Random Thoughts....

CraigB

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We've got one of those in Joplin, never been. As I said, I don't eat often at Chinese restaurants. If we are going for Asian food we tend to go for Japanese.
 

Spectre

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We've got one of those in Joplin, never been. As I said, I don't eat often at Chinese restaurants. If we are going for Asian food we tend to go for Japanese.
You should go. While not terribly authentic, the orange chicken is so good and in demand that the running joke is that it is laced with opium. :p

Dammit, now I want some Panda Express orange chicken and the store doesn’t open for another hour plus.
 

CraigB

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I'll have to give it a go sometime. Biggest problem is Mrs. B isn't a huge fan of Chinese food. Every once in awhile she'll want to go for some, but not more than a few times a year.
 

gaasc

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You should go. While not terribly authentic, the orange chicken is so good and in demand that the running joke is that it is laced with opium. :p
Can Confirm. Went to America, had some and seriously considered the options to haul some of it home...this is also true of Starbucks chocolate chip cookies.
 

stiggie

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I first encountered the American use of the term "entree" when shopping online for dinnerware. It confused the fuck out of me why American websites were calling the biggest plates "entree" plates instead of the smaller ones.

That link Spectre posted raises more questions for me than it answers. It says that "entree" was being used in France by 1759 and talks about the "traditional French multi-course meal". But as I understand it, French meals were traditionally served with all the courses arriving at the same time. This is still referred to in culinary circles as "French Service". Serving each course one at a time is "Russian Service" and didn't start being practiced in France until the 1800's.

That said, most US Chinese restaurants that I’ve seen offer a ‘chow mein’ containing noodles. (Often there is more noodles than anything else, but that’s another separate issue.)
As it should be. Chow mein literally translates as "stir-fried noodles". The dish is supposed to be almost entirely comprised of noodles.

Please feel free to beat whoever told you that we generally don’t use noodles in chow mein.
It was a YouTube video of an American who lives in China taking his Chinese girlfriend to a Chinese restaurant on a visit home to the States to show her America's idea of what Chinese food is. One of the dishes she is given is called chow mein but is just a plate of stir-fried vegetables with a side of rice. She can't believe it. I'll try to embed the video here-


As an Australian, I have been hearing the names of strange Chinese dishes in American sitcoms and movies all my life. We hear them all the time and have no idea what they mean because they aren't featured in any Chinese restaurants here in Australia. Just like the United States, Australia had a significant influx of Chinese immigrants during gold rushes in the 1800's. I guess our different ideas of Chinese food come from how the cuisines have evolved differently over the last century. You mentioned General Tso's chicken. That is one of the dishes we hear of all the time but have no idea what it is. According to the video, it actually sounds like a Chinese swear word. Other examples are Chop Suey (no clue, I assume that it is actually an American invention and not Chinese at all), Kung Pao chicken (I suspect it may be what we would call Szechuan Chicken), Egg-Drop Soup and Orange Chicken (not to be found down here, but they seem fairly self-explanatory), Dim Sum (the term is never used here but I expect it is similar to Yum Cha). Dim Sum is particularly confusing for Australians because we have a type of large pork dumpling down here called a Dim Sim. It was invented in Melbourne in the 40's by a Chinese-born chef. His daughter went on to become a celebrity chef. Dim Sims are cylindrical, about two inches long, filled with mostly pork and cabbage and wrapped in the same sort of pastry as a traditional Chinese wonton. They are either steamed or deep fried and served with soy sauce. They became so popular that many fast food outlets that use a deep fryer started selling them, especially Fish-and-Chip shops.

Edit: re-watching the video above I'm reminded of Eggroll. that is another thing we have no idea about down here.
 
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CraigB

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And don't forget Cashew Chicken. Invented about an hour east of me in Springfield, Missouri. It is literally fried boneless chicken in brown gravy with cashews on top.

What I think this shows is the original recipes get corrupted to either fit the pallet of the people buying the food or what local ingredients are available. I see people in Mexican restaurants ordering a dish and then changing just about everything to fit their limited pallet. They replace the red/green sauce with cheese sauce, no pico de gallo, no sour cream, etc. Why not just eat it the way it was put on the menu? You may actually like it.
 

CraigB

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Do you have prawn toast over there?
Not here. What is it?

Edit: Googled it, I have heard of it, but can't remember seeing it offered here.
 
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stiggie

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I guess it is best described as French toast coated in minced prawns and sesame seeds before being fried.

It is most commonly served as part of a "mixed entree" appetiser along with a fried dim sim, a mini spring roll and a slice of ham and chicken roll-

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CraigB

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Looks pretty tasty. Do you dip it any sauce or eat as served?
 

CraigB

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Nope. None of those either.

Chinese here usually has an egg roll or crab rangoon with it. Shrimp/prawns only come on an entree at an extra cost over beef or chicken. (See what I did there. :D )
 

stiggie

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Never heard of a crab rangoon. Doesn't sound very Chinese. Rangoon is the capital of Myanmar (Burma).

Prawn chips are not an actual meal and are usually thrown in for free with any large order. They are very crunchy, but will dissolve on your tongue if you eat them slowly.
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