HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Cultural Appropriation: Is it a One Way Street?

  • s

As a kind of addendum to the 'race' question:

Is there a 'one-way street' of acceptable European versions of Third World cuisine, but not really the other way around?

In France I regularly see an Indian curry on an otherwise French menu. Like a "poisson indienne." So the French 'take' on Indian cuisine is widely acceptable.

But how about the other way around? A Latino or Indian 'take' on French cuisine. Let's say a bouef bourguignon on an Indian or Mexican menu? Would you order that?

Are other culture's cooking appropriated only in one direction? Like a Salvadoran-influenced French or Italian meal? If you tasted a coq au vin that had black beans in it, would you find that as acceptable as a curry made with a Bordeaux?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh, it definitely goes both ways, but it's easiest to find the adaptations if you go abroad.

    Taiwanese Italian is a good example - it involves spaghetti noodles, but it's approached the way you would fried rice. You pick your sauce (pesto, cream or tomato), and then there's a list of different combinations of ingredients (seafood, or bacon and mushrooms, or mixed vegetables etc) that get tossed with the noodles and sauce. It tends to come with a small bowl of cream of corn or pumpkin soup, and a choice of hot or cold tea or coffee (generally sweet).

    I've also had Takoyaki pizza and kimchi beef pizza (Japanese and Korean influence there).

    And of course, there's the MOS burger international specials. Often tasty, but rarely even vaguely related to the stated cuisine.

    1. I regularly visit northern France where, on menus of otherwise recognisable French dishes, you'll regularly see "Le Welsh". Apparently, the local Ch'ti version of the Welsh rarebit (or Welsh rabbit, to be more traditional).

      1. People can cook and serve whatever the hell they want. If it sounds appetizing, I'll try it. If not, then no. And so-called "cultural appropriation" doesn't even remotely come into the equation.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          Of course people can serve whatever they want, ITA. But restaurants are a business and they will not continue to make food that goes unordered or that they think will not sell.

          For example, legion are Euro restaurants that will make an 'Asian Seafood Carpaccio,' or similar. A drizzle of soy and sesame oil artfully dressing the plate, mmmm.

          But if I go to an Asian restaurant, will I find the correlative "European Seafood Sashimi?" Perhaps with olive oil and a thyme emulsion....

          1. re: Steve

            In Sterling, VA, there's a restaurant called Mokomandy that serves Korean/cajun food, with lots of overlapping influences. They even serve poutine. Thaibox in Lorton does a similar thing, except with Thai and creole. I think at this point, it doesn't matter which direction the influence goes, as long as people keep coming back to eat it. There's plenty of Asian influenced fusion cuisine that just doesn't work for me, though. Like throwing chilis or cilantro on a burger. But I definitely love me some bulgogi cheesesteaks with extra kimchi.


            1. re: Steve

              But if I go to an Asian restaurant, will I find the correlative "European Seafood Sashimi?" Perhaps with olive oil and a thyme emulsion....

              This happens quite often, and often to disastrous results.

              If you have not come across this quasi-reverse "cultural appropriation" (as you call it), you need to get out more. And if you have gotten out more, consider yourself lucky.

              1. re: Steve

                <But if I go to an Asian restaurant, will I find the correlative "European Seafood Sashimi?" Perhaps with olive oil and a thyme emulsion....>

                Yes. definitely things like sashimi pizza.


                In fact, cream cheese (Philly rolls) sushi or California rolls are very much American.

            2. No problem.

              We get sushi. They get KFC.

              We get Cordon Bleu and Julia Child to translate. They get MacDonalds.

              We get pizza and Hagan. They get Subway.

              I like this form of trade inbalance.

              And I am sure I am not the only cook to use a white Bordeaux when making a chicken curry.

              7 Replies
              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                And then there's the very British invention of chicken tikka masala, which is now to be found in India. And the similarly very British balti, is also starting to appear on the sub-continent.


                1. re: Harters

                  Chicken tikka masala is nearly the same dish as butter chicken (murgh makhani), which is well-known in India.

                  1. re: Scrofula

                    Murgh makhani is also well known in Britain. You'll often see it on menus, along with the local chicken tikka masala.

                2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  "I am not the only cook to use a white Bordeaux when making a chicken curry."


                  But can you think of a dish that you prepare that is a French dish using a prominent Indian ingredient? You know, the other way around. Like making a coq au vin and adding a quarter cup of tamarind?

                  Honestly, I am wondering if this is done?

                  1. re: Steve

                    A light use of Indian spices occurs from time to time in French recipes. Unsurprising really, bearing in mind France's colonial involvement in India, until 1962.

                    And, staying on the sub-continent, vindaloo owes its name, etc, to the Portuguese colonisation of Goa (until to the de facto annexation by the Indian Army in 1962)

                    1. re: Harters

                      'vindaloo' - wine and garlic, though over time the wine turned sour.

                    2. re: Steve

                      Vadouvan is the French interpretation of Indian masala powder.

                  2. There is a whole genre of Western-influenced Japanese food called Yoshoku that includes Japanese interpretations of Salisbury steak, spaghetti, croquettes and curry. Pacific Rim cuisines include dishes from around the region, including America. India has its own version of Chinese food as does Peru. There are French pastries in Seoul and Portuguese egg tarts in China. In a world where the kimchi taco or takoyaki pizza are possible, there is a lot of culinary cross-fertilization going on.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JungMann

                      Oh yeah - Japanese curry, which is basically a thick curry-spiced gravy used as the basis for a stew, or simply poured over whatever you're serving. With sticky rice, of course.

                      And Japanese meatloaf in tomato sauce, and the croquettes.

                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                        Sounds like that would go down well with some fine Scotch whisky from Suntory.

                      2. Of course it would be acceptable (is that really what you're asking?) and if we could have access to the dinner tables of immigrant families in France or the US I'm sure we would find plenty of fascinating and delicious "Third World" versions of European recipes. I wouldn't expect any of these to show up on the menu of an ethnic restaurant, because people go to an Indian restaurant or a Mexican restaurant to eat Indian or Mexican food, not bœuf bourguignon. I think you're right to think that it wouldn't sell, but not because people would find the idea itself unacceptable.

                        As for your example of "poisson à l'indienne", I wouldn't exactly call that a French take on Indian cuisine… A place serving French food in France isn't a "French restaurant" (unless they specifically position themselves as such), it's just a "restaurant". So people won't be surprised to see some non-French dishes or ingredients on the menu.

                        1. Look no further than the banh mi, or perhaps even pho to find French influence in everyday Vietnamese cuisine.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: E Eto

                            I was just going to point this one out.

                            And I don't know that any of this is cultural approbation so much as it is learning and borrowing ideas from each other. It seems to me that most cultures tend to take elements they like from other cuisines and make them their own. And the borrowing often reflects the changing cultural make-up of a country or city, whether due to immigration, war or the fact that people like to travel. One of the best things about travelling is trying new food and bringing back new ideas.

                            1. "A Latino or Indian 'take' on French cuisine. Let's say a bouef bourguignon on an Indian or Mexican menu?"

                              A common Mexican dish is 'milanesa' - a breaded cutlet of some sort. Named for the Italian city, but sharing roots with Austrian Schnitzel, and American chicken fried steak. And usually served with french fires (as opposed to rice and beans).

                              Or how about tortas - a roll with taco like fillings.

                              The French ruled Mexico for only a few years (around the time of our Civil War) but left a strong imprint on Mexican cuisine.


                              6 Replies
                              1. re: paulj

                                Your link reminds me of an interview Pati Jinich gave on The Splendid Table talking about gefilte fish a la veracruzana and matzo ball caldo. And of course there is the Lebanese-Mexican dish known as al pastor.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I have a cookbook on my shelf (which I'm not going to go hunt down at the moment) with a title like "Matza ball gumbo".


                                2. re: paulj

                                  And enchilidas Suizas, which can be made with Swiss cheese as well as crema.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    The addition of crema seems to turn any Mexican dish into 'Suiza'.

                                  2. re: paulj

                                    In Brazil, we get frango milanesa with fries, rice AND black beans!

                                  3. I was tutoring a grade schooler in China, and his nanny would cook up some decent stuff each time I went over there. One day, his mom asked what I liked, and I told her eggplant and peanut butter. Being that she is from the country that brought us Pepsi Chicken-flavored potato chips, she decided that those two things should be combined.

                                    Quite nice actually- it was something of a mashed roasted eggplant meets Skippy in a bowl-kind of deal. If it's edible to begin with, why not give it a shot?


                                    1. Go to any Hong Kong-style cafe. They serve their version of Western dishes, such as spaghetti, sandwiches, drinks, etc.

                                      1. I'm surprised it has been mentioned yet - shawarma and tacos al pastor.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                          It was mentioned "about 3 hours ago" by JungMann.

                                        2. Maybe not as .... exotic as Japan making mayonnaise pizza, but a very popular dish in Greece is maccaronada or spaghetti "napolitain".

                                          It's overcooked pasta with tomato sauce, but somehow, sometimes, really hits the spot.

                                          21 Replies
                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            So do Chef B mini ravioli and Spaghetti-Os. Not at the same time, necessarily.

                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                              Ok, it's not *that* bad. You honestly couldn't pay me to eat those canned ravioli with their chalky mystery fillings again. Never had spaghetti-os.

                                            2. re: linguafood

                                              I don't think you'd find as much comfort in a bowl of Japanese naporitan: overcooked spaghetti with ketchup, butter, bell peppers and sausages.

                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                Oy. The exquisitely pristine cuisine of Japan sure doeth surprise on occasion.

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  The Japanese have a pronounced appreciation for the bizarre and the horrifying.

                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    This post needs more Kewpie Brand Mayonnaise squirted all over it.

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        Bloody hell.

                                                        I just learned something new, and I wish I hadn't!

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            I had a caesar salad in an Ootoya in Tokyo (casual chain restaurant). It had leaf lettuce, bean spouts, corn, edamame, grated carrots, bacon bits, some sunflower seeds and a variety of other ingredients, with Caesar dressing from a bottle poured over it.

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      "The Japanese have a pronounced appreciation for the bizarre and the horrifying."

                                                      But to them it is not bizarre and horrifying.

                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                        Indeed. This post definitely needs more tentacles.

                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                          The food isn't, of course. But I was speaking about more than just food. And in those other areas, they know it is bizarre and horrifying and that's why they appreciate it.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                            I'm trying to imagine what you are talking about. Some examples?

                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                              Hyper-violent horror films are especially popular in Japan.

                                                              Then there is the old Japanese custom of commiting seppuku.

                                                              The kamikaze.

                                                              The consumption of living creatures...

                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                I have to respond to this, though take everything with a big grain of salt

                                                                "Hyper-violent horror films are especially popular in Japan."
                                                                Ummm, been to the movie theater lately here in the US and seen any version of Friday/Freddie/Chuckie/Baysitter the 13th?

                                                                "Then there is the old Japanese custom of commiting seppuku."
                                                                Better people kill themselves than others. Murder rate in Japan is a fraction of most places.

                                                                "The kamikaze."
                                                                I assume you mean the pilots and not the wind. But yeah, I never understood this. Blame it on Bushido.

                                                                "The consumption of living creatures..."
                                                                Come on. Didn't anyone else belong to a frat in college and face that sad looking goldfish swimming in a shot glass?

                                                                This post will probably be deleted soon.

                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                  #1. I said "especially."

                                                                  #2. It is the method (stomach cutting) not the act that is bizarre and horrific.

                                                                  #4. I don't think I'd compare a drunken frat prank with a broad cultural phenomenon.

                                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                  None of these things you mention, PK, are in any way a reality in modern everyday Japan. Particularly kamikaze and seppuku, which are at least 65 years out of date.

                                                                  I'm not convinced, though I will agree that the consumption of living creatures is a minor phenomena in very expensive restaurants.

                                                  2. Try going to any German fest and not finding gyros served in the bread, currywurst, and schashlik. And the global explosion of lager beer from the Sudeten in the last 150 years.

                                                    I used to be amazed at the number of friends that would gag at my nigiri sushi, but scarf down all various California, dragon, etc. rolls. Same raw fish, different presentation and varied sauces.

                                                    Dare I say crab Rangoon, General Tso, and sweat and sour pork? Somebody already pointed out chop suey.

                                                    And the impact of England and later Great Britain has been awesome. And after the decline and almost death of British cuisine during the twenties through the seventies, the acknowledgement of proper cooking techniques married with a greater appreciation of fresh ingredients has returned from the colonies. If you enjoy reading period novels as I do, there is a reason why dinner was usually at a hotel as opposed to a local restaurant. They could afford to employ a French cook.

                                                    I love watching commercials on Youtube from all over the world, We may have exported the chicken sandwich, but I agree with the Korean emporer that adding kimchi just makes it so much better. I take a jar with me when I know I am going to be stopping at KFC.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                      "If you enjoy reading period novels as I do, there is a reason why dinner was usually at a hotel as opposed to a local restaurant. They could afford to employ a French cook."

                                                      It was probably more to do with that's where the restaurants were - even well into the 1950s and early 60s.

                                                      That said, I would never underestimate the influence of France on our cuisine. It is, of oourse, only 22 miles away

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        Or Great Britains influence on the drinking habits of the world. If you wanted to be POSH (Port side Out, Starboard Home) it was best to emulate the nobility. The Queen drank hock which is a Rheingauer Riesling. Fleets of ships brought in port from Portugal and of course Bourdouxe. (sic) The Queen Mum and Churchil reenforced champagne as a libation not just a celebration.

                                                        And the world can thank England for the first industrialisation of the distillation of alcohol. London Dry Gin.

                                                        Which eased the taking of quinine tonic in the tropics and hunger pains in the tenements of London and the rest of the island.

                                                        Most don't realise that there was some form of food rationing until the 50's. After serving 6 years in the war, my mother-in-law was thrilled to return to Bermuda where she could once again have real eggs and fresh fruit.

                                                        I have been trying to get back to immerse myself and my daughter in the new London. Someday.

                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                          I always reckon my general lack of a sweet tooth is because sugar didn't come off ration until 1954 (?), so it was not a feature of my very early years.

                                                      2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                        That gyro may be a doner that migrated to Germany with the Turks.

                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                          <Dare I say crab Rangoon, General Tso, and sweat and sour pork? Somebody already pointed out chop suey. >

                                                          Now, now. I won't call these dishes as Chinese attempt at American foods or versa vice. The closest is probably Crab rangoon.

                                                          General Tso chicken was invented in Taiwan, imported to US, and gained popularity here. Sweet and sour pork is believed to have lengthy history in China. It is not invented in US, and was not geared toward Americans. Chop Suey were Chinese foods for poor Chinese immigrants in US.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            In 1934 an ex bootlegger named Ernest Gannt opened a Hollywood nightclub called Don's Beachcomber and featured Cantonese food with Polynesian touches. Victor Bergeron, the owner of Hinky Dink's Tavern in Oakland liked the idea so much he appropriated it, added some menu items like Crab Rangoon and renamed his place Trader Vic's.

                                                            Chop Suey 雜碎 is from the Cantonese (shap sui; in Mandarin zá suì). In Cantonese it came to mean “odds and ends” and denoted “a hodgepodge stew of many different ingredients” according to Andrew Coe, writing in “Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States.” (Oxford U Press; NY, 2009).

                                                            The “unsweetened” version of General Tso’s was invented by a Hunan chef, Peng Chang-Kuei in Taiwan in the 1950’s and “sweetened up” in NYC in the 1970’s.


                                                            Sweet and Sour pork appears to have been invented in Guangzhou in the 19th century to suit Western tastes. The best versions of any Chinese sweet and sour dish tilt toward the vinegary side of the scale.

                                                            According to Endymion Wilkinson, (“Chinese History: A Manual.” Harvard University Press; Cambridge, 2000) Sweet and Sour Pork, (咕嚕肉 gū lū ròu) was invented in Guangzhou in the 19th century to suit western tastes. There already was the existing Cantonese dish of Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs (糖酸排骨-táng suān pái gǔ) that foreigners did not like because of the bones. They did gobble up the sauce though so a new boneless version was created and given the name: gu lu rou or “complaining meat.”

                                                            (咕 gū is an onomatopoeia for the sound of a clucking hen or pigeon. It can also mean an empty stomach. 嚕 lū means long-winded, over elaborate or troublesome).

                                                            Today (古老肉 gǔ lǎo ròu ) “meat in the ancient style” is the polite form of this dish! Wilkinson is an interesting fellow – he was a young student in China during part of the Cultural Revolution; later EU Ambassador to China (1994-2001) and now at Harvard’s Fairbank Center.

                                                            1. re: scoopG

                                                              <There already was the existing Cantonese dish of Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs (糖酸排骨-táng suān pái gǔ) that foreigners did not like because of the bones.>

                                                              I am not so sure about this part.

                                                              Thanks for the detail explanation.

                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                Seriously, Westerners didn't like bone-in meats in the 19th century? I always assumed that was a more recent phenomenon.

                                                          2. I think things go in all sorts of directions these days.

                                                            Two examples that haven't been mentioned yet are adaptations of Chinese food - in addition to American Chinese, there is Japanese Chinese, Indian Chinese, South American Chinese, Caribbean Chinese, etc.

                                                            Japan has countless adaptations of western food. In addition to the classic yoshoku dishes that were mentioned earlier, there is omurice (a good comfort food for me, though many might disagree), mentaiko spaghetti, curry pan (bread), and more that I am sure I am forgetting. Japanese food trends are continually evolving.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Lori D

                                                              Oh yeah, and Japanese Chinese cold noodles (ie, in Japan it's called Chinese cold noodles), and omlette rice, which my husband was surprised to find was not really known outside of Japan.

                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                And ramen is from China (that's why it is written in katakana on signs).

                                                            2. locally, a Japanese version of Italien pasta is served by a few restaurants near my house. one of them has a gizmo that boils the dry pasta individually for each customer. they use de cecco brand pasta.

                                                              i'm sure as the day goes on, i'll think of many more examples.

                                                              1. I've witnessed "ghetto" interpretations of Italian including spaghetti and chicken wings and spaghetti and hot dogs.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                  Come to think of it, I've got a recipe for Dominican spaghetti with franks. It's quite delicious, actually.

                                                                2. I am never into fusion food, at least not the really profond ones.

                                                                  Nevertheless, it is not a one way street. It is definitely two-ways or a multi-ways street.

                                                                  There are plenty Japanese takes on European foods and plenty Chinese stakes on European foods, and you will find that a lot when you travel to East Asia. The thing is that I wonder if people will recognize European-influenced foods, or will people still see them as foreign foods.

                                                                  For example, "Cheese and butter baked lobster" is the Chinese takes on European foods, but would an European notice that or would they just think of it as Chinese food?


                                                                  Japanese Tempura of course was based on a Portuguese dish probably peixinhos da horta. Even the word Tempura is not a native Japanese word.

                                                                  That being said, certain countries foods are copied/borrowed more often than others. You will see a lot of adoptions of French and Italian foods, but not nearly as much of English and Norway foods. Vice versa, you will see a lot more European dishes with Chinese, Japanese, Indian influence, but not as much for Mongolian or Kazakhstan foods.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    And there is castella, and doria. And, perhaps my favorite dessert of all time, montblanc, which is all over the place in Japan.

                                                                    I actually really like many of the eastern fusions. I am a big fan of Indian Chinese, yoshoku, the Japanese take on Italian food, to name a few.

                                                                  2. Back in the day, we had Chinese & pizza at Nerula's (sp?) in Dehli. At that time, we thought it was great. The brand Maggi was created in Switzerland by a man who wanted Swiss people to have more vegetables in their diet. it's a brand that I tend to associate with Indian & SE Asian countries. I find the way food travels fascinating and think it has a lot to do with immigration history. Often, we only think of the relationship between metropoles and their former colonies. But, I ate at a restarant that specialized in food from Reunion Island. The island was inhabited by the descendants of Indian laborers but was also a former French colony. The food reflected all of these influences.

                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Kalivs

                                                                      "Former French colony" is a strange way to put it… Like calling Hawaii a former US colony.

                                                                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                        I would call Hawaii a former British colony & a present day US colony...

                                                                        1. re: Kalivs

                                                                          In that case, you should call Réunion a present day French colony. Like Paris.

                                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                            It isn't wrong to call Hawaii a former US colony, is it? It is a US state in present day, but it was an occupied US territory.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              It's not wrong, it's just, as I said above, a strange way to put it. Like referring to your wife as "my ex-fiancée".

                                                                            2. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                              I'd call Russia a former Mongol colony.

                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                And Britain a former Roman & Viking colony 8-).

                                                                                1. re: Kalivs

                                                                                  Britain is almost as much a genetic mutt as India, USA, and Italy.

                                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                    England, Half English (according to Billy Bragg)

                                                                        2. re: Kalivs

                                                                          Réunion is still part of DOM TOM, n'est-ce pas?

                                                                          Département Outre-Mer, Territoires Outre-Mer.

                                                                          A department of France.

                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                            As much as Puerto Rico is a US territory. France can pretend it Paris & Reunion Island are the same thing but the only reason French is spoken on the island is because of the historical legacies of colonialism. I just wanted to point out that their may be historical reasons for for certain "fusion" cuisines.

                                                                            1. re: Kalivs

                                                                              Why is French spoken _anywhere_ in France?

                                                                              The USA only exists because of the historical legacies of colonialism. But we all pretend that it's a real country anyway.

                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                Go back far enough, and you'll find every nation is rooted in invasion and conquest. It is the stuff of human history.

                                                                              2. re: Kalivs

                                                                                Reunion isnt any sort of pretence. It is in integral part of France, since 1946 (prior to that, it was indeed a colony). Means that they elect members of the French Assembly, spend the Euro and its citizens are fully French citizens. France is almost unique in the world in having this degree of integration of its colonies (former or current). It is a department of France with exactly the same status as, say, Nord Pas de Calais

                                                                                My understanding of Puerto Rico's status is that its citizens cannot vote in elections for the American Congress, nor for its President. I believe I am correct in thinking that its citizens are not American citizens. It is not a state with the same status as, say, Pennsylvania.

                                                                                Very significant differences between the two places.

                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                  I should let my friend Migdalia, a born PR, answer this, but I will do my best.

                                                                                  Puerto Rico so far is a territory of the United States of America and has declined independence as a nation and to join the other 50 states. While they are not represented in our legislative branch of government, they are full citizens of the United States, as are the residents of the other US territories. Some recently.

                                                                                  Here in central Florida, the majority of our hispanic population is from PR. Which makes for some wonderful food. Different from the folks south of Key West.

                                                                                  "No taxation without representation!!" So who is the MP for the Falklands? Worth fighting for.


                                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                    "So who is the MP for the Falklands? "

                                                                                    Entirely pertinent. The UK has a very different attitude towards its remaining colonies than France does towards its former ones.

                                                                                    It is not an attitude that makes me proud to be British - although I'm unsure about what would be the practicalities of fully incorporating such widely spread diverse, and very small, communities into the UK. Some of the activities of our government have been downright shameful - the most outrageous being the eviction of the entire population of British Indian Ocean Territory (some 2000 people) so that America could develop a military & naval base there.

                                                                                    I'm not sure how welcome the MP for Pitcairn Island might be, if ever there was one. Our smallest colony with just 48 residents (where approximately half the men have been convicted of sexual crimes against the community's children - presumably the world's highest crime rate by percentage of population.

                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                      Puerto Rico is an interesting one. The people who live in Puerto Rico are full US citizens. However, residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote and other representation. Residents of Puerto Rico can move freely to the rest of the 50 US states if they choice to. It isn't like there is a barrier -- aside from the plane ticket.

                                                                                      Regarding not able representation, I believe D.C. (District of Columbia) also has that issue as well. If you live in D.C., you have no representation.


                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        They can vote. It's just the USA presidential election that that they don't have voice in, specifically, PR does not send any delegates to the electoral college. I'm not sure about congressional representation either.

                                                                                        The Wiki article describes a fairly complex situation, since there are many Federal programs that affect all of us.

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Yup. Same with U.S. Territories like Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands. They get to pay Federal taxes, vote for President, they get non-voting representatives in the House. But back to the topic at hand, two examples of reverse cultural appropriation that come to mind, and available at my local DC carryouts: bulgogi cheesesteaks and steak & cheese eggrolls.

                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                            I have had fish taco with seedweed, salmon roe (egg) and sesame oil. In which case, who is copying who? :)

                                                                                            <bulgogi cheesesteaks and steak & cheese eggrolls.>


                                                                                            Our friend teRReT and others have told me about the Yakisoba bun. Won't that be a Japanese attempt for Western sandwich?


                                                                                        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                          Don't want to get too technical, but its not a territory. Legally a commonwealth. Its a very unique status. Citizens of the US, elects a non-voting rep to Congress, have their own taxing power, etc.

                                                                                          When I was growing up in FL, I thought the majority of hispanics were of cuban descent. Things have changed if most are now from PR.

                                                                                          ETA: looks like most of my points about PR were picked up so never mind.

                                                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                            Isn't the USA a former Iroquois colony?

                                                                                2. I hear Japanese tourists in Australia laugh at the ubiquitous Chicken Katsu DOn ...or Chicken Katsu sushi .....this is the beloved chicken schnitzel....so its german food adopted by Aussies ...and Japanese then adopting that and putting into local Japanese food. Its great too !

                                                                                  1. "a bouef bourguignon on an Indian or Mexican menu? "

                                                                                    Menu from Brasserie La Moderna in Mexico DF:


                                                                                    "Boeuf Bourguignon
                                                                                    Res braseada en salsa de vino tinto, tocineta, puré de raíz de apio, zanahoria, cebolla y champiñones.
                                                                                    $ 310"

                                                                                    "Beef Bourguignon
                                                                                    Braised beef shortribs with roasted root vegetables, mushrooms, crispy slab bacon,
                                                                                    red wine jus and creamy potato puree
                                                                                    $ 310"

                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      That's the perfect example of what I was looking for, but couldn't find on my own.


                                                                                      1. re: Steve

                                                                                        It's enough that the restaurant is simply located in Mexico? Did you check out the rest of the menu, and does it look like, apart from the bourguignon, they offer Mexican food? It looks more like an "international" hotel menu with no particular cultural identity (or perhaps "general Western European", i.e. mostly French and Italian cuisine, + hamburgers and fish & chips).

                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                          It is one of Chef Richard Sandoval's restaurants


                                                                                          Sandoval is Mexican. Influences include his grandmother, 'restaurateur father', and the CIA.

                                                                                          This gets into the thorny question of what is a 'Mexican restaurant'. How would that definition differ from an 'American restaurant'?

                                                                                          I've been reading 'Planet Taco', a history of Mexican food and its spread around the world. From what I see there, in the 2nd half of the 19th c, I'd say the French influence on Mexican cooking was every bit as strong as it was in the USA, possibly stronger. For 2 years Mexico had a French emperor. Even after he was removed, the Mexican elites looked to Europe, and France in particular, for cultural ideals.

                                                                                          What we think of as Mexican cuisine is the product of 3 (at least) competing ideals, the European Spanish and French, the pre-Hispanic Indian, and a Creole synthesis.

                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                            <What we think of as Mexican cuisine is the product of 3 (at least) competing ideals, the European Spanish and French, the pre-Hispanic Indian, and a Creole synthesis.>

                                                                                            Where does American (US) come in?

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              <This gets into the thorny question of what is a 'Mexican restaurant'. How would that definition differ from an 'American restaurant'?>

                                                                                              But would a regular Mexican on the street think of these as Mexican foods? That is the question.

                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                More specifically, for this example, we can ask: Is this a Mexican take on bœuf bourguignon, or a classic bourguignon that happens to be served in Mexico? Nothing in the description suggests any identifiable Mexican influence whatsoever.

                                                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                  Yeah, I'm confused by this. I go to plenty of non-American restaurants in the US but they're not fusion. They're just foreign cuisines in restaurants that are physically located here.

                                                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                    Mexico certainly has beef stews. You could even argue that chili is a beef stew. bœuf bourguignon is the best candidate from adaptation, since a key flavoring is a red wine. Spices like chile would overwhelm it.

                                                                                                    But the Wiki article for 'beef stew' includes bb as a French version.
                                                                                                    Daube is another French beef braise. Or how about Pot-au-feu?

                                                                                                    I already mentioned 'milanesa', the breaded cutlet that adopted by many countries, including Mexico.

                                                                                                    Beef strogranoff is another world traveler. The Wiki article mentions USA, UK, Australian, Brazilian, Nordic, Japanese, and Iranian versions.

                                                                                                    Some these are adaptations, others just share common ingredients and methods.

                                                                                                    Going to deserts - what are the roots of flan? French, Spanish?

                                                                                                    1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                      Look at the whole menu. Chayote, chipotle, croquetas jamon....

                                                                                                      Without having tasted the food, I'd say this is a Mexican Chef cooking in Mexico who has appropriated French cuisine.

                                                                                                      1. re: Steve

                                                                                                        My point is that it's very different from the situation you described in your OP: "an Indian curry on an otherwise French menu". The bœuf bourguignon is not an outlier slipped into a list of otherwise Mexican dishes. In fact I don't see any specifically Mexican dishes on this menu. Maybe you can spot one or two, but they are clearly in the minority, outnumbered by the pasta puttanesca, cassoulet, bouillabaise [unfortunate misspelling], banana split, etc.

                                                                                                        But if this is the "perfect example" of what your were looking for, I think you could find the same sort of identity-less (or multi-identity) restaurant in just about any "Third World" country as long as there are enough well-to-do people or foreign visitors who want to eat international fare as an alternative to the local cuisine. And I think you'd have a difficult time finding a place in France that does the equivalent, i.e. that offers dishes from lots of completely different foreign cuisines and nothing identifiably French.

                                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                          Looking back on the menu again, you're right. It's composed mainly of French dishes - I misinterpreted some of the ingredients like thinking 'jitomate' were green tomatoes and assuming the salmon was French with Mexican (chipotle, chayote) ingredients thrown in, but it is simply one of the few Mexican dishes on the menu.

                                                                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                  I guess the dollar sign was what confused me. Do Mexican pesos not have their own currency sign?

                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  That's Mexican Pesos, about $26 US.

                                                                                                3. re: paulj

                                                                                                  From the menu, it appears this is a (kind of) French restaurant in Mexico. That doesn't make it Mexican even if a Mexican guy runs it. How do you consider this cultural appropriation?

                                                                                                4. Locally there are two places that immediatly come to mind.

                                                                                                  Check out the menu at the Elephant Walk in Cambrudge

                                                                                                  La Dalat in Hull Mass is Vietnamese and French. Website isn't on line but they do both cuisines extremely well.

                                                                                                  1. In Brazil they have pizza Portuguese which has, among other things, hard boiled eggs. Pretty tasty.


                                                                                                    1. The version of Chinese food we get in Sri Lanka tastes way better to me than any Chinese food I ever had in Canada - it was localized for the Sri Lankan market. Nearly all western food in Sri Lanka has been localized to some degree or another, although fast food less so than other food. In Singapore, there's a LOT of foreign food (Italian, Middle-Eastern, American) that's been heavily influenced by local tastes, and it tends to be quite good. Pizza, pasta, sandwiches, all localized.

                                                                                                      Happens all the time. :)

                                                                                                      On the other hand, in Sri Lanka specifically, when they try to stay close to the original, it really doesn't work in my opinion. They tend to not be familiar enough (I think) with the original cuisine to get it right, but if they try to localize it to suit Sri Lankan taste buds, it works much, much better.

                                                                                                      1. Which of the offerings of this Oregon panaderia (Mexican bakery) are adaptations from classic European pastries (Viennese, French)


                                                                                                        1. Menu for Sanborns, a Mexico city restaurant dating from 1903


                                                                                                          Some items whose names you might recognize:

                                                                                                          Fettuccini Paja y Heno con salsa bolognesa
                                                                                                          Spaghetti al Estilo Alfredo
                                                                                                          Filete MIgnon, con papas a la francesa
                                                                                                          Ensaladas, especial del Chef (chefs salad)
                                                                                                          Sandwiche Montecristo
                                                                                                          Hot Cakes
                                                                                                          Pan tostado a la Francesa

                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                            I've been there. It didn't strike me as Mexican versions of non-Mexican dishes, just a restaurant with an international menu.

                                                                                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                              Planet Taco mentions Sanborns twice:

                                                                                                              "founded in 1910 in the House of Tiles, the former residence of the Jockey Club, Sanborn's [sic] provided an early sign of the shift from French to U.S. cultural influence". p119

                                                                                                              [in the 1980s] ... the venerable Sanborn's battle the Wal-Mart subsidiary Vips for the mantle of Denny's. P216

                                                                                                              Writing about the Porfirian elites in the late 19th c

                                                                                                              "More important, from the perspective of culinary history, is the creativity that Mexicans brought to this global [French haute] cuisine. ... the addition of chile peppers and the use of local produce and cooking techniques -- in short, the Mexicanization of European cuisine -- constituted a form of culinary innovation ....
                                                                                                              After all, French chefs constructed la grande cuisine by borrowing from various countries and transforming their dishes, including ones designated 'a la mexicaine'; Mexicans were simply returning the favor."

                                                                                                              He quotes a Mexican poet and gourmet, Jose Juan Tablada
                                                                                                              "Our imitation of the French was therefore not ridiculous and grotesque, but rather by its exaggeration, the French models adopted, but adapted, have been and will be fecund in our soil". p 89

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                That's quite the response. Am I understanding correctly that you feel that Sanborns is a French-Mexican fusion restaurant?

                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                  It's century old Mexican restaurant (more broadly retailer) that was started by a couple of Californians in an era when anyone with 'class' in Mexico (or NYC for that matter) was looking to France for standards. I don't know how that fits in modern pigeon holes.


                                                                                                                  'Sanborns all over' sidebar from a Mexico City guidebook.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                    Sanborns are hugely popular for business breakfasts, and also sell a nice variety of pastries and desserts retail.

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      Yeah, I get that. I guess I'm just missing the fusion aspect that you seem to see. It just seemed like a restaurant with an international menu, not with specifically Mexican takes on dishes.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                        So what you are looking for is an iconic French dish with chiles or something like that? Nothing comes to mind. Are there American equivalents - American style beef bourguignon?

                                                                                                                        Sanborns does have as section of 'Mexican dishes' on their menu. Under Enchiladas they list their 'famous enchiladas Suizas'.

                                                                                                                        Bayless visited Sanborns in one of his episodes:
                                                                                                                        ". At Sanborn’s in Mexico City, the colorfully tiled restaurant where the famous dish, Enchiladas Suizas, was invented, Rick explains that “Suiza” means Swiss, a tribute to the dish’s use of cream and cheese. This inspires a visit to a Mexican creamery stall, a lesson in making homemade “crema,” the Mexican version of crème fraîche"

                                                                                                                        Another item on their menu:
                                                                                                                        Chilaquiles a la Sanborns
                                                                                                                        with cheese al gratin, creama, onion and refried beans

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          Not at all. It seemed to me that you offered up Sanborns as an example of "cultural appropriation", the subject of this thread. I don't see it. That's all. I can read the menu- I just don't see it as an example of 2 cultures meshing like you do.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                          Sanborn’s de los Azulejos

                                                                                                                          a description of Sanborns in their historic blue tile location (in Spanish)

                                                                                                              2. I spent sometime in Ecuador many years ago. There were many European influences on the cuisine, especially in finer dining establishments (hotels, etc). I attended a few banquets with multiple courses and accompanying ranks of utensils. When traveling we stayed in 'pensiones', the European style lodging that included meals.

                                                                                                                The soup course was served in a wide shallow bowl. Salad was more likely to be a stuffed whole tomato than a bowl of greens. Besides the 'platos typicos' (rustic Ecuadorian cooking) there were steaks like Chateaubriand and grilled or breaded fish ('corvina apanada. Breakfast was Continental style, cafe con leche ("café au lait") and rolls. No croissants, but puff pastry items were widely available. There were European style delis, with good salami, and crusty rolls. Local versions of Gruyère and port salute cheese were easier to find than cheddar. We even found a local Camembert.

                                                                                                                On one trip into the Ecuadorian jungles I was feeling ill. The only thing on the menu in one small restaurant that sounded good was 'consume con jerez' - beef broth with sherry.

                                                                                                                  1. On a (fairly dreadful touristy) tour in Italy, we stayed at several hotels that tried to approximate an American breakfast. Featured items: scrambled eggs, hot dogs, cold cuts and cheese slices, and cookies (not biscotti - cookies). Our tour director (who was lovely) told us that breakfast wasn't that big a deal there, so they were trying to give us what we were used to. Literally every hotel we stayed at served us breakfast hot dogs.

                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                      I wouldnt have considered scrambled eggs, cold cuts and cheese to be particularly American. They are pretty much pan-European breakfast items for hotels. In particular, I see the meats and cheeses very much a Dutch or Belgian breakfast.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                        I agree with you. We were just on a tour of Turkey and the breakfast always included the meats and cheeses, usually hardboiled eggs and these funny little hotdog type sausage that I saw in the groceries. On other European trips, the hotel buffets were the same.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                          I've seen some hotels in Europe state that they serve "American breakfast" which is eggs, bacon, etc. In my few trips to France, Italy and Spain I didn't see "American style" breakfast. In England, Ireland, Germany much more so.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                            Certainly you'll find a cooked breakfast - bacon, eggs and so on - in Ireland and the UK. Although I doubt whether you would ever see them described as "American style".

                                                                                                                            In the UK, the "Full English" breakfast will include most, if not all, of bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, fried tomatoes, fried bread, baked beans and mushrooms. Of course, it's only described as such in England. In Wales, it's likely to be called the "Full Welsh" but will be pretty much the same. The "Full Scottish" may well also include haggis and white pudding. In Northern Ireland, you'll be getting the "Ulster Fry", same as everywhere else but including a potato cake or bread farl. Throughout the country, it's quite common, if you want all the items on the breakfast, to ask for the "Full Monty" (the origin of the phrase is uncertain).

                                                                                                                            On the other hand, it used to strike me as very odd, when visiting America, to see menus referring to a "Continental Breakfast", in the same way as I would refer to a continental breakfast - the continent being Europe. Is this description something Americans have appropriated to describe a breakfast based on breads and pastries, or is the reference to the continent of America and it is co-incidence that its based on breads, etc?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                              No, it definitely doesn't refer to America. I'm not sure if people really interpret the word "continental" in this expression, but I think most would agree that it must refer to Europe. But then if you ask them if they mean Europe with or without the UK, you'll probably get puzzled looks, since this is not a distinction Americans have much need for…

                                                                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                                                You'd probably need to decide whether to mean Europe with or without Ireland, as well. That country's tradition with regard to breakfast is similar to that of the UK. Of course, it's the only European country that we're physically connected to.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                  Do you mean that when British people say "the Continent", they're sometimes including Ireland??? Or do you mean I should have written "Europe with or without the British Isles"? (I think I should have written that.)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                                                    Geographically, Ireland has 32 counties, six of which constitute Northern Ireland and are politically controlled by London, not Dublin.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                                                      "The Continent" would always imply the mainland of Europe.

                                                                                                                                      Although "Europe", as a perjorative term, usually implies the European Union, which includes Ireland.

                                                                                                                                      Many Britons (me included) will happily use the term "British Isles", to include the islands of Great Britain (together with those islands that form an integral part of Great Britain), Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. However, I appreciate the phrase is not really politically correct these days, harking back to a time before the Repubic of Ireland gained independance from the UK. I simply don't know how or if Irish people describe these islands collectively.

                                                                                                                                      The UK's relationship with "Europe" is very much a matter of current political discussion. I think that, in due course, the UK will leave the European Union. This will not be a good thing, IMO - but then my political opinions are more in tune with the Green Party in Greece, than the Conservative Party led government of the UK.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                  On the lines of cultural appropriation/fusion/etc - in various Egyptian hotels that cater to tourists they will have an "Egyptian breakfast", which is basically the Egyptian take on the English breakfast.

                                                                                                                                  Replace baked beans with ful, not usually breakfast meat (but sometimes yes), add a few more fresh veggies - and there you have it, the Egyptian breakfast.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                    I wonder if that's a hangover from the time that Egypt was a British protectorate (1882 - 1953)?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                      That would be my assumption - particularly when talking about Egyptian hotel/resort food. In the areas where Britain had a strong thumbprint in the Middle East - I think the impact on breakfast is visible. While the relationship between and English breakfast and the Israeli hotel/cafe breakfast aren't as visually obvious (most noteably because of a lack of breakfast meat) - the idea that breakfast is a very large meal is definitely echoed. Just also in the namesake - you go to a cafe and order an "Israeli breakfast" - not a Cafe XYZ breakfast or Mama's breakfast, etc.

                                                                                                                                      Another carryover is the high presence of (British style) chips. Not only as a ubiquitous side dish - but also as a topping or main filling of various sandwiches/falafel/shwarma, etc.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                        Oh, I love the idea of chips in a sandwich - or, as we'd call it in northwest England - a chip butty.

                                                                                                                                        Great that there's an Egyptian version. Now that may well be a carryover from the time of the Great War. A division of north west troops was garrisoned there in 1914 -1916 and I can just see our local lads persuading the locals to make chip butties for them. I'll see if the military history board I use has any info.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                    I had always assumed the term "continental" breakfast reflects the American interpretation of a light breakfast in the Southern European countries like France or Italy: Viennoiserie, bread, coffee or juice.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                      So, on the reasonable assumption that my fellow Europeans, on the mainland, don't refer to their breakfast as a "continental" one, only as "breakfast", then it's probably safe to assume that Americans have appropriated it from British usage (as we do call it that)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                        It's possible. The phrase itself isn't particularly old. The OED gives three citations, all British, going back to 1911: "You'll have to give me breakfast—a purely Continental one, I assure you, no eggs." (R. Brooke), followed by Agatha Christie and P. G. Wodehouse.

                                                                                                                              2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                Since Americans have particular ideas of what constitutes a proper breakfast sausage, this type of accommodation is bound to fail.

                                                                                                                                sage, pepper and something sweet are the only permitted flavorings.

                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                  Enough people must be eating the breakfast hot dogs for them to continue serving them every day. One of the thrills of foreign travel is the taste of unpermitted flavorings first thing in the morning.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                                                    Pigs in a blanket for breakfast? Sign me up.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                      Harters reference to a Full English brought back happy memories. I believe it was called the Crown and Anchor, and located across from the Smithfield Market in London. Fast driving from the Dover ferry got us there before they stopped serving alcohol. Due to the early morning shift workers at the market, it was one of a handful of pubs allowed to serve very early in the morning. I belive it shut down at 0700 hrs. We were the only tourists surrounded by workers in bloody white lab coats and wellies.

                                                                                                                                      The full English was immense and they layed bets on how much I would leave, not if. I should have bet as I did finish it. And dear wife's blood pudding and beans. There is something so nice about starting a day in London with a couple of pints of bitter for me and a black velvet for her. A happy tradition on every visit.

                                                                                                                              3. You should see all of the places in Dubai serving up fried chicken. Except for the American chains like KFC they normally season with Middle Eastern spices like sumac.

                                                                                                                                1. What's the nature of that French adaptation of Indian cooking?

                                                                                                                                  In my 1960s copy of Laroussse Gastronomique, Chicken a l'indienne consists of poached chicken covered with a curry sauce. What is curry sauce? - a cream sauce with a teaspoon of curry powder.

                                                                                                                                  Against the background of the lightly seasoned cream sauce, a small amount of an exotic spice is enough to give the whole dish that exotic character.

                                                                                                                                  I've already written about Mexicans doing something similar. They put creama (creme fraiche) on a dish and call is 'Swiss'.

                                                                                                                                  That reminds me. Years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at a place called Old Mexico Grill (old as in Mexico to the south, not New Mexico), I had pollo con rajas. Grilled chicken breast topped with a poblano pepper strips in a cream sauce. In France would that have been called 'a la Mexican'?