Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Authentic vs. American Chinese Food

In between stops on my Chinese food tour, I thought I'd give you some fun facts about Chinese food. This one comes from a Wikipedia search on American Chinese food. Enjoy!

American Chinese food typically treats vegetables as a garnish while cuisines of China emphasize vegetables. This can be seen in the use of carrots and tomatoes. Native Chinese cuisine makes frequent use of Asian leafy vegetables like bok choy and kai-pan, and puts a greater emphasis on fresh meat and seafood. As a result, American Chinese food is usually less pungent than authentic cuisine.

American Chinese food tends to be cooked very quickly and with a great deal of oil and salt. Many dishes are quickly and easily prepared, and require inexpensive ingredients. Stir-frying, pan-frying, and deep-frying tend to be the most common cooking techniques which are all easily done using a wok. The food also has a reputation for high levels of MSG to enhance flavor. The symptoms of a so-called Chinese restaurant syndrome or "Chinese food syndrome" have been attributed to a glutamate sensitivity, but carefully controlled scientific studies have not demonstrated such negative effects of glutamate....American Chinse cuisine often uses ingredients not native and very rarely used in China. One such example is the common use of broccoli in American Chinese cuisine.

To read more go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Chinese_cuisine.

Who knew there was such a thing as "Chinese food syndrome"? I really better watch out for that! And if authentic Chinese food does not include "a great deal of oil and salt", then I will have to say "no thank you", give me the American version any day! Oil and salt is what defines American food, right?


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