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Are there countries other than America that "-ize" ethnic cuisines?

We have "Americanized Chinese" and "Americanized Italian" and etc.

You get the picture.

Are there other countries that "-ize" ethnic cuisines? For example, is there such a thing as "Germanized Chinese"? Or "Mexicanized Italian"?

I mean I suppose there's fusion, but fusion cuisine (say, Korean-Mexican with Bulgogi tacos) is akin to a creative marriage of two disparate cuisines whereas "Americanized ___" is really a transformative cuisine where American cultural viewpoints of food and taste takes a cuisine and sort of makes it red, white and blue.

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  1. Chifa Cuisine?
    Indo-chinese cuisine?
    Don't forget Japan, for goodness sakes! (christmas cake!)

    1. Sure. One example is Polish zapiekanka. Sort of an open faced French bread pizza (a la Stouffer's) with melted cheese and mushrooms.

        1. I've heard that India likes to adopt the form of foreign food (say, pizza), but apply familiar Indian flavors.

          Jjajangmyeon is a Chinese black bean noodle dish - Koreanized.

          Korea also has it version(s) of Japanese maki rolls.

          Chifa is Peruvian-Chinese cooking. Chifa that I had in Ecuador used bias cut celery as its primary vegetable.

          Look up a dish like Stroganoff or Schnitzel on Wiki to see how it has been adopted in countries around the world.

          3 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            Or does Japan have it's own version of KimBap?

            One of the things that the PBS series Chan Can Cook liked to show was the chef traveling around the world to different Chinese communities and showing their version of Chinese cooking. Things varied depending on the region of China that the people there descended from and the food available in that region. Fascinating stuff.

              1. re: paulj

                yes, most likely brought to Korea during the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945)

                 
          2. When I was first went to New Delhi, India, back in 1991-92, I came across "Chicken Manchurian", which was invented by a Kolkata-born ethnic Chinese restaurateur-chef, Nelson Wang. This Indianized-Chinese dish did not *exist* outside India at the time: stir-fried chicken & vegetables, with a heady infusion of chillis and Masala spices to satisfy the Indian palate.

            Since then, I've discovered a whole new world of Indianized-Chinese cuisine - now collectively called Sino-Ludhianvi cuisine by Hindustani Times' editor and food critic, Vir Sanghvi. There are restaurants in India which specialized in this cuisine, whilst many Indian family restaurants will have a separate section on their menus for these dishes.

            In India, when families eat out, many preferred to go "Chinese". By this, they really meant Indianized-Chinese food - *not* the authentic Cantonese or Sichuanese which are also available in major Indian cities these days.

            As Indian (IT) professionals moved overseas: Silicon Valley, Canada, Germany, UK, Australia, Singapore, etc. - the "Chicken Manchurian" and other Indianized-Chinese food started appearing in Indian restaurants there, catering to the Indian diaspora.

            The first place outside India where I saw "Chicken Manchurian" being served was in Bangkok, at a Copper Chimney branch there, about 10 years back. These days, I can pop down to Little India in Singapore and get "Chicken Manchurian" at most Indian restaurants there.

            6 Replies
            1. re: klyeoh

              I love Indo-Chinese food just about as much as pure Indian food. And fortunately, my favorite local Indian restaurant sports several tasty Indo-Chinese dishes.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                My fave cuisine in the world is Indian, but not every Chinese-Singaporean share my passion.

                During a business trip to Mumbai a few years back, we stayed at the Leela Hotel which has a very popular Chinese restaurant called the Great Wall. After two weeks of Indian meals, my two Chinese-Singaporean colleagues out-voted me to dine at the Great Wall, which has an authentic multi-regional Chinese menu, but *no* Desi-Chinese. However, the waiter assured me that they can do "Chicken Manchurian" for me off-menu.

                They did a marvellous rendition. My two Chinese-Singaporean colleagues also had their first taste of the dish that evening, and loved it.

                We did go back to the restaurant again a couple of times for the "Chicken Manchurian". One piece of trivia, the Great Wall also happened to be the fave Chinese restaurant in Mumbai for Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan. We saw him there on one occasion, and the service staff there told us that he's a regular since he owned a beach mansion at Juhu beach nearby.

                We later found out the executive chef of the Great Wall at the time was a Chinese-Singapore!

                1. re: klyeoh

                  Your ecstatic praise of Chicken Manchurian has made me want to try this dish. I've obviously never had it, but that can and will be swiftly remedied.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian is also delicious. I didn't even realize they made a chicken version.

                    1. re: AmyH

                      It started off as a chicken dish, but became *so* popular, the repertoire extended to all types of meats and vegetables. Nowadays, it's become such a common dish, you can find "Manchurian" renditions done by street vendors like the bhelpuri-wallahs, McDonalds India, hotel coffeehouses, everywhere in India!

                      1. re: AmyH

                        I've also only had Gobi Manchurian. Utterly delicious!

              2. Yep, in Paris you can find Frenchified Mexican food or Frenchified Chinese food (among other things). I think all countries modify recipes, either to match the local palette or to accommodate ingredients that are cheaply available in local grocery stores.

                4 Replies
                1. re: haichowhai

                  and Frenchified American food.

                  The French-anised version of other culture's foods are just as dire as Americanised versions.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    What pray tell is frenchified american food?
                    ... I'm interested in what kind of dishes...

                    1. re: Chowrin

                      an "American" pizza with hamburger, diced potatoes, oregano, and a raw egg cracked in the middle of it....

                      ...the thought that we eat nothing but hamburgers every day....

                      I've never kept a list, but it seems that at least one restaurant in every town has a dish listed as "americain" that just leaves Americans looking at each other, thinking "what the what?"

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        Funny, but one of the pictures I've used as an Icon on this site was taken in a Venice, Italy, window for a pizza place. For them , Pizza Americana involves bacon and eggs, something I think you'd look a long time for to find in America

                         
                  2. The Chinese are very good at adapting their cuisine to the local palette. That's how we get to ramen, jja jiang mien, and lomo soltado.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Steve

                      Ramen (the noodles, more specifically), are Chinese in origin, borrowed and adapted by the Japanese.

                      1. re: ricepad

                        Yes but ramen gets "ized" and turned into BS even in metropolitan USA. The same thing happens in Hong Kong and Taiwan, although at times differently, and others to a significantly lesser degree of douchebaggery.

                        1. re: ricepad

                          Are you saying the first people to make ramen were the Japanese? Because that's not what I understand. I though it was initially Chinese immigrants to Japan.

                            1. re: ricepad

                              Well, I am no expert on the subject, but everything Iv'e read so far indicates Chinese ingredients and Chinese cooks, especially since the Japanese detested the idea of eating pork and though it was beneath them, and they had a rice based society. The first to put the pork, wheat noodles, and soup together in Japan were Chinese cooks as far as I can tell.

                      2. Brazilian pizza for sure. And while I have no first hand experience, I understand that Japan and Korea are also big on local adaptations of pizza.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cookie monster

                          The Russians also do a version of pizza. I've never tried it, but it sounds horrid.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              there's a Sbarro pizza at Domodedovo airport.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Probably the best pie in all of the Russes. And that's saying very little.

                            2. re: cookie monster

                              There's a Brazilian run pizza shop near me which has Brazilian pizzas on the menu. What I don't know is if they're Americanized brazilianized Americanized Italian pizza or just brazilianized Americanized Italian pizza

                            3. McDonalds is different in all countries according to tastes???

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                to a degree. In beef-eating countries, there are some common themes.

                                I have to confess to having developed a serious crush on a limited-time special in France -- a slab of Camembert on a burger. Damned tasty.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Yes, when we were in Prague we went into a McDonald's just to see what was on the menu and were sucked in by some camembert-type cheese, deep-fried in a crust that had all sorts of grains and seeds, with some type of creamy dipping sauce. It was fabulous. Too bad it would NEVER sell in the US!

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    That damn fried cheese pops up everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

                                2. re: girloftheworld

                                  Usually, McD will have some "local items" besides the usual suspects. No beef is served in McD India, so the Big Mac is replaced by the Big Maharajah Burger, with chicken patties.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                    Ronald McDonald -- creepy no matter what country you're in.

                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                      The Middle East has a huge Indian population so their McDonalds sell the chicken big mac as well. It is glorious.

                                    2. re: girloftheworld

                                      McD's adjusts for local tastes. I remember when I first got to London in the mid 90s and walking down the street, I came across a McD and in the window was a poster advertising something like a chicken korma sandwich. Never tried it.

                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                          They serve rice dishes in Sri Lanka, which is a rice and curry country. And spicier versions of burgers and sandwiches than in Canada. Oh, and while they have ketchup, they also have the more popular chilli garlic sauce. Which is really really good.

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            In Korea they had squid burger. I mean, it was a patty so the flavors were indistinct, so meh. The best thing was a version of patbingsoo, which just about every fast food joint carried.

                                            I tried a paneer burger in McD's in Delhi. It was...pretty delicious.

                                            1. re: Nudibranch

                                              I had a vegetarian burger at Hard Rock Cafe Bangalore last year, and it was "pretty" tasty, though there's no beating a real beef burger.

                                              BTW, the Heinz sauces available from the shops there are quite interesting, too.

                                               
                                               
                                          2. The only time I've watched Nigella was in an episode where she made chili! She used no ancho or chili powder, but jarred red peppers. I'd say that was Anglo style chili.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              Shiver me timbers, but I bet it was ghastly. About like the Yorkshire pudding in Blytheville, Arkansas.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                "I'd say that was Anglo style chili"

                                                No it isn't. Although we'd spell it "chilli"

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  I've seen Jamie Oliver make chile con carne and he used real chile peppers and chili powder. So the side has been kept up.

                                                  As popular as hot curries are in England, I'd expect that a hot chile dish would be equally popular.

                                                  1. re: 512window

                                                    In another thread we discussed chilli competitions in the UK. There is a group that sanctions them, and has sample recipes. The obvious difference, compared to US Texas 'bowl-of-red' is that the UK rules allow beans and vegetables.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      UK chilli usually includes red kidney beans and green or red peppers, as well as garlic and onions.

                                              2. Hell yes...

                                                Almost all South and Central American nations have their own versions of Chinese-style dishes. Just down the road from my house, we have a couple of Peruvian and Cuban restaurants which serve their own style of Chinese dishes.

                                                Cantonese style cooking has traveled up and down the length of the American Continents.

                                                Then there's any of the British and French versions of any of their former colonial foodstuffs and vise-verse.

                                                Also the Japanese, Taiwanese, Koreans, and the Singaporeans can be as enthusiastic about adopting foreign foods into their daily menu as we Americans are.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: deet13

                                                  Even "authentic Cantonese" tend to adapt itself to the different taste-preferences of the Chinese in different countries, hence the same Cantonese dishes taste saltier in Hong Kong, sweeter in Malaysia and less greasyy/blander in Singapore - even when the diners are Cantonese-Chinese in all three countries!

                                                  In Thailand, where the majority of their Chinese populace are of Taechew (Chaozhou) descent, Cantonese "dim sum" items usually taste (and smell) strongly of fish sauce, much loved by the Thais and the Taechew-Chinese, but definitely *not* used in such amounts in HK/South China where "dim sum" originate from.

                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    Funny but due to childhood connections, the Chinese food I feel most "at home with" in restaurants is Chinese from Vietnam. I speak a bit of Vietnamese, enough to hold simple conversations, and can read the menu (expert in food words, of course :D) and so I feel better navigating things than I do at Chinese-Chinese restos, but also I know all of my favorite dishes and what tastes to expect. My favorite Chinese restaurants are owned by Chinese from Vietnam.

                                                    But I have met some people, non-Chinese Chinese food connoisseurs, as well some some ethnic Chinese from China who look down on Chinese from Vietnam.

                                                    What is your impression of Chinese food in restos owned by Chinese from VN? Or the "rep" of these kinds of restos?

                                                    I don't notice the food having any heavy fish sauce flavor, myself.

                                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                                      I'd only had Vietnamese-style Chinese food in Ho Chi Minh City itself. Southern Chinese, and also Chinese-Singaporeans or Chinese-Malaysians, will not experience any "culture shock" with regards to Vietnamized Chinese food - sure, the renditions may be sweeter for the braised dishes (e.g. there's this popular caramelised pork stew dish served in a claypot that we kept running into), and spicier for some others, but generally, the Chinese food in Vietnam are very much similar to those we get at home.

                                                      I can't speak any Vietnamese but could actually converse in Teochew or Hokkien dialect with the street vendors and shopkeepers in Cholon (Chinatown) district and other parts of Saigon. Early Chinese migrants to Indochina came from the same parts of China as those who went to other parts of South-east Asia like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia: mainly Teochews and Hakkas from Guangdong, and Hoklo/Hokkiens from Fujian. They assimilate local products and taste preferences into their cuisine.

                                                      When I first encountered "Hu Tieu Nam Vang" (which, as its name suggests, was actually introduced by Chinese-Cambodians from Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese) tasted 90% similar to Penang "koay teow Th'ng" and Ipoh "hor fun" from Malaysia.

                                                      "Banh Uot" is similar to Cantonese "cheung fun", and "banh uot dac Biet"'s incorporation of various Vietnamese-style charcuterie to an essentially Chinese-style flat rice pasta dish is almost like a different rendition of Kuala Lumpur-style "chee cheong fun" which combined the "cheung fun" with various morsels using fish-based forcemeat.

                                                      Personally, I really, *really* liked Vietnamese-style Chinese food: its robustness and assertive flavours are similar to Chinese cuisine in Singapore and Malaysia. Plus, the freshness of ingredients used in Saigon is amazing. Like the Japanese, I think the Vietnamese there eschew refrigeration, preferring to make do with the freshest produce from the markets that day.

                                                      1. re: klyeoh

                                                        Is this the caramel hot pot you saw?

                                                        http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/...

                                                        I was under the impression that it was a Royal Hue dish. Did the style originate in China?

                                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                                          I believe the caramelisation technique was learnt from the French. It's become part of Vietnamese cooking culture now, and even the so-called Chinese restaurants in Vietnam have assimilated this into their cooking. True Vietnamized Chinese food, as this technique does *not* exist in China.

                                                  1. pretty much every country does this, i think - it's a combination of local tastes/preferences, local techniques/cooking styles, and available ingredients/appliances/implements.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: chartreauxx

                                                      That pretty much covers it. I've had some stunningly oddball dishes abroad in overly ambitious restaurants (Mexican, Chinese) in Eastern Europe where authentic ingredients were limited and the cooks had only a passing familiarity with the cuisine. It's a natural desire to have something new and different and unless you have a practitioner who's skilled, plentiful ingredients and willing diners you're going to have some adaptation to local tastes.

                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                        Heck, you don't even have to travel to different countries to encounter spectacularly failed attempts at non-local cuisine. Hence, I've never encountered Tex-Mex north of the Red River that wasn't at best mediocre, but more frequently, wretched.

                                                        1. re: ferret

                                                          A lot of 'mexican' food around the world is an adaptation of Mexican American. It's come via corporations like Old El Paso or Taco Bell, or introduced by individual Americans (e.g. free spirits in Amsterdam trying to make a living).

                                                          When talking about 'izations', it is useful to distinguish between cooking in immigrant populations that has to adapt due to different food supplies, and cooking that is marketed to the native population from the start.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            The exposure I've had is from locals trying to exploit an untapped niche in the market and it's been consistently bizarre. It's primarily people who've never experienced the real thing serving people with even less exposure to the cuisine. Sort of like learning to dance from a book. You may know how many steps to take forward, backward and side to side, but if you've never seen it performed fluidly it's just a mechanical exercise.

                                                      2. The early English colonists 'Americanized' their cooking. They added Indian corn (maiz) to the diet, making various sorts of corn cakes and mush, to replace the wheat they had trouble growing.

                                                        1. Of course. Is this even a serious question?

                                                          56 Replies
                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Yes, it is.

                                                            The question is really do other countries when they "-ize" an ethnic cuisine tend to view it derogatorily the way some Americans do with, say, Americanized Chinese or Americanized Chinese, etc.

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Depends on who you're talking to.

                                                              Plenty of Germans are happy with "chop suey" in Chinese restaurants or "carbonara" made with cream in Italian restaurants, or Thai food lacking in any detectable hotness, and "Mexican" is the worst possible rendition of "tex-mex".

                                                              That said, there are of course plenty of people who know better, and who are always on the search for the holy grail of more authentic offerings, much as I hate using this word.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                This is what I was thinking, too. I'd guess some countries think they've improved the cuisine by "ize"ing it.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    I am confused by the idea that entire 'countries' are doing this.

                                                                    It is the struggling immigrant population which does this to attract business. Not some kind of bizarre American takeover. It is the worldwide You No LIke Syndrome which knows no borders.

                                                                    I am guessing that in most cases, their business sense is right. People will not acquire new tastes without some motivation and willingness to challenge themselves.

                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                      It was cell phone shortened speak, wasn't artfully stated. I meant people in those countries, not the country themselves. Generally the immigrants make it to suit the local population, although sometimes it is the natives who might have enjoyed it and try to bring it back. "Americanized" foods are often looked down on, sometimes for the addition of sugar. But, if the Frenchified foods are done using more butter, it can be lauded. Why is sugar bad, but butter good, as taste goes?

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        Adapted Chinese food certainly has its place in the world, but after trying straight up Chinese food, I can see how unsatisfying the bastardization can be.

                                                                        I didn't mention butter..... I've had Chinese food in France, and my impression is that it's lighter tasting than Chinese-American, not served in such enormous portions, and not quite as salty or fatty but with an uncomplicated sweetness. Much more likely to be artfully plated.

                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                          American Chinese food is different. I don't think of them as substitutes but there are times when I just want mu shu pork.

                                                                          No butter in French Chinese food. But, if the French took American food and made it more "french"-like by adding butter, people wouldn't roll their eyes as much as they do when Americans add sugar to match their palate. Why is an affinity for butter considered superior to an affinity for sugar?

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            I am not sure I understand your point - can you give me a concrete example you know about where adding butter is a way of making a dish more accessible to an unfamiliar public??

                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                              ... can you give me a concrete example you know about where adding butter is a way of making a dish more accessible to an unfamiliar public??
                                                                              _____________________

                                                                              Paula Deen on line 1.

                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                What does Paula Deen do? Add butter to SIchuan Shredded Beef? Or perhaps barbecued cuy? Or cassava leaf stew?

                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                  Don't give her any ideas.

                                                                                  Apparently, she has a lot of time on her hands.

                                                                      2. re: Steve

                                                                        Nope. Old El Paso is considered really good Mexican food in France. It's even more horrid than Old El Paso in the US.

                                                                        The French (with the exception of piment d'espelette in the Basque region) don't eat anything with even a hint of heat...and still want to use Emmental cheese.

                                                                        Burritos with no heat and Emmental cheese with cardboard tortillas are vile...but I've seen French people diving in like it was haute cuisine.

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      Are we talking about concepts or terminology? Anyone who uses the term "Americanized Chinese" or "Britishized Indian" (Betty Davis-ize?, anyone?) implies one has knowledge of a traditional cuisine from somewhere else, and that it's been modified for local tastes.

                                                                      I'm not sure I've heard people used the word "Americanized" to convey superiority. I've definitely heard it to convey an alternative, as in Danny Bowien's overly aware “Americanized Oriental food," or as a derogatory term.

                                                                      "I'd guess some countries think they've improved the cuisine by "ize"ing it."

                                                                      Countries might think that, including America, but is it commonly referred to as "ized" cuisine or simply by the name of the cuisine is it derivative of?

                                                                      Edit: I think I may have answered my own question. On the Bay Area board, I think California-ized gets used when someone wants to give a hat tip to fusion, and Americanized get used when someone wants to insult fusion or imply that the food has been watered down.

                                                                      1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                        "I'm not sure I've heard people used the word "Americanized" to convey superiority. "

                                                                        Exactly. Americanized is almost always looked down on. However, when food in other countries are made w/ their slant (just read this thread), it's not met w/ the same eye rolling. People WANT to try that version.

                                                                        "Countries might think that, including America, but is it commonly referred to as "ized" cuisine or simply by the name of the cuisine is it derivative of?"

                                                                        In general, I think most people think of it just as the cuisine, in all countries. We distinguish it here because we're the food geeks discussing details.;-) I don't think most Americans care that General Tsao's chicken isn't chinese. They think it is.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          Exactly. Americanized is almost always looked down on. However, when food in other countries are made w/ their slant (just read this thread), it's not met w/ the same eye rolling. People WANT to try that version.
                                                                          __________________________________

                                                                          It's almost (stressing *almost*) like when other countries take their slant on a foreign cuisine it's romanticized and sometimes, glibly, just called fusion.

                                                                          Whereas "Americanized ___" is culinary rape.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            yes -- even though other versions of "ized" are just as vile and just as much a travesty (in terms of staying true to the original) as anything we've ever dreamt up here.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              I'm not sure that Franco-Chinese, Franco-Thai, or Franco-Mexican food is romanticized on Chowhound.

                                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                                That's because the crowd here is largely from (or in) in the U.S.

                                                                                All a matter of perspective.

                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                  So what are you basing your assumption on? We already know the average person in France has little knowledge of Mexican food. I'm not expecting them to have anything other than a romantic notion of what the food must be like.

                                                                                  It's mostly when you get to a site like Chowhound that you get the strong reactions. After all, a Chinese person looking for a taste of home is not going to be amused when they travel across the city for Manchu Wok or similar.

                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                    We already know the average person in France has little knowledge of Mexican food.
                                                                                    _____________________

                                                                                    Really? And you know this .. how?

                                                                                    (And, please, feel free not to include me in the "we" part.)

                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                      Ipse, really -- all it takes is a visit to most of the "mexicaine" restaurants in Paris, or a trip down the international food aisle to provide more than enough evidence that the average person in France has almost no knowledge of Mexican food. (but, hey -- the average person in the US doesn't have a really clear grasp of Mexican or French food, either....)

                                                                                      There are some exceptions -- Candelaria off of Richard Lenoir is run by a lady from Oaxaca, and she puts out some pretty badass food, and Epicerie Bruno on Rue Tiquetonne has chiles and masa and tortilla presses...but they'll both tell you that other than some isolated bright spots, Mexican food in France typically ranges from dire to nearly inedible. (there's been a recent uptick in new restaurants, so this may change, but at the moment? Not much knowledge. Kinda like thinking Americans eat potatoes and eggs on pizza.)

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Having "knowledge" of a cuisine, and having access to it are to two different things.

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          Knowledge and access may be different things to a highly motivated individual, but to a population as a whole the French are too far removed from Mexican food to have an inkling. So are most Americans, of course, but there is a subset here who have that knowledge. The French don't have all the books, tv shows, the amount of travel to Mexico, and the immigrant population that might expose people through other means that we have here..... and even then most people here don't get much past tacos.

                                                                                          I worked for the French Government for 15 years with a very well traveled part of the population. Their knowledge and interest in Mexican food doesn't add up to much.

                                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                                            What Steve said...times 100.

                                                                                            So they create Mexican food to match their ideal of what they *think* it should be....minus anything resembling heat, because the French simply don't DO spicy. (Piment d'espelette, yes, but that's a pretty gentle heat.)

                                                                                            Kind of like the "American" things that none of us Americans have ever seen anywhere in the US.

                                                                                            (but as I mentioned...if you ask most folks what French people eat, snails, frogs' legs and offal will be at the top of the list...and while they exist, they're certainly not everyday fare)

                                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        Why would anyone be surprised that the French (and others, of course) might have little knowledge of Mexican food (and others, of course)? Cuisine follows migration patterns and, as far as I know, there has been little Mexican immigration to France.

                                                                                        A similar lack of knowledge would apply in my country, where what little "Mexican" food exists is usually a bastardised version of American Tex-Mex food. We have had little immigration from Mexico - our 2001 census showing just over 5000 people of Mexican birth living here (of which nearly half are students).

                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                          True, that there was little immigration to France from Mexico, but many French served in Mexico when the Mexican Emperor was a Napoleonic stooge. These troops, bureaucrats, clergy and merchants were exposed to Mexican Food. Some married Mexican Natives and returned to France as families and others brought Mexican servants back with them.

                                                                                          The culture and food of a colony can reach the mother land without mass immigration of colonial subjects.

                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                            "The culture and food of a colony can reach the mother land without mass immigration of colonial subjects."

                                                                                            Indeed it can. Britons were eating south asian food well before the mass immigration from the sub-continent in the 1970s. Our oldest surviving Indian restaurant dates to 1926. It just didnt become a mass appeal cuisine until after those arrivals and restaurants became more wide-spread.

                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                              Harters, do you know to what extent British functionaries in the Raj "took" to Indian cuisine? I know there is a dish called Chicken Jalfreezi, which is a corruption of General Frazier, and I believe there are pickles and chutneys named after Brits. This suggests to me that many Brits who spent time in India came to appreciate Desi cuisine.

                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                PK - yes folk generally took to local cuisine, even if some dishes were Anglicised to fit in with the British, rather than Indian style of eating. One example would be mulligatawny soup.

                                                                                                And it wasn't just the middle class administrators of the Empire. The other large group of Britons in India was the army. Although quite a late document, I have a copy of the Army's field service book for 1914, which includes a number of recipes for men to cook. It includes curry, chapattis and kebabs.

                                                                                                With the former group, these were men (and their families) who were making a career there and would have been staying long-term, probably until retirement. The soldiers, also, were posted to overseas duty for several years at a time.

                                                                                                Jalfrezi is a sauce style very common in south asian "curry house" restaurants in the UK, where it's served with all the usual restaurant proteins, not just chicken. It's usually one of the hotter preparations. I think it is an Anglo/Indian dish - Wiki suggests the name comes from "jhal" (Bengali for spicy) and "parhezi" (Urdu for suitable for a diet)

                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                  4:50 from Paddington
                                                                                                  By Agatha Christie
                                                                                                  features a curry laced with arsenic. And the cook's plans to use the leftovers in a mulligatawny soup.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    Off-topic here, paulj, but even Agatha Christie would not have been able to conceive a story as morbid as this real "Curry Murder" which happened here in Singapore:
                                                                                                    http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_5...

                                                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                      It's a small step from a fish head curry to a head curry! :)

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        LOL! They never found the body, nor the murder weapon. The true story came out because one of the killers had an attack of conscience (and persistent nightmares) and went to the police to confess.

                                                                                                        BTW, fish-head curry is *one* of my fave dishes in Singapore. In a way, it's Singaporean-ized Indian food, because I've yet to come across a similar dish in all my travels to India.

                                                                                                      2. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                        I think I'd heard vague references to it before, but wow, what an oddly interesting story!

                                                                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                                                                      Interesting to hear that the Jalfrezi is one of the hotter dishes. Just like how the British Asian Indian curry Phaal is one of the hottest curries around.

                                                                                                    3. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                      The story of General Frazier sounds apocryphal to me. Jalfrezi seems very much a native South Asian technique for dry-frying meats or proteins. On the heat spectrum I have always found it sweet-spicy, like a hotter dopiaza.

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                        Apparently so. I read of this etymology in a couple of places, but there doesn't seem to be any real proof of its accuracy. And in my cursory research, I haven't even been able to find evidence that a General Frazier served in the Raj.

                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                          I hadnt heard the Frazier reference before. I'd treat it like I treat the sotry that it was the Earl of Sandwich who "invented" the sandwich. Whilst I'm sure his decision to ask for some meat between two slices of bread, so he could continue gambling, certainly popularised it, I find it incredible to think that no-one had thought of it before. Not least as bread was the staple before potatoes came to Europe.

                                                                                                    4. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                      Not really. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the fact that a significant number of the troops who fought in Mexico under Napoleon never made it back to France.

                                                                                                      There just aren't many Mexican immigrants in France (the Oaxacan lady I mention elsewhere being a notable exception). Plenty from Asia and Africa, though.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Planet Taco has good material on the interaction of French and Mexican cooking. There were Mexican diplomats in France who occasionally tried to recreate tastes from home, but other wise there wasn't much influence in that direction. However French cooking did significantly influence Mexican cooking. In part is was the brief occupation. But perhaps more important was the fact that France was the country to imitate in the 19th c if you wanted to be cultured and urbane.

                                                                                                        In modern taco trucks, tortas the the most obvious evidence of a French influence.

                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolillo
                                                                                                            "A bolillo (Spanish pronunciation: [boˈliʝo]) or pan francés (meaning "French bread") is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico, where it originates, and Central America. It is a variation of the baguette, but shorter in length and is often baked in a stone oven."

                                                                                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                        There is one Mexican restaurant in the city of Bordeaux. It's known for its fajitas.

                                                                                                        Apparently the great Franco-Mexican culinary transfer of the Napoleonic Era has long since diminished.

                                                                                              2. re: Steve

                                                                                                My comment wasn't referring to "on Chowhound". It always made me chuckle to be invited to someone's home for dinner, and they'd trot out the awful Old El Paso because, you know, it's American/Mexican food!

                                                                                                We thanked them profusely, and ate our dinner and enjoyed the company....truly a case of "it's the thought that counts".

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    I realize there's no logical reason why, but that makes me giggle. Mexican food in Norway?

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      In Planet Taco I read about 'Taco Friday' in Norway.

                                                                                                      http://articles.latimes.com/2006/sep/...
                                                                                                      "I would wager that every family in Sweden has tacos at least once a month, and maybe a third eats them every week," Anne Skoogh, a local food blogger, told me. "It's a Friday night come-home-from-work-relax-thing," she said. "It's really popular."

                                                                                                      A debate as to whether Tex-Mex is the most popular 'ethnic' food in Sweden
                                                                                                      http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index....

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti night in the US - why Taco Friday in Norway? (still makes me giggle)

                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Swedes have been enjoying Mexican holidays for years. Norwegians feel somewhat superior to Swedes, and are now visiting Mexico to see what they have been missing. I have had spirited debates with travelers from both countries, all in good fun, with 'ritas in hand and toes in the sand.

                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      My father was in the children's clothing business in the 50s and 60s. One of our biggest suppliers made the boys play clothes branded "Billy the Kid." They were manufactured in El Paso. Every year at Christmas a gift from the owners of the factory would arrive at our home, a carton packed with the bright yellow boxes and cans labelled Old El Paso. We NEVER opened this stuff, we had been warned how bad it was. When we visited the factory in 1961, we were taken across the river to Juarez for 'real' Mexican food. My father asked why they kept sending the annual goft of Old El Paso and were told it was subsidized the the local business association to promote the local economy. In 1968 my parents sold theior house and we discarded cases of Old El Paso that had mee laying in the basement for years.

                                                                                                    3. re: Steve

                                                                                                      Didn't you just romanticise it here? ["I've had Chinese food in France, and my impression is that it's lighter tasting than Chinese-American, not served in such enormous portions, and not quite as salty or fatty but with an uncomplicated sweetness. Much more likely to be artfully plated."]
                                                                                                      Clearly you've been selective about the restaurants.

                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                        While I have never seen the "more likely to be artfully plated", I would file Steve's post as an observation -- yes, the portions are smaller, yes they're less salty and greasy.

                                                                                                        My own personal theory is that Chinese in France is heavily influenced by the former French possessions of southeast Asia - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam -- so the Chinese food there tends to "lean" toward southeast Asia, rather than mainland China.

                                                                                                        It's quite tasty, for the most part. (yes, I've had utterly horrid "Chinese" food in France)

                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                          I do not consider lighter tasting, less salty, or less fatty to be better, so no romanticism intended. The selection of Chinese food in France is more on the part of the restaurants themselves.

                                                                                                          As sunshine842 said, part of that is probably the influence of the Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian and others. Straight up Chinese is harder to find in France, especially outside Paris. "autres spécialités asiatiques" is a common catchphrase.

                                                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                                                            The difference in flavour, yes-- although I've certainly encountered heavy and too sweet dishes in France (Chinese) and did not notice a penchant for artful arrangements.

                                                                                                            But it's ok to prefer France. I certainly do. :)

                                                                                          2. Yup, try Chinese food in Mexico. Not sure what is different about it, but it is definitely not what we have in San Francisco.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: hankstramm

                                                                                              LOL! Reminded me of the tale recounted by two Brazilian colleagues from my company's Rio de Janeiro office. They were in Mexico City last year and were brought out for a meal one evening. After dinner, they thanked the Mexican colleagues for a delicious Mexican meal. The Mexican colleagues were flabbergasted and said, "Oh, but this is Chinese!" :-D

                                                                                            2. Of course other countries do. Why wouldn't they? Or is it that you elevate other nations' takes on dishes as somehow a culinary gift whilst the U.S. can be only 'destructive'?

                                                                                              Others are giving examples, but this question seems predicated on a prejudice and something potentially ineffable: What do you mean by 'makes it red, white, and blue'? It seems that even within the U.S. there are regional takes on various cuisines.

                                                                                              1. Definitely. I think pretty much any culture has a tendency to adapt other culture's cuisines to local ingredients, preparation techniques, and tastes.

                                                                                                Chinese food in India is quite different than Chinese food in the US. I've had Taiwanesed Italian, Japanese and American food, and of course there's Japanese Curry (take Indian food, run it through Western culture and import) and of course, the Okinawan specialty of taco rice.

                                                                                                For lunch today, I had a Caesar salad naan. A nan-like flat bread, topped with a hot dog, shredded lettuce and bottled caesar dressing. Accompanied by spicy fries and a glass of drinkable jelly. (This was at a Japanese burger chain (Mos Burger) in Taiwan).

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                  Mos Burger's Caesar Salad Naan his a fairly big hit in Tokyo.
                                                                                                  I see posters for it often.

                                                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                    Bloody hell. Sounds like a cultural Tower o' Babel.

                                                                                                  2. I'm not sure I'm completely understanding the OP - but, on the assumption that it's asking if "foreign food" is adapted to a host country's taste and expectations, then I'm sure of it. Not least, as logic says it's bound to be. There will be different ingredients available, different presumptions about what food should be like.

                                                                                                    For example, as I understand matters, much Chinese food in America is Cantonese in origin. Similarly, much Chinese food in the UK is Cantonese in origin. But the food is often very different - dishes common in the States are unheard of here. Dishes with the same name taste different.

                                                                                                    With significant exceptions, "Indian" food in the UK bears little resemblance to food in India and could be regarded as almost a separate cuisine. Not least as it is usually a Bangladeshi take on Punjabi dishes. It would be interesting to see if South Asian food in America has a significant different take to that in the UK - or, as I suspect may be the case, that its Americanised "British South Asian"

                                                                                                    We also have Anglicised American food - leaving aside fast food chains, it is very sterotypical. Places near me offer BBQ - but the style of the restaurant is a take on an American chain BBQ restaurant set-up. Nor is it done very well, even at that level.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                      All my english colleagues complain that you can't get good indian food in nyc.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                        Ah. Now indicates two possibilities. Firstly that Americanised "British Indian" isnt done very well. Or, second, that South Asian food in America is coming from another route and is therefore just unfamiliar to your colleagues.

                                                                                                        Without wishing to be overly pedantic, is it just your English colleagues who complain and other folk from the UK don't - or are you using "English" instead of "British"? There is a reason for asking - it's that the Scots tend to think they have the best South Asian food in the country.

                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                          > There is a reason for asking - it's that the Scots tend to think they have the best South Asian food in the country.<

                                                                                                          With some justification, although I do offer up apologies for Chicken Tikka Masala. Vile stuff.

                                                                                                          I like this place at the moment. It's very, very good.

                                                                                                          http://curry-heute.com/?page_id=1054

                                                                                                          And on the theme of "ized" food the Babu Bombay Street Kitchen does some brilliant Scottish Indian mixes that work surprisingly well.

                                                                                                          http://www.babu-kitchen.com/menu/

                                                                                                          1. re: stilldontknow

                                                                                                            Apology accepted. We all make mistakes :-0

                                                                                                            My only recent experience "up north" was at Mitha's in Edinburgh a few weeks back. One of those places that tries to put a westernised spin to the food and, like most, ends up being neither good western food, or good south asian.

                                                                                                      1. The one that stands out to me, because my friends often wanted to go out for it is what we called Czinese.
                                                                                                        Chinese in the Czech Republic. Keep the meat, rice, some veg and the gloopy sauce and take away any and all spice. And you have Czinese.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                            It was some awful czit. But beer has a way of making things better.

                                                                                                          2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                            I'm veering off-topic but we recently experienced the oddity that is Budapest. I had some really fantastic meals there but also noticed that "goulash" is on every menu, even in Chinese restaurants. It turned into a game for the kids, they rushed to every restaurant menu display to "spot the goulash." I'm pretty certain their success rate was 100%.

                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                              Interesting. I was only there once for a long weekend, but I did notice it was goulash-heavy. Beautiful city, but it is sort of an odd bird.

                                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                I believe Budapest's airport is Goulash International.

                                                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                  Goulash and/or goulash soup are on most German, Austrian, Swiss, Slovenian, Croatian menus. It's one of my favorite foods and I try it in every country I visit. In Vienna, there is a wonderful restaurant devoted to goulash called the Goulashmuseum.

                                                                                                                2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                  This is funny as it is the first thing I thought of when I saw the title. Czech Chinese is definitely geared towards the local tastes. I have to say though it was a nice change of pace when you've been eating Czech food for months.

                                                                                                                3. David Rosengarten has a great book called "It's all American Food" in which he covers both regional American cuisine and 'Americanized' ethnic cuisine with recipes and history. He includes places from all over the globe- starting with Chinese-American and going on from there.

                                                                                                                  Don't think the book had big sales like his Dean and Deluca cookbook, but it was interesting and his recipes work IME.

                                                                                                                    1. I have run into Turkified German food. There have been so many Turks who were employed as guest workers in Germany, that they have opened 'German' restaurants here in the states. BUT, it is not 'authentic" German food that is served, but German food with a Turkish nuance. the spicing and sauces are slightly off. It may have been acceptable to serve to the thousands of ex-pat Turks in germany, but doesn't work for Americans seeking German food.

                                                                                                                      Similarly, the diner business here in Connecticut for the past 50 years is predomiantly Greek owned. For years, my late father always warned, NEVER order Italian food in a Greek diner. The sauce was always off, spices that were Greek were added where they didn't belong. So you got Greco-Italian food. It is even worse not that these Greek-American (next generation) owners have predominantly Mexican kitchen help. The cooks are being trained by those who really don't know how to cook the 'Italian' cuisine yielding "Greco-Mexican-Italian" garbage.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                        I wonder if all the Egyptian pizzaiolis in Italy have in any corrupted the pies there?

                                                                                                                      2. every country does it...

                                                                                                                        1. Once went to a Chinese resto in the termini district of Rome. Noodle dishes were much more pasta-y than I'm used to as an American. Instead of soy sauce they had balsamic at the table. Etc

                                                                                                                          1. This post brings back memories for me of "foreign food" served in Andalucia Spain in the 1990's. specifically the Chinese restaurants which all looked the same and had many variations of greaseless moo shu filling as entrees. Also a slightly upscale cafe that served "Cuban rice" consisting of baked beans, a side of rice covered in tomato concentrate, a fried egg and fried regular bananas cut in half. The mcds appeared to have the same menu but had quite delicious cheeseburgers. There were also a good number of North African tea houses that were delicious but quite overly romantic as far as casbah goes.

                                                                                                                            1. Edinburgh, Scotland has an 'isation' of what I'll call 'American-Elvis': a variety of astonishing battered and deep-fried concoctions.
                                                                                                                              Mars bar? Don't mind if I do. Crunchy with a hint of fish on the outside, searing hot magma in the middle...
                                                                                                                              Not your thing?
                                                                                                                              How about a frozen wedge of industrial pizza encased in the aforementioned fishy batter? Some places batter-fry-batter-fry the slice for maximum cardiac distress.

                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: pippimac

                                                                                                                                Really, pippimac?
                                                                                                                                My impression is that the act of battering all in sight is considered Scottish, and not an adoption of American practice. (The Mars bar, some argue, is a concoction developed from the stereotype that the Scots batter and fry everything.)
                                                                                                                                Sometimes, I fear that the attempt to account for America and American exceptionalism leads to an exceptionalism of its own.

                                                                                                                                Also, why are you identifying Edinburgh alone?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                  IIRC, the deep fried Mars bar was invented in the mid-90s at a chippy in Aberdeen. As Lizard indicates it's popularity is because it is exactly the stereotype of the Scottish diet (accpeted to be generally the poorest diet of the regions of the UK)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                    By the way... the Mars bar in the UK is what is called a Milky Way in the US. And the European Milky Way is like the US 3 Musketeers. The US Mars bar is different altogether.

                                                                                                                                    Although things may have changed the last few years. I am basing this on my work consulting with the Mars company in the late '90's. (Not food related consulting.)

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                    This is my thought, too, about battering--kind of a fusion of technique w/ American food, like A Salt and Battery in NY. It's not an "American" food restaurant.

                                                                                                                                    http://asaltandbattery.com/home

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      The Scottish penchant for deep-frying things, such as Mars bars and pizza, is simply an extension of the range sold in fish & chip shops.

                                                                                                                                      Britons have been battering and deep-frying fish since, at least, the middle of the 19th century. Our first fish & chip shop opened (some 20 miles from where I live) in 1863. The process of battering and frying fish pre-dates that and is presumed to have brought here by Jewish immigrants - the first significant immigration to our part of the UK was in the early 1840s (although immigration had started much earlier, with the first synagogue opening in the city in 1825)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                        Very interesting. And surprising! I'd always assumed ol' Julius C. brought over a Presto Fry Daddy back about the time of our savior.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        http://www.mars.com/uk/en/about.aspx

                                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_bar

                                                                                                                                        The UK Mars Bar is different from the US one. It's closer to the US Milky Way. It's been produced in the UK since 1932.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                          Quite a few of their candy bars have the same name as ones in the US but aren't the same. Regardless of what the names are, I don't think of the battering/deep frying as a strictly "American" thing any more than deep fried pizza is an Italian thing.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                            A melted down Mars Bar (use a double boiler) makes agreat sauce for ice cream

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                We don't have Mars Bars anymore. :-( Snickers makes an almond version that's pretty close, but not quite it.

                                                                                                                                                I suppose it's well enough. I don't need to be eating candy bars!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                I didn't see this reply when I wrote mine...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                              Apologies; I got caught up in a bit of an OT internal riff on 'the international language of junk food'. Or something.
                                                                                                                                              Lizard, I'm very much not defending my silly post, but it may or may not be relevant that I'm not from the USA.
                                                                                                                                              Why Edinburgh? I lived there for a couple of years, and there just seemed to be some especially creative battering and frying going on!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                And many of the regions where I expect batter-fried everything at country fairs have major Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and Welsh ancestry.

                                                                                                                                            2. Everyone (especially the expats} in Ljubljana, Slovenia during the late 90's was anticipating the new Mexican restaurant. It was an oddity. For instance, they made guacamole at your table, but at the end, put this huge dollop of sour cream in it. It was just strange tasting. The cheese they used was odd and I couldn't place it. Some things were pretty good, but it did not feel Mexican. It was actually a 2nd restaurant from Munich, Germany, so it was probably Germanized food first, then Slovenia-ized.

                                                                                                                                              It never satisfied my cravings for Mexican food. The Maximarkt had Rosaritos corn chips and salsa though and I made my own guacamole. My landlady let me grow cilantro in her garden, but couldn't understand why I would eat such vile tasting stuff.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: shoo bee doo

                                                                                                                                                It may have just been your landlady since Slovenia imports 10-20K lbs. of coriander seed a year. Or maybe they only use the seed in cooking and not the fresh coriander/cilantro herb (svež koriander.)

                                                                                                                                              2. Sri Lankan Chinese food is the best Chinese food I've ever had. Really. Much better than the Canadian or American versions, spicier than normal Chinese, and much more suited for our palates.

                                                                                                                                                1. Try what passes for Italian food in most French provincial cities--it's not "francophized" as such but takes on a blah, transalpine tastlessness that's neither here nor there. Just looks like pasta.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Trip to Barcelona circa 1996:

                                                                                                                                                    * "Hamburger" ordered in a restaurant (it was late and all that I recognized on the menu). Received ground ham - on a baguette - with aioli. It was actually good, if very odd.

                                                                                                                                                    * Chinese food - no idea what was ordered or what we received; food was good / fresh, but didn't not taste like Americanized-Chinese or what I think of as being San Gabriel Valley Chinese (meaning, it didn't seem to be indicative of a certain region or cooking style). Just a mish-mash of vegetables and sauces that didn't seem Spanish, Catalonian, or Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                    * Hosts asked if I'd make Mexican food for them. We went to the grocery. Fine with the fresh veggies, had to make the flour tortillas from scratch (my first attempt at that), and the only things close, spice-wise, that I could come to were cayenne and cumin. Did break down and buy a can of Old El Paso (predominantly featured in their equivalent of the "ethnic food aisle") to see how it was. It was bad.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ElsieDee

                                                                                                                                                      Once, I asked the General Manager of Thai Airways' Madrid office (she was sitting next to me during a flight from Bangkok to Madrid) where I could find the *best* Thai restaurant in Barcelona, where I was heading. She recommended Thai Garden, now called Thai Barcelona (http://www.thaibarcelona.es/). Unfortunately, when I finally tried that one evening (needed something spicy after 10+ days of Catalonian cuisine), I found the Thai dishes there watered down to suit local tastes. Even the Thai green curry was cooked using capsicums rather than spicy green chillies. Obviously, the Thai Airways GM had been in Spain for too long.

                                                                                                                                                      The spiciest cuisine I tried in Barcelona was at Betawi Indonesian Restaurant (https://plus.google.com/1108069164474...) on Carrer de Montsió, 6. But that's because a Singaporean colleague and I spoke in Indonesian to the waiters to make sure we get authentic food. We finally got our chilli fix that day - but I actually wished we'd gone to the legendary El Quatre Gats instead, which was right across from Betawi at Carrer de Montsió, 3.

                                                                                                                                                    2. The link below is a website for a place in Dubai that bills itself as an Indianized-Chinese restaurant. I might just go and check it out.

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.gypsychinese.com/

                                                                                                                                                      1. We ate at a Chinese restaurant a couple of weeks ago in Macas/Ecuador! My dish came screaming hot temperature-wise and was quite delicious and well spiced. According to the Chinese proprietor we ate Cantonese. I am not an expert, so I have no idea if it was Cantonese! Somehow the taste seemed to have a bit of an "Ecuadorean twist", if that was possible. Pictures included.
                                                                                                                                                        And in a different town in Ecuador we went to an Italian place and ate a decent Pizza, reminiscent of Pizza Margherita, it had a nice crispy crust!
                                                                                                                                                        Years ago we ate Chinese in Barranquilla/Colombia, I remember it very distinctly being Colombian/Chinese.
                                                                                                                                                        Btw in Iceland you can eat "American food": Mexican, great looking Hamburgers and better Pizza than in many Italian eateries here in NJ/USA.
                                                                                                                                                        Now eating German in the United States, I must say I have never seen so much Sauerkraut on any German table ever!! :-)

                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        1. Rice patty burgers in Japan, or octopus burgers at MOS Burger (unless I completely misread it).

                                                                                                                                                          The chocolate shake I had in Jakarta. Liquid sugar was served separately.

                                                                                                                                                          Condensed milk and/or brown sugar on pasta in the Philippines. Gross, and gorss.

                                                                                                                                                          Jonathan
                                                                                                                                                          http://buildingmybento.com/
                                                                                                                                                          http://collaterallettuce.com/

                                                                                                                                                          1. From watching Korean drama and from my brother who taught English in Korea for a few years, I learned that pickles are often served with Italian pasta to cut the richness. And pastas tend to be saucier as well.

                                                                                                                                                            There's actually an episode of the Korean drama "Pasta" where a chef in an Italian resto banned pickles and it was scandalous to the guests! It was a fascinating watch.