to death unless I subsist on whatever non-Vietnamese food was available there.

                                                                                                                    But then, the Vietnamese food I encountered in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) was nothing short of a revelation - superbly-prepared dishes, made from the freshest ingredients: from top-notch restaurants to street-side stalls. *Every* meal I had there was a delight. It cured me of my Viet foodphobia.

                                                                                                                    P.S. - The "Viet" food at San Francisco's much-vaunted Slanted Door is crap.

                                                                                                                    1. Well, since I actually do enjoy Haggis, I guess I can't include the UK on this list :--)

                                                                                                                      1. Just to clarify, since many people seemed confused by my point. I didn't expect my friend to go to a restaurant he wasn't interested in -- I simply found his exact explanation odd. For the record, we ended up going to a Thai place, which was a good compromise, but made me even more confused as to how he can declare that he doesn't like ANY Vietnamese food.

                                                                                                                        39 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                          Did your friend talk in absolutes? If so, then the problem you have is the way he expressed his opinion. Otherwise, I don't understand your bafflement and some of the other posts that suggest a person is ignorant if he/she expresses a dislike of a cuisine.

                                                                                                                          What if, for example, I have not had good experiences with Mexican food in the past? Moving forward, I am probably not going to seek out Mexican food. If there are non-Mexican options, I will probably go with those. Certainly I don't feel the need to prove that I don't like Mexican food by trying every single dish. Am I not allowed to say that I dislike Mexican food?

                                                                                                                          1. re: churros

                                                                                                                            I guess the point is that this discussion is on Chowhound and there is an assumption that people commenting here have an interest in food and a curiosity in trying new and different foods. Lots of people don't have an interest in food--it is simply fuel. But for those who do one would hope for a certain curiosity to try new foods.

                                                                                                                            Lots of foods are acquired tastes. If everybody who tried olives or strong cheeses or wine or Islay scotch or caviar or spicy food gave up because they didn't like it the first time there'd be a lot of people missing out on a lifetime of good eating experiences. Sometimes you have to push through and and trust that the many many people who appreciate these things know something you don't yet and learn to appreciate them.

                                                                                                                            Wisdom is knowing what you don't know. Giving a try of an unfamiliar cuisine at one or two mediocre ethnic restaurants in the U.S. should be recognized does not provide you enough information to make sweeping generalizations about an entire cuisine.

                                                                                                                            Trying the burrito platter at the local cheap "Mexican" joint in the neighborhood and not liking the food because you find it stodgy is fair enough. Deciding after trying a few such "Mexican" meals that you don't like Mexican-American restaurant cuisine and that with a world of other culinary possibilities you don't want to waste stomach space eating at those types of restaurants again is also fair enough.

                                                                                                                            But dismissing an entire cuisine--one widely recognized as among the world's greats--as "overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans" on this basis is not right. One should perhaps realize that Mexican cuisine is highly regarded by other people with more experience in it and that UNESCO didn't recognize Mexican cuisine at the same time as French cuisineas an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for no reason.

                                                                                                                            One may or may not want to then persevere through and make an attempt to eat at better regarded Mexican restaurants in the U.S. or to read books by authors like Diana Kennedy or Rick Bayless or even to try going to Mexico to try the real cuisine in its home. Not wanting to make those efforts is fair enough, but then you also can't in fairness make the claim that you have experienced enough of Mexican cooking to make sweeping generalizations about it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                              I'm not obligated to keep eating food I don't like just to satisfy somebody's warped concept of fairness.

                                                                                                                              Lots of us on the thread seem have a big problem with people whose opinion differs from ours.

                                                                                                                              They should spend some time in self-examination.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                No one is obliging you to keep eating food you don't like. If you never care to seek out good Mexican food that is none of my business.

                                                                                                                                From the comments you have made, though, it is very clear that you have never had quality Mexican food. And yet you have made very broad pronouncements dismissing the entire cusine as "overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans". All that people are pointing out to you is that you have never had good Mexican food and so may want to keep an open mind about the cuisine until you have that opportunity.

                                                                                                                                Commenters are not concerned about your opinion being different from theirs. They are more concerned that your dismissal may discoiurage someone else from delving in to this complex and widely misunderstood cuisine. On the internet nobody knows you are a dog, as the old New Yorker cartoon goes. Those commenting on your post are doing so not to try to convince you to eat something you don't want to but to point out to others that your opinion on Mexican cuisine may not be the best informed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                  "From the comments you have made, though, it is very clear that you have never had quality Mexican food. And yet you have made very broad pronouncements ..."
                                                                                                                                  nah, no irony there......

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                    sal_acid has characterized the Mexican food he has tried as "overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans". This description is inconsistent with Mexican food as understood not just by me but also by several other posters here who are familiar with Mexican cooking, whether in Mexico or in good quality restaurants in the U.S. On the other hand it seems consistent with the food served at burrito platter type "Mexican" restaurants. Those with a familiarity with Mexican food will recognize that nachos, burritos, chimichangas and so on served at these types of restaurants do not bear much of a resemblance to food prepared in Mexico.

                                                                                                                                    On this basis several posters have broached whether it may be the case that sal_acid has simply not tried good quality Mexican restaurants and so would lack the experience to determine whether he truly dislikes Mexican food or rather dislikes "Mexican" food--the stodgy, heavy cheese laden stuff served at most Mexican American restaurants.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                      There was more to it than that one phrase. I just think people are making so many broad generalizations here, yet are condemning, yes, condemning others for what they view as broad generalizations.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                        The OP is a very broad question.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          and a faulty one, at that. IMO
                                                                                                                                          How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
                                                                                                                                          How can one say they don't like a certain cuisine without trying everything that that cuisine has to offer, or without extensive research and travel to be able to eat every single dish that country has to offer.......
                                                                                                                                          at this point, it is so much blah blah blah.
                                                                                                                                          I really think that there are some people who use their "foodie" status or perceived status to hang over other people's head, or to prove some "I'm better because I know" kind of deal. I think this thread has brought out some of this.
                                                                                                                                          Of course, this is just my opinion, which is well, akin to that orifice that everyone has.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                            ROFL...don't lose your sense of humor in the process! The next great meals around the corner!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                              Eating a big mac now. :) with fries.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                    I am not requiring anyone I keep eating food they don't like but I am going to always encourage people I keep trying things. The majority of my diet considers of things that I have had to try more than once to like. While not a cuisine the following are foods I did t like the first time:

                                                                                                                                    Tomatoes, raw
                                                                                                                                    All fish besides flounder
                                                                                                                                    All shellfish
                                                                                                                                    All lettuce
                                                                                                                                    Anything remotely fennel or anise flavored
                                                                                                                                    All squash
                                                                                                                                    Pretty much all vegetables (unless you count corn which I do not)
                                                                                                                                    All nuts
                                                                                                                                    Cooked carrots

                                                                                                                                    I still despise raw carrots but I try them every so often to make sure. There are still a few things I dislike but I will not stop tarting unless I have an allergic reaction. I do try to avoid things that have made me vomit but if I did that I still would eat peas which I now love!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                      Of course you're not, sal_a. Differing opinions are just an endless two way street that's all...armchair pysch aside..if it's at all possible to dislike an entire country's worth of food requiring a good deal of travel and exposure... If you've been fortunate to have had that kind of travel log and food exposure-more power to ya. I'm still working thru my bucket list!

                                                                                                                                    2. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                      mpad, it seems that you are saying one needs to be an expert in order to have the right to say he/she dislikes something. And you seem to be defensive about Mexican food and a poster expressing his dislike of the cuisine. No need to be...we all have different tastes and that's fine.

                                                                                                                                      Let's look at it another way. Say I have only had Mexican food in New York City and I enjoy it. But people say that Mexican food here is mediocre. Does that mean I don't have the right to say I like it? Of course not. You can certainly say though that you don't know if I would appreciate Mexican food as you've experienced it.

                                                                                                                                      Obviously, likes and dislikes are shaped by experience. You may discount someone's opinion because he/she hasn't had the "right" or "enough" experience to match yours. But that's okay. Isn't that the good thing about the chowhound board? Over time, you figure out how whose tastes and opinions are the ones you want to weigh more and which ones you may want to ignore.

                                                                                                                                      Really, this is just food. Those posting on this thread and probably most who post on Chowhound are pretty lucky to have access to different cuisines and have choices.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: churros

                                                                                                                                        I'm not discounting someone's experience. I have stated many times throughout this discussion that someone who has tried Mexican American restaurant cuisine and not like it has that right. I have no objection to someone not liking Mexican American restaurant cuisine. For that matter I have no objection to someone who has had a sampling of good and authentic Mexican cuisine, in Mexico or in good restaurants in the U.S. or by trying cooking out of cookbooks by recognized authorities such as Diana Kennedy or Rick Bayless, and then decides they don't like Mexican food on this basis. I for example, don't particularly like Indian food, and that is on the basis of not only eating in a variety of Indian restaurants here, but also of a month of eating in India. I personally will still make effort to continue to eat Indian food because I believe that for me it is an acquired taste and lots of people whose opinion I respect very much appreciate Indian food. But if someone didn't want to do this in their case for Mexican or any other cuisine I have absolutely no objection to it.

                                                                                                                                        But what I have objected to is the dismissal of an entire cuisine on what must be recognized as insufficient evidence to do so. I have used Mexican as an example because I have lived there and in Japan and have personal experience with these cuisines and how they compare to what is available in restaurants here. There are lots of other cuisines that I do not have that much experience with but I'd recognize that I shouldn't dismiss all, say Vietnamese food because I think pho that I've tried here is boring.

                                                                                                                                        What would we think of a foreigner who had only tried McDonald's and KFC and proceded on that basis to dismiss all American food?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                          I would think it's a shame the foreigner only experienced American food that way and as a result would rather not give it another try. His loss, oh well. And if I really liked American food myself, I probably won't be eating many meals with that person.

                                                                                                                                          But really, who's being hurt by someone dismissing a cuisine? I guess I just don't get all the objections on this thread. I don't get calling others ignorant just because they don't have the inclination to invest more time and money in a cuisine in which they have not had good experiences with in the past.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: churros

                                                                                                                                            one of those lifes too short to get stuck in the details. have at it or don't. no one is getting hurt...and then there's more for me.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: churros

                                                                                                                                              No one's getting hurt but this is a forum to discuss food, so that is what we're doing.

                                                                                                                                              Let's say that this foreigner is writing in Chowhound about how American food is nothing but greasy soggy fried chicken and skinny little meat patties on steamed buns. Would you not contribute to the discussion, if not for the benefit of that particular foreigner but maybe for the benefit of others, by pointing out that KFC and McDonald's isn't the sum of American food and that there are lots of other and much better options to try.

                                                                                                                                              Would you not encourage him to try regional barbecue styles or the cooking of Louisiana or suggest better restaurants he might try before dismissing the entire cuisine of America?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                If the Mexican food Sal is talking about were limited to Taco Bell, you'd have a point, mpad. But he isn't. So you don't.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                  Taco Bell is hardly the only lousy Mexican food in the U.S. If you want to believe that when you eat your chimichanga and drink your frozen margarita with "premium" Jose Cuervo Especial tequila you're experiencing good and authentic Mexican food I don't care. But if you are then going out and trying to convince others that this qualifies you to make pronouncements on Mexican cuisine in general then I reserve the right to make a counter argument.

                                                                                                                                                  I find it funny how Sal seems to have the right to make his pronouncements on Mexican food but I don't have the right to make mine.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                    How do you know Sal hasn't experienced "authentic" Mexican food that even gatekeepers such as yourself would acknowledge as the real deal? You seem to labor under the illusion that everybody who experiences Mexican food approved by you would swoon in rapture and expeditiously recant their former cretinous ignorance. The reality is that some people just don't like Mexican food. Get over it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                      This is about the fifth time on this discussion that I am repeating that I have no problem with someone not liking Mexican food. No one is required to swoon in rapture. Lots of people may not like it. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT. I have pointed out that there are cuisines I don't particularly like.

                                                                                                                                                      I am no "gatekeeper" to authentic Mexican food but I have lived in Mexico and so have tried the real thing. And so I am in a position to be able to say that the large majority of restaurants serving "Mexican" food in here and serving food that would not be recognized as Mexican in Mexico. Calling a restaurant "Mexican" does not make it so if it is not serving Mexican food. Having also lived in Japan I can also say with confidence that if you think your teriyaki bento lunch special is representative of real Japanese food you'd be mistaken.

                                                                                                                                                      I can call a hamburger a 28 day aged ribeye steak but that doesn't make it one. But the situation here is that almost all of the steakhouses ("Mexican" restaurants) are serving hamburger (burritos) to people who don't know any better. If you know that you've eaten hamburger and on that basis don't want to try a 28 day aged ribeye steak then fine, But you can't go around claiming you've eaten the steak and you didn't like it 'cause it was crumbly and overcooked and the bread made it hard to appreciate the meat.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                        Fine. But you still have no way of knowing that Sal or anybody else on this site is not basing their opinion on the real enchilada. You're simply assuming that you're the only one who knows the score and that the naysayers are such because they are ignorant. If only they had my (your) acquaintance with REAL Mexican food!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          I'll play those odds. It wasn't only me commenting on the fact that Sal's description of Mexican food did not agree with what we understand Mexican food to be from our experiences. But then, it is not my acquaintance with REAL Mexican food that matters--it is that of 112 million Mexicans.

                                                                                                                                                          If Sal cares to clarify what exactly he has eaten in his Mexican restaurants and it included not enchiladas or burritos or fajitas, but included any of birria, barbacoa, chilorio, moles (poblano, manchamanteles, colorado, amarillo, negro, etc), chiles en nogada, pozole, menudo, cochinita pibil, papadzules or panuchos I'd be pleased to be proven wrong.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                      <Taco Bell is hardly the only lousy Mexican food in the U.S.>

                                                                                                                                                      You're the one who brought KFC and McDonald's into the discussion, not I.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                    If somebody said they didn't like American food (whatever that is), I wouldn't give a dam'. They're entitled to their opinions based upon whatever experience they have. Who am I to tell them they're wrong unless they've sampled this, this and this?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                      Then why bother posting on Chowhound at all. If we aren't here to talk about our experiences in food then what is the point. It isn't about giving a damn what someone likes or dislikes it is about talking about the how's and why's of food.

                                                                                                                                                      If someone posted on one of the boards that they hated the food at a restaurant that you enjoyed over repeated visits would you not post that your experiences were different. Again, if not for the benefit of the original poster but for the benefit of others who might dismiss a good restaurant on the basis of what you feel is an atypical experience?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                        Posting contrary experiences and opinions is one (actually two) thing. Taking personal umbrage because somebody you've never even met cannot see their way clear to admiring a cuisine you love is something altogether different.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          What umbrage do I have? I don't care whether sal_acid likes Mexican food or not. I frankly don't understand the idea that sal_acid has the right to post his opinions regarding Mexican food but somehow I don't have the right to disagree with those opinions.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                          But Sal *did* talk about his experiences in food. Then, certain persons told him he had no right to his opinions about said experiences because he hadn't had enough experiences, and experiences the certain persons deemed necessary in order for Sal to claim ownership of his experiences.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: churros

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah. What churros said. I can take or leave most Asian food, based on eating what mpad would probably consider "not good" Asian food (the only "good" I've had was probably during the year I spent working my way through Barbara Tropp's first book, c.1984).

                                                                                                                                                      But I don't need to take a trip to Asia to try food that's good enough for mpad to accept my dislike of said cuisine as a valid dislike of said cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't *hate* any of it (well, fish sauce has a high Ick Factor), but if I'm going out to eat, it's because I'm hungry, and I want to eat something I like, not prove some intellectual point to myself, or to be "adventurous" enough to be one of the Chowhound Cool Kids.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                        For the umpteenth time, I don't care what sal_acid or you like or don't like. You have the right to like or dislike whatever you want. If you want to lump Japanese, Korean, Chinese (the various regions), Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese and Malaysian cooking all together as "Asian" and decide you don't like any of it that is none of my concern.

                                                                                                                                                        But we are participating in a discussion here and statements were made that I felt I had relevant experience to comment on. I never said that sal_acid had no right to dislike Mexican food. In fact, I've said numerous times that he is perfectly free to come to that decision. I simply said, which I continue to believe, that having apparently never eaten real Mexican food he may want to reserve his judgement until he has had a chance to try the real McCoy.

                                                                                                                                                        The state of Mexican food outside of Mexico is particularly bad. The fact is that it would be difficult for most people casually eating in "Mexican" restaurants here to come to any kind of appreciation of what the real cuisine is sad. That is probably changing with time.

                                                                                                                                                        Have you seen the movie Big Night? The state of Mexican food outside of Mexico is like the state of "Italian" food in the U.S. in the 50s. If you've seen the movie you'll recall the frustration of the chef when all the customers kept demanding spaghetti with meatballs and red sauce and wouldn't try the risottos or any of the other great and authentic food he wanted to be cooking.

                                                                                                                                                        Mexican cuisine is so deeply misunderstood outside of Mexico that it is just a shame when it is misrepresented as "overcooked meat with gloppy sauces and refried beans." And one would think one of the functions of Chowhound is to be able to discuss this.

                                                                                                                                                        In Mexico most "sushi" is rolls filled with Philadelphia cream cheese dipped in soy sauce with minced chiles. I'd be equally frustrated with a Mexican who dismissed all Japanese cuisine on this basis.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                          I have never heard of Big Night but after a little research I'm off to search it out!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                            If I were to take sal_acid too dinner at a Mexican restaurant and condescendingly tell him to try a dish because it was "authentic Mexican," and he would like it, I'd be in the wrong. No question about it. People have their preferences. Let them be.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                              I've got an Indonesian friend who likes Vietnamese food a great deal, but doesn't like Thai food. Differences in flavor that I barely notice are very noticeable to him. He says eating Thai food is like eating flowers. To him Thai food tastes overly sweet and is overly scented/flavored with herbs. Is he a picky eater, yep. But he likes one and can't stand another.

                                                                                                                                              But I think when people are discussing where to go to lunch and someone suggests one particular ethnic food, a response of "I don't like american food" is not intended to mean "I won't eat a single thing they serve", more of an overall dislike of the majority of food from that region. For example if someone doesn't like the taste of garlic, then they probably aren't going to like the majority of food in a Korean Restaurant. It doesn't mean there is nothing they won't eat, just that their choices are greatly limited.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                Bonzer posts from KM and churros.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                  uhhh.... is that a good thing?

                                                                                                                                                  especially since i meant to say (last sentence) "It doesn't mean there is nothing they would eat . . ."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                    It is. "bonzer"'s an Aussie slang word for terrific.

                                                                                                                                            3. Some people are extra sensitive to any 'hot' or spicy foods. Vietnamese foods can be pretty 'out there' when it comes to such foods. Yes not all but I can understand why someone with such a reaction would shy away from what they assume will be too hot or spicy. Such is life. Not everyone likes to eat 1" cubes of pure white old mutton fat drizzled with clotted cream....like my old uncle in Winchester loved to.LOL

                                                                                                                                              1. I would guess that your friend is speaking in generalities. I am not a pedantic person either, especially when deciding something like where to eat lunch.

                                                                                                                                                I have often said I don't like Japanese food. I have eaten at many quality restaurants and have a friend from Japan come to my home to visit several times a year and cook for me. I don't care for any of it. I don't "hate it" but would never choose that cuisine over any other food choice I can think of.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                  I feel the same way about Japanese food. It's beautifully presented, but the flavors do nothing for me and the meals, in toto, leave me unfulfilled.

                                                                                                                                                2. Everything?
                                                                                                                                                  Can a person refuse to try a new cuisine? Absolutely.
                                                                                                                                                  Misplaced 'blame' happens all the time.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm with you. I've been a picky eater and to some I still am, but I've never turned down any place because I can always find something, and when I'm confronted with food I think I won't like, I have the opportunity to expand my own palate.

                                                                                                                                                    I've encountered this dismissal of entire country's foods many times and I spent a while trying to understand why it bothered me. When it came down to it, it had nothing to do with what the other person liked or didn't like, I have no problem with people having various dislikes. What bothered me about people who would say "I don't like French food" or whatever was more the attitude behind it. I guess it comes across as kind of arrogantly ignorant to me, sort of like saying "I refuse to engage other cultures or broaden my perspectives."

                                                                                                                                                    That said, I've ready plenty of non-arrogant, intelligent people on this thread who have said they don't like a particular cuisine, so I don't mean this as a universal. It just so happens that most of the people I know who say things like "I don't like Mexican food" are conveying an attitude that I've seen them hold in other areas of life as well, so their dismissal becomes a kind of microcosm of their personality.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                      that was a whole mouthful, hyacinthgirl. Well said.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                        I completely agree that dismissing an entire cuisine often feels more lazy and less willing to articulate what is or is not disliked.

                                                                                                                                                        Disliking ingredients, disliking cooking preparations that result in textures/tastes, disliking smells - these are all things that can be discussed. But I think what we're seeing on this thread is that the conversation becomes circular when it's just limited to a label of the cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Just a light note to this discussion: when my eldest son was about 7 or so, we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town that we liked. He wasn't feeling really well, and it was much too cold in the restaurant for him. He was miserable and hardly ate a thing.

                                                                                                                                                          For years after that, he refused to eat Chinese food or to go to a Chinese restaurant. He was adamant that he didn't like it. I finally asked him when he was a young teenish age if he didn't like it because he thought the restaurants would always be cold. The look in his eyes told me that I'd hit the nail on the head. Next time we suggested Chinese, we made sure he had a preemptive sweater with him (of course, he found out that no, Chinese restaurants are not all cold, and that he did, indeed, like the food).

                                                                                                                                                          If we hadn't had that epiphany, I wonder if he would have ever gone for Chinese again? He has had no problem with it since!

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                            If only being cold was the reason I don't like raw carrots!

                                                                                                                                                          2. User umpad mentioned Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong, and the disastrous results of eating there.

                                                                                                                                                            I on the other hand, find that one of the few places in HK to eat. Other Western, better to say non-Cantonese restaurants are either overpriced (often times they are in expat-heavy neighborhoods) or not worth the guff, plus I already found a chef or two in Chungking Mansions who makes gunpowder (a spice blend) for me; a big negative is the touts outside of the place, but if I'm too bothered one day that's what alternative entrances are for.

                                                                                                                                                            Taiwan's a similar case. I walked through a few night markets, all with junk/simmering junk/skewered junk, so an Indonesian restaurant and Japanese and Korean restaurants came through.

                                                                                                                                                            Though, I do enjoy few selections from the average dim sum menu, as well as some desserts (Hui Lau Shan as the usual example). Taiwan is basically waste for me no matter what-but if anyone knows the name of this dish's description...it was sweet pork (almost like brown sugar), "sandwiched" in between two thin, flat sheets of fried, flaky wonton noodle. Possibly consumed at a nice restaurant, but if by that vague characterization anyone has a guess, that'd be nice!

                                                                                                                                                            1. Some of us have highly developed olfactory and tactile senses so the odors emanating from Indian food...sushi.....and Thai food has prevented me from enjoying any of it that I have actually attempted to dine on.The texture of the raw fish is repulsive to me but I also can not stand the nori. But hey more power to people who can tolerate those cuisines.I have dined on pig snout....blood pudding.....fish head soup.....offal.....beef tongue....and many other interesting foods but there is something off putting to me about both Thai and Indian cuisines and sushi is just not something I want to ever eat.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I think it's possible to have a mindset against a country's food that would preclude them finding anything they could enjoy. Like Ipsedixit said, it's hard to believe that anyone could taste every single food from any single country, but I'll take it a step further and posit that in the majority of circumstances, the person making a claim like that hasn't tried much at all of that country's food, much less ALL of it, due to prejudice. Reminds me of a toddler who refuses to even taste an unfamiliar new food being offered - with clenched lips, they shake their head and won't even give it a shot. And the people who have tasted the cuisine of another country on a really limited basis and formed an opinion based on that are kinda doing the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                  Again, I ask, just what percentage of a nation's cuisine are we required to sample before we are allowed--sans derisory blowback--to state that we do not like said nation's cuisine?

                                                                                                                                                                  If I've owned five different Audis over the years, and every single one of them were lemons, am I required to continue buying different Audis rather than saying I'll never buy another Audi again?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting analogy (food vs vehicle). If you believe buyer beware in every aspect of life-than yes you have a point.

                                                                                                                                                                    Never owned an Audi but I've had tuna fish (one example) prepared a dozen different ways-loved some, disliked others. I still buy tuna fish.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                      Right. But at least you've had some positive tuna experiences to feed--so to speak--your ongoing tuna interest. If you had twelve straight terrible tunas would you spring for a lucky thirteenth?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                        If it was prepared by someone who knew their way around a tuna-yes I would. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        Something made you buy several Audi's...what was it?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                          Fear of being branded an Audiphobe by posters on a website. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                      Comparing cars to foods raises interesting possibilities for analogies. Do people who enjoy German food buy Volkswagons? Italian food/Fiat? Japanese food/Hyundai? Ford has been accused of really being an acronym for "Found On Road Dead", so do Ford owners have a secret yen for roadkill?

                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I agree with people who've stated that people with an aversion to a particular cuisine have either had bad experiences with it or dislike associated spices and cooking methods. And with the thought that there's probably something a person could eat at <insert restaurant type here> regardless, if invited to meet friends for a meal there, Mexican cuisine doesn't generally put cilantro in their sopapillas and Japanese cuisine isn't all raw fish. Since people can have a strong preference for vegetarian to carnivorous, raw over cooked, protein to carbs, etc., why wouldn't they find they prefer Cantonese to Sichuanese preparation and seasonings, or that they find they don't like Korean food? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but even so knowing a little something about how a cuisine is prepared and seasoned can seem off-putting to a person who doesn't care for curry or seafood or large hunks of sausage and so they choose to avoid it if they reckon they won't enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                                                                        < Do people who enjoy German food buy Volkswagons? Italian food/Fiat?>

                                                                                                                                                                        In a word, yes.

                                                                                                                                                                        I love Italian food. I don't need to eat anything else. Much of what I like that is not Italian per se is prepared simply in a way I recognize as Italian (and may go very well with pasta and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano).

                                                                                                                                                                        And my first car was a Fiat (and there was no truer acronym in my life than Fix It Again, Tony).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                                                                          Comparing cars to foods raises interesting possibilities for analogies. Do people who enjoy German food buy Volkswagons? Italian food/Fiat? Japanese food/Hyundai? Ford has been accused of really being an acronym for "Found On Road Dead", so do Ford owners have a secret yen for roadkill?
                                                                                                                                                                          Create the OP, this would be interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                            What about Volkswagens made in Mexico? What kind of food is that?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                                                                              Schnitzel quesadilla?
                                                                                                                                                                              Bratwurst burrito?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                And served with a cold Bohemia.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow! a bratwurst burrito sounds delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                                                                              not to nitpick, but Hyundai is Korean, not Japanese.

                                                                                                                                                                              a minor point, but indicative of how easily our perceptions and misconceptions can be arrived at.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting point! Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                I drive a restored Fiero. Does that mean my tastes are all stuck in the 1980s? :D

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                                                                                  I dunno, when was the last time you had some pasta salad?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's been a long time since I've had quiche, too, but not because I dislike all French food, I'd just had enough quiche, good and bad. Restoring an 80's car didn't lead me back to quiche.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                              I think that really is an interesting question (percentage or how much of sampling or dislike). To me, if someone really doesn't like the unique flavor profile or traditional flavors specific to a nations cuisine, then I would consider it safe to say they don't like XX food in general.

                                                                                                                                                                              Even if they can point to a few dishes that they (do) like, I personally wouldn't want them to agonize over a menu trying to pick out an innocuous salad or bread/carb choice or something "universal" so they could eat lunch. Or think.. "see, you like cabbage ( or bread, noodles, eggplant, whatever) so you really DO like XX food". I would prefer they just say they don't like it and move on to something more mutually interesting. I also wouldn't assume they don't know what they are talking about unless they gave me reason to doubt them.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, absolutely all of it, PK. You must take an extensive tour of whichever countrys' food it is that.....stop me, someone. PK, I think that if someone who quote "hates the food of...endquote" has tried a reasonable selection of well-prepared dishes from where-freakin-ever, they can say they don't like it. Percemtages? Can't help ya there, good man. But I think that if someone who claims to hate British food (I'm keeping the example simple for example's sake -) and has had the various roasts and sides, the fishes commonly served there (Plaice, Haddock, Cod, etc.), a fry-up, a tasting of sausages and local cheeses from varying vendors, all the puddings, low tea and high tea, and announces that it's just gross, well hell, I guess she knows what she's talking about! And as to the last? I guess it depends on what the Khantessa wants this time. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                  A sensible answer. And you're so right about the Khantessa. She's badgering me for a Caddy, for the love of God.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                    Does the Khantessa's desire for a Caddy mean she has a preference for large, expensive meals? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                    SO drives a Jaguar. He doesn't have any special interest in tea and crumpets, but didn't refuse haggis when offered, and enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                Agree with you (although it may not be due to prejudice but simple ignorance) and will go you one further.

                                                                                                                                                                                Often people have formed negative opinions based not just on a limited sampling of a cuisine, but on no sampling at all of a cuisine. We see this in this thread. Blanket condemnation is made of Mexican food based only on eating in so-called Mexican restaurants in the US, 99% of which exclusively serve food that would not be recognized in Mexico as Mexican food. In other words, it's not Mexican food; it's some kind of mongrel American food. While there may be some Mexican folks eating there, either they do it because it's the best alternative available to them, or because what they get from the kitchen is closer to the real thing as defined by them than what is served to gringos. Same thing happens with Chinese and Italian, among many others. There has been another recent thread about Chinese restaurant menus that is pertinent.

                                                                                                                                                                                Most folks don't seem to grasp that spaghetti with meatballs, nachos, chop suey, and so on (probably hundreds if not thousands of such dishes) are American dishes developed in the US for Americans, and unknown in what purports to be their own countries except as imports. General Tso's Chicken was developed as a banquet dish for deposed Chinese Army generals in Taiwan, then brought to and popularized in the US by its inventor -- it is essentially unknown in mainland China. Most pizza served in the US would look strange to any Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                                Nobody disputes the right of anyone to not like anything they choose to not like. Where a line should be drawn, and there is a lot of confusion about this in the posts in this thread, is that condemning something without ever actually experiencing it, even a personal condemnation, is not valid. It is simply wrong. When a person who does this, claiming mistakenly that they have tried it, is corrected, as has been the case in this thread, they should accept that their opinion applies only to that which they have experienced, and not simply repeat their invalid statement. It may be OK for them to opine that American-Mexican food is bad, but that in no way qualifies them to opine on Mexican food.

                                                                                                                                                                                Everyone is entitled to his opinion, provided there is a valid basis for that opinion. Without a basis, the opinion is worthless and can certainly be treated as such. And calling out such invalid opinions about national cuisines is a perfectly acceptable thing to do on Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Well, my mother does. She doesn't like Indian food. Of course I don't think she has ever tried Indian food, but there is no way I am going to change her mind now. I know the problem -- it is the spices most prevalent -- cumin, coriander, curry, etc are all spices she doesn't like. She also doesn't like cilantro -- she can do Mexican if they leave the cilantro off the tacos etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                And the older she gets the more restrictive she is.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                                                                  At least under that description the dislike lands squarely on your lovely Mother, not the country of food origin.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah yes, and having been her daughter all these years I understand that I can't change her. She is also getting more spice sensitive so she dislikes spicy food. That being said, she will eat Italian food (her two favorite places are both Italian) Chinese food, American food etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                    She is also an excellent cook and baker.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                                                                    Untried to change my parents mind but realized after taking them for Indian, which they didn't hate not would they seek out again, that they aren't as adventurous as they would have you believe. I think however that standard curry powder and fenugreek are the offending flavors that they dislike.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Yes it's possible, but rare. I'm not crazy about Ethiopian food, mainly because I don't like injera. And they serve that vile bread with literally every fricken dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                                                                                                                      Okay now you're in my neighborhood, depro. I'm half Russian, half Ethiopian. I've listened to folks put down my food culture my whole life. All my fricken life. Ha! You made the argument for why you can't educate the unwilling for me beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not unwilling. I ate it and I didn't like it. Once you eliminate the injera, the food is fine. I can't think of another cuisine in which the same component is used in every single dish of that country's repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                                                                                                                          You've had all the cuisine of Eth to know that you don't enjoy it. I can't even say that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And, if you didn't like rice you could just ask the restaurant not to serve it with your entree or the flatbread to be eliminated from your plate, etc. Same components in cuisine are the mainstay of their dish. Where have you been eating?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            As I said above, the food is fine without the flatbread. But can you really say you like ethiopian food if you don't like injera? That's like saying you like sushi, but you don't like rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                                                                                                                              Lol, um yeah you can. Exploring an entire new to you cultural cuisine means figuring out what you like & don't if you're doing it right. Injera isn't loved by all Etho's either.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I love sushi and I love rice but I don't love everything on the sushi menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Trying to expand my horizons not close my eyes takes a lifetime.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: deprofundis

                                                                                                                                                                                        Another injera hater here. Which is a shame, b/c I like the stuff they serve on top of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        But that spongy stuff that expands to 10x its size in your stomach? Um, no thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. To paraphrase Frank Zappa. "What is the uglieiest part of your body? Some say it is yout toes. some say it is your nose, but I think it is your mind, it is your mind." I find Amrericans to be the fussiest eaters in the wolrls. Is it because we were weaned on Big MACS? OPEN YOUR MIND, CLEAR PREDIJUCES AND ALL CUISINES ARE DELISHIIOUS!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Likes and dislikes are totally pesonally, maybe, irrational. What about people who prefer the "non-authentic" version of a cuisine (Mexican food in the US, or Japanese food in Mexico, etc...). Maybe, you've become used to a certain version of a cuisine, and that's normal for you, and also the most likeable. In Chile, virtually all sushi rolls have cream cheese. I imagine someone who loves that would be disappointed to eat them without the cream cheese. And that's OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Well I think that's literally impossible since any country's food will still have a pretty wide variety, how can a person possibly dislike every single dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                            Though to be fair to you friend, in a restaurant, unless you guys are in Vietnam or a place with a big Vietnamese population most of the dishes will usually be of the same variety so maybe she has tried a few dishes and didn't like it. Also after a few dishes you don't like most people wouldn't continue eating that country's food just to find a dish you like...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I think it's possible to dislike every __________ cuisine's restaurant in your city. There must be about 20 Mexican restaurants in my city. None are "nice" or "good" - they all serve the standard fare made with low quality ingredients and buried in mounds of melted cheese sauce. I have been to really great Mexican restaurants in other places, but if someone asked me out to dinner here, I'd have to say that I don't really like Mexican - meaning I don't like these restaurants. Same with Chinese - we don't have one here that's a decent sit-down place (except P.F. Changs - meh.) and they all have almost identical menus, tough meats, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. We have all known at least one person in our lives who is dismissive of foods based purely on ignorance or a fear of the unknown. However, that does not mean that everyone who makes a general statement that they do not like a specific cuisine has no clue what they are talking about. I hate cheese. Now, that is a very general statement. Have I tried every type of cheese known to man? Of course not. But I have tried a large enough variety overuse lifetime to know that my taste buds are not going to suddenly have a "cheese revelation". Automatically assuming that someone does not have a right to make general statements about a cuisine may be coming from good intentions, but it can also be downright arrogant. If you happen to know the person who makes such a statement, and you know for a fact that this person is dismissive, judgemental and ignorant about food , then you most likely have a point. However, if you do not know the person, who are you to play the grand inquisitor? Obviously we all love food, or we wouldn't be posting on this site. However, we should all remember that being a friend almost always trumps the forced pushing of our superior food knowledge:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, but cheese is arguably, despite the many varieties, ONE type of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For example, I have a friend who told me last summer that she "doesn't like vegetables".

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That makes zero sense to me. Vegetables? There are SO many different varieties of vegetables with vastly differing textures and flavors and applications, it boggles the mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cheese, OTOH, comes in a few textures, and (mostly) one flavor: the flavor of cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, I just think it's a bad example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry I don't get the bravo to Nicole or the idea that cheese is basically one flavor. We all have our examples and experiences that are different. What's so wrong about having a different point of view on this topic?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You lost me at cheese, which I adore, being one flavor. Off to the Cheese board I go...to learn more about cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheeses. They taste like cheese. Unlike cucumbers, which don't taste like cauliflower. Or potatoes, which don't taste like fennel. Or celery, which doesn't taste like spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not all that complicated a concept, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Huh? That blue cheese and swiss cheese taste the same? That cheddar and brie are similiar? If you've got the uncomplicated concept down that cucumbers and cauliflower don't taste the same what happened to your taste buds when you stuck blue cheese and swiss cheese in your mouth? Really, linguafood you're tasting the same thing when you taste cheese but vegetables taste different. I learn something new every moment here on CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                            or, I've been punked!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The fact that all cheeses are dairy products, regardless of provenance, makes them taste at least similar. I never said they all taste the same, that would be ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              But they ALL taste like *cheese* -- blue, swiss, cheddar... all very distinguishable as CHEESE. I certainly wouldn't confuse it with chocolate or sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope that clears it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Okay so being punked is off the table :) but no, your analogy doesn't "clears things up" for me because our eyes let alone our taste buds tells us that vegetables are different, cheese, chocolate and sausage are all different and each food has hundreds of variations. I don't follow you that some foods can be grouped likes dairy but vegetables don't. Root vegetables, do they all look and taste the same, no, yet they all grow in the ground. Cheese made from different milk doesn't either and cured and processed, huge variations. So, no I'm still not on board with your efforts to clarify. Vegetables are a type of produce. Even with limited exposure we can see that a beet and an onion look and smell different before it hits the tongue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, but I can't possibly make myself clearer. And given how OT we've gone, that's ok with me, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have no idea what you're talking about and that's gonna be okay with me too. Cheese tastes like cheese....right.. and potatoes tastes...wait for it..like potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I said all cheeses taste like cheese, or, if you so desire, like a dairy product (not having had soy "cheese").

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They are similar in flavor, in that they taste like cheese, whether they're hard, or semi-soft, or soft, or creamy -- they still taste like cheese. Yes, blue is different from camembert, münster different from chèvre, gouda different from Stilton.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But they all taste like cheese. Is that concept so difficult to understand?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whereas a cucumber does not taste like a tomato, cilantro doesn't taste like tarragon, and bananas don't taste like apples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I never said all vegetables taste the same. I merely quoted a friend of mine who pronounced that she didn't like 'vegetables'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not liking cheese, ok. More for me. But not liking 'vegetables' is just ludicrous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheese varies in every way that vegetables do. Even if you don't like either one enough variety exists to find even one worth trying again. And yes, more for both of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I still don't understand "cheese is cheese" but you're right...it's OT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HillJ, tho we have had our differences above, on this one I'm in your corner. If "all cheese tastes like cheese" as that concept has been "clarified" by Linguafood, then to an equal extent all vegetables taste like vegetables. Linguafood cannot have the one one way and the other another, as he/she stated in his/her original post on the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're both right. Cheese tastes like cheese, vegetables taste like vegetables, meat tastes like meat, and fish tastes like fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm glad we all agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've had cheese that tastes like butter, and I've had cheese that tastes like ammonia. I recommend the former.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've had butter that tastes like honey and butter that's tasted like old socks. I recommend returning bad product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                                                                          But what if your supermarket only stocked one kind of cheese--Velveeta--and consequently this was the only kind of cheese you had ever tried. And so when you complain on a certain forum for the discussion of food that you don't like cheese you say that it is because you don't like neon orange color or the rubbery texture or the artificial flavor. Based on the adjectives you've used to describe your reasons for disliking cheese those of us with more experience of other type of cheeses might suspect that it is possible that you've only ever tried Velveeta and might suggest that you might try other more authentic varieties before condemning all cheese as neon orange, rubbery textured and artifically flavored.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you obligated to do so? Of course not. If you try some aged Parmesan, real Cheddar, unpasteurized Brie, etc. and then decide that you still don't like cheese would that be wrong? Of course not. Not everybody has to like everything. If you never wanted to try cheese again that would be none of my business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          But your condemning all cheese based on a narrow sample that is not representative of what cheese can be would not be right. Understandable maybe given the lack of alternatives at your theoretical supermarket, but not right. You need not go to the extreme of trying every single cheese variety in the world to broaden your your sample, though, before coming to an informed opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately the state of most "Mexican" food outside of its home country is Velveeta. (To use the example I presume you are alluding to.) Based on what is most widely served in "Mexican" restaurants it isn't the average diner's fault if they were to believe that burritos and chimichangas and fajitas were the extent of Mexican cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I would never, of course, butt in on someone's private conversation on why they dislike this kind of "Mexican" food to try to explain to them that what they ate wasn't real Mexican food, this is a forum for discussing food and so don't think it is "arrogant" to comment on opinions about food expressed by others here, whether on cheese or on Mexican food. To express a differing opinion is not equivalent to saying that the original poster did not have the right to express his opinion in the first place. It is simply expressing a differing opinion and trying to provide reasons why I believe this poster's opinion might be misinformed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I and other commenters did not assume for no reason that just becuse a certain poster disliked Mexican food it must be because he hadn't tried enough of the real McCoy. The mention of liking fajitas but not the other offerings in Mexican restaurants set off red flags that the poster is very likely not eating in authentically Mexican restaurants, which would not be serving fajitas, but rather in Mexican American restaurants. Mentioning that everything is accompanied by refried beans also triggered these red flags, The characterization of Mexican food as overcooked meat with gloppy sauces does not concord with the experience of those of us who have been fortunate to eat in good quality Mexican restaurants here or in Mexico. And so we simply pointed out that this poster's dislike was probably of Mexican American food and not of Mexican food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If we are trying to increase the knowledge and understanding of Mexican cuisine or Japanese cuisine or cheese or any other aspect of food and dining, that should be the function of a site like Chowhound. People can take or leave what I post, that is their perogative, but shutting down discussion can't serve what one presumes Chowhound is supposed to be about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And when a poster says "have you been to uh Mexico", that's not arrogant at all. Or how about when a poster says "it's clear you have no idea what real Mexican food is". That's the issue. Disagreeing with a characterization of a food is fine but I think some of the comments in this thread are unnecessarily haughty. My opinion of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: churros

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Folks, we agree that it'd be best if people didn't get too personal in analyzing other people's expertise or questioning their right to hold certain opinions, but we don't want to go down the path of analyzing hounds on the other side, either. Please try to keep this discussion focused on the chow, and avoid getting into analyzing your fellow hounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: churros

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Who said "it's clear that you have no idea what real Mexican food is"? I can't find the quote when I search for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sorry you find disagreement haughty. Everybody has a right to an opinion but that does not make all opinions equally valid. And the fact that someone has the right to state an opinion does not mean that no one else has the right to disagree with it and outline their case why they believe the first opinion was wrong. The opinion I disagreed with was NOT whether or not he was right to dislike a certain cuisine but whether he was correct in his identification of the cuisine. That is for the most part not a matter of pure opinion but one in which certain evidence may be presented and discussed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are many many subjects that I am not familiar with. I will readily admit that I know next to nothing about medieval history or engineering of bridges or particle physics or any number of other subjects. I may have some small understanding based on what I may have read in the press or online, but I would recognize that if I find myself in disagreement with a professor in one of those subjects or even someone who took an undergraduate course a long time ago or even someone who had just read a book or two on the subject, I would recognize that maybe their knowledge might be better than mine and consider whether I may need to adjust my understanding or might want to do more research to confirm my beliefs. Nobody obliges me to do so, but I would want to. I wouldn't consider this person haughty for pointing out where I might lack a full understanding of the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, I am no expert on Mexican cuisine but I have a certain amount of experience that is more than most people have and so I share my thoughts on a forum meant to discuss food. I have NEVER suggested that a poster doesn't have a right to dislike whatever food he cares to. The poster can go ahead and hate that food and never eat it again and I would have no problem with that. All I suggested is that based on certain phrases used in his post, in my experience it was likely that the poster's dislike was of Mexican American food and not Mexican food. My suggestion was also based on probability, given the dearth of good quality Mexican restaurants compared to Mexican American. What the poster cares to do with that information is none of my business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I am wrong in my interpretation of the type of "Mexican" restaurants the poster had sampled I apologize, but this poster has provided no further evidence that I am mistaken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mpad - The time for talk is done. You must now whisk Sal Acid down to Mexico for a week-long restaurant tour. Nothing else will do. The conversation part is exhausted, done, over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mpad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The important point you are trying to make, but which is falling on many deaf ears, is that when one says he likes or dislikes a class of things called "X", which implicitly is or may be a recommendation or a warning for others, that assertion should be based on actually having experienced X, not Y. If that person has not in fact experienced X, but has experienced Y while mistakenly thinking it was X, then that expression of like or dislike is invalid and unhelpful, though the person is unaware of this. This has nothing to do with free expression on Chowhound, or everybody's right to like or dislike whatever he wants, and all the other red herrings that have been brought into this discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Sure. I guess if you're not being hyperbolic, as I'll never be able to say I dislike every single item of food that a single country can produce. But for example, I truly dislike Russian food. I don't think i've ever had a single item I enjoy... What have I tried?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The black bread
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Any number of cold soups
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The pickled vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Beef stroganoff
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Any dish that is cream-based, for the most part
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cabbage / potato based dishes

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do like vodka though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It all sounds pretty good to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. >>"Is it possible to dislike EVERYTHING a country cooks?"<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, but only if you've TASTED "everything a country cooks". Otherwise you're just being overly dramatic and self-serving. I tend to have little patience with people who over-generalize like that, but then......... life's too short to be really bothered by it. I just wouldn't let that person dictate what I select myself. Just my 2¢.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes. It's hyperbole, pure and simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just like "I love...." or "I hate....". I'd reckon in most cases these phrases are uttered, such strong feelings are rarely involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oooh. I LOVE bowling. No you don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Folks, at this point, the thread is getting very repetitive and is falling into the trap of people just analyzing how other people are posting, rather than adding anything new to the discussion, and stuff's getting more and more personal. We're going to lock it now.