Random Thoughts....

CraigB

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The crab rangoon is a little folded pastry stuffed with a little cream cheese and imitation crab meat, then fried. I'm not a huge cream cheese fan, but they aren't bad.

For a second there I thought that was ice cream. I assume they have a light prawn flavor and are slightly salty? If so, I want some! :D
 

stiggie

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Cream cheese?!?

Traditional East-Asian cuisines don't have dairy products in them. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai..... they are all dairy-free. East-Asians never developed a tolerance for lactose like Europeans, Middle-Eastern people and Indians did.

For a second there I thought that was ice cream. I assume they have a light prawn flavor and are slightly salty? If so, I want some! :D
Yeah, that's a pretty good description of them.
 

CraigB

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More of that local influence I suppose.
 

stiggie

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Do you have dishes with Mongolian sauce? Mongolian Lamb, Mongolian Beef, Mongolian Chicken?

It is a spicy dark sauce added to stir-fried meat and vegetables. Generally looks like this-

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Holy crap its half past five in the morning!!! :eek:

Gotta go.
 

CraigB

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Not that I have seen, but we have Mongolian BBQ places. You pick out what meats, veg, sauce and other things you want, they cook it right there and hand you what you created. It's kind of gimmicky, but also kind of fun.
 

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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.
I would point out that some of those changes reflect regional differences in cuisine in Mexico; there isn't one monolithic Mexican cuisine style any more than there's just one "American" barbecue style. (For those that don't know, there's at least 5 or so major different US BBQ styles.) If they're used to Northern Mexican style "Mexican" food, they're going to be rather put off by Western Mexico style food. And then there's Tex-Mex, which is like Northern Mexico style food yet uniquely different. Actually just had this conversation with a friend from Nebraska who was wondering why the "Mexican" food he had at home didn't resemble the "Mexican" food here in Dallas on his last visit, let alone the Tex-Mex offerings. Traditional Northern Mexican cuisine features cheeses, no pico and no sour cream.

Wikipedia has a decent set of capsule descriptions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_cuisine#Regional_cuisines

Do you have dishes with Mongolian sauce? Mongolian Lamb, Mongolian Beef, Mongolian Chicken?

It is a spicy dark sauce added to stir-fried meat and vegetables. Generally looks like this-
Which IIRC isn't actually Mongolian. Yes, we do actually get that in the normal run of Chinese food, but only the beef is common. I've never seen any place offering Mongolian lamb and I've only seen one place offering Mongolian chicken as a regular menu item.

FYI, lamb is not all that popular a meat in the US per se.

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.
This requires some explanation of American history. At the time, Frenchism was thought to be the epitome of high society by many in the US and many things French or thought to be French were copied (sometimes imperfectly) by Americans who wished to emphasize their societal position or just do something "nice" or "classy". Americans would incessantly question travelers from Europe about the latest fashions and practices of France in this era.

Classic French Service has a number of problems - but chief among which for this discussion, it requires a relatively large number of staff to prepare and serve the food. Despite the whole slavery thing, Americans were never big on huge numbers of house servants as the French nobility found so necessary. Thomas Jefferson's house staff would historically struggle to put on a state dinner service for more than a few persons à la française both during and after his presidency, IIRC. The fact that this was an issue for the Americans was one reason why so many European powers thought so little of the new nation in that time, actually. "Can't even put on a proper dinner."

One reason "service à la russe" caught on in France in the early part of the 19th century is because directly after the French Revolution and Le Terreur immediately after that, the surviving French upper class no longer had the vast armies of servants they had at their disposal before. This becoming the "new French fashion," it spread to America and caught on as a style that didn't require a large house staff - which Americans didn't have anyway.

As it should be. Chow mein literally translates as "stir-fried noodles". The dish is supposed to be almost entirely comprised of noodles.
Booooooooooooring. :p Many restaurants here serve a chow mein with added ingredients such as beef, shrimp, chicken, etc.

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-
Yeah, I dunno what that guy got but it's not what's usually given that name 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.
Don't forget there will be regional variations even within China (as there are in any nation) and if an immigrant group comes from a specific area of a country, you're going to get their cuisine. If another country gets a group primarily from another area, there may be a different take on the national cuisine. See my commentary on Mexican food above.

Saving myself typing by linking to Wikipedia and other sources:

Chop suey is popularly thought to be an American invention but it apparently isn't - it's actually a provincial dish in China. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chop_suey#Origins

Kung Pao/Kung Po Chicken or Beef is indeed from Sichuan cuisine - Kung Pao is actually the original name of the dish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kung_Pao_chicken

Egg Drop Soup is actually a traditional Asian dish, but it's called 'Egg Flower Soup' there.

Orange chicken as served in the US is a wholly US invention. Panda Express invented it (the same one I screenshotted above) and arguably still has the best. It's vaguely and distantly based on Hunan sweet-and-sour dishes.

Dim Sum is something I'm familiar with, with part of my family being of direct Cantonese extraction. Yes, it's the same thing as Yum Cha. Waaaaaaaayyyy too many Sundays spent at a dim sum house. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dim_sum

Your Dim Sim seems to be some variation on what we have here as the egg roll.

I assume you have prawn chips over there. A Chinese meal without prawn chips is almost unimaginable.
Negative. Not a common 'Chinese food' item here.

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.
View attachment 3555302
It's ostensibly a Burmese recipe and would explain the use of dairy product, but it's more likely something a Burmese guy came up with over here or was inspired by a Burmese recipe.

The closest counterpart to prawn chips we have in American Chinese cuisine is fried wonton noodles, which are served as an accessory to soup or thrown in with a large order.


Do you have prawn toast over there?
Only ever seen it on the menu once - and this was at a tourist trap Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. I suspect the prawn foods you list are a result of a large percentage of your Chinese immigrants coming from coastal areas in China, whereas a lot of the Chinese who historically immigrated to the US were from inland areas.


And now I really want some Panda Express Orange Chicken.....
 
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stiggie

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I hadn't heard of orange chicken until it was mentioned on The Big Bang Theory, along with tangerine chicken. I'd really like to try it one day. The closest things I can think of served down here would be honey chicken and lemon chicken. Honey chicken looks like orange chicken in form. Small bite-sized pieces coated in flour before being cooked in a sauce. Though the honey chicken tends to have sesame seeds on it. Lemon chicken down here tends to be a large piece of floured chicken that is cooked and then sliced before a lemon sauce is poured over the top.

I'm not sure about dim sims being like egg rolls. Dim sims are essentially a dumpling. Are egg rolls ever steamed? Dim sims are served steamed or deep fried. In Chinese restaurants they are usually dipped in soy sauce. In Fish and Chip shops they are usually sprinkled with Australia's greatest (and least known overseas) culinary invention..... chicken salt.

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If authentic Aussie chicken salt ever makes it to America, it will change your lives forever.
 
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Spectre

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I hadn't heard of orange chicken until it was mentioned on The Big Bang Theory, along with tangerine chicken. I'd really like to try it one day. The closest things I can think of served down here would be honey chicken and lemon chicken. Honey chicken looks like orange chicken in form. Small bite-sized pieces coated in flour before being cooked in a sauce. Though the honey chicken tends to have sesame seeds on it. Lemon chicken down here tends to be a large piece of floured chicken that is cooked and then sliced before a lemon sauce is poured over the top.

I'm not sure about dim sims being like egg rolls. Dim sims are essentially a dumpling. Are egg rolls ever steamed? Dim sims are served steamed or deep fried-

View attachment 3555306
Egg rolls are usually served/sold fried, though I have seen them steamed.



Fried or sometimes baked is far more popular than steamed.

The description of honey chicken seems to be similar to orange chicken, except orange chicken has (surprise) oranges. Sesame seeds are optional. Lemon chicken in the US is similar to honey chicken in terms of breaded pieces, but the breaded pieces are cooked without a sauce. A lemon sauce is later poured over it or served in a cup as a dipping sauce on the side. There are variants where the chicken is cooked in a lemon sauce (like honey or orange chicken) and sesame seeds.

I did finally manage to get an order of orange chicken this evening. :D
 
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stiggie

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My wife wants to try pumpkin spice and when looking for a shop in Australia that imports it I noticed that one of them sells Panda Express orange chicken sauce in a bottle. I might get some when it comes back in stock.
 

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Yeah, I got the impression that pumpkin spice was being over-used when John Oliver started making fun of it a couple of years ago. But she still wants to find out what it tastes like. She watches waaaaay too many food bloggers on YouTube. She actually watches people reviewing army MREs from around the world.
 

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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.
View attachment 3555302
I love those but I never saw them in restaurants, only in Asian stores. You buy a box with a bunch of those whoch you fry in hot oil and watch them unfold and puff up. It's kinda magical.
 

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Krupuk (the Indonesian name) is a staple over here, mainly thanks to the Dutch murdering, raping, enslaving colonizing Indonesia for centuries, it's had a big influence on our food.
 

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Yeah, I got the impression that pumpkin spice was being over-used when John Oliver started making fun of it a couple of years ago. But she still wants to find out what it tastes like. She watches waaaaay too many food bloggers on YouTube. She actually watches people reviewing army MREs from around the world.
Has she tried a Chai Latte? it's pretty much the same thing.
 

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Sesame prawn toast is delicious. I've never tried making it myself but it's probably not difficult.
 

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Just had actual Chinese cuisine in a small restaurant.

No idea what it was called, but a ton of beef with some onions and peppers, stir fried.

It was awesome! I'll definitely go back and try something else.
 
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