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Thread: Chinese food in China; not as good as expected

  1. #26
    Regular Member cyberryo's Avatar
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    Forget to add: I agree though quality/price ratio is not as good or uniform as that in Japan. Can`t comment about the quality of European or US Chinese restaurants except to say that much depends on the cook. I stayed in Milwaukee for one year and have tried various Chinese restaurants in the city. I finally stuck with one restaurant where the chef is a migrant from HongKong and who worked in a reputable restaurant in HongKong before. He would cook authentic Chinese food on personal request. Most of the time, the quality is cooked just right for Western taste...too bland. One man`s food another man`s poison?
    Ken

  2. #27
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    I know that it's adapted to Western taste. That's also why some dishes cannot be found in China, and other taste different. But from my limited experience in China, Westernised Chinese food tastes better than the real stuff. As Lexico said, it's maybe because overseas Chinese had to try harder and innovate to satisfy Westerners not used to Chinese food. That's especially true in culinarily demanding societies like France and Belgium.
    I think a reason to explain why Chinese foods within China taste like crap because China has turned into communists since Cultural Revolution in the 1940s, and that have prohibited and limited people to develop arts, crafts, science and technology.
    I never been to Belgium but I am told Chinese restaurants in France taste like crap. All the European friends I have prefer my home made Chinese foods over the stuff they sold in Chinese restaurant here. *Shrugs*
    There are 2 things that bother me about Chinese food:
    - bones: meat is almost always cut into small pieces, with the bones, & then you have to eat around or gnaw the bones (& put them on the table afterwards)
    - prawns: they are highly estimated & when invited to lunch or dinner, you inevitably get them, 3 or 4 days in a row is just too often.
    My European friends here say the same!
    In Australia, I remember eating Chinese food for 5 AUS$ (2.5 euro at the time), and it tastes better than the cheaper range of food I had in China. Chinese food in Belgium is also very cheap (the cheapest of any cuisine in fact), with copious and tasty take-away for about 8 euro.
    You were lucky there are some bad ones too.
    Really? Well, I admit, it tastes well, but it's always the same (more like dessert [pastries?] than like bread, anyway, except when it's steamed with meat inside). Real bread (what I'd call real) doesn't look tasty (didn't buy it since I didn't have anything to put upon, only found something like cut (sausage or cheese) when we arrived in Beijing) & is as expensive as in Germany.
    I didn't buy regular bread either for the same reasons, but I had a lot of pastry goods filled with wipped cream.One time I mistook the bread for one filled with W/cream but it was filled with some reddish paté or red beans.BIG MISTAKE !
    No the real Chinese bread is the Chinese steamed bread. Those with Asian version of adopted western cream or sausage or if they added a Chinese desert ingredient such as red bean paste in it are western bread adopted by Chinese and being localised, that’s why you get flavours like red beans, mung beans, sesame seeds…etc



    Well I think every place has it's own speciality maybe, so ofcourse you have a wide range of different food and styles.But unlike Japan I didn't see that much fish in China no Sushi,Sashimi etc.
    Don't you think Chinese are more of a men/mien people? Always noodles, rice is more of a sidedish.They don't even eat every grain of rice !!
    It depends on the province; I am Chinese by race/ethnicity. But I am Australian by nationality. My ancestor’s province is the “fu Chew/Fu Zhou”福洲, province and this province as its closer to the river and the sea, the cuisine has a lot of seafoods.

    By the way, many of the good Chinese restaurants in Belgium are held by Taiwanese people. Maybe that is why it is different from other Chinese ? Yet, I'd say that the cooking style is closer to Cantonese. No dim sum, no jiaozi, no men, no Imperial cuisine...
    The 'Mac Lam' restaurant mentioned above is very different in style from all the other Chinese in belgium, and contrarily to the others, the owner are not settled (2nd generation) immigrants, but temporary Chinese staff, most of whom speak only Chinese. Does anybody know what Chinese dialect does the word 'Mac Lam' come from ? It sounds more Vietnamese to me, but they don't have Vietnamese food at all... Probably Cantonese then (Mak Lam, I guess).
    No dim sums are Cantonese cuisine, Taiwanese have their own cuisine and I don't think their cuisine is close to the Cantonese at all. An example of the Taiwanese food is this shredded fried pork food that has been stir fried with wheat flour and sugar. You eat it with rice or bread I don’t know the exact translation but the Chinese word for it is肉鬆 Rou Song. The Taiwanese likes to put that in their version of sushi. Taiwanese food should be closer to Fujian Province 福建.
    Last edited by Minty; Feb 28, 2006 at 00:16.

  3. #28
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    This is great! My first time to wander into the Chinese forum!
    Im going to China next month for my birthday and was a bit worried about the food, because im not a big fan of chinese food... but you guys all made it sound rather tasty!
    If the bread is as good as the japanese bread (i.e: better than korean bread), I think I will eat lots of that hahaha.

    However, I do have to ask... did you sometimes get served up things that still look like the animal it was made from? Im thinking of the nightmares I might have should I see a chicken head looking up at me from my soup... or something like that... I dont even like the little fishy eyes in my dishes here.

    Sounds like Shanghai food is good, which is handy coz thats where im going, and I will be with a friend, so im sure I wont be too disappointed.

    Rock Lee... Korean food is good! Because you are accustomed to spicy food I wouldnt think you would have any problems. I found my favourite little Po Jang Macha (street vendor) just the other day serving the best ever ddok bokki ( rice cakes, with deep fried veges/fish/egg/whatever you want, drowned in a red spicy sauce mmmm), my favourite now is Kimchi Jjigae which is pretty much like kimuchi nabe... however it could be an aquired taste, but I have eaten it for years. Or JaeYook Bokkum... fried spicy pork yummy! I had really good Korean food in NZ, but you do have to look around to find one that suits your pallette, however in Korea I have had terrible korean food too, best place is the cheap cheap cheap everywhere restaurant, honestly its a chain that has more than I would think a city in U.S would have McD's. 60 dishes on the menu, so you can be as fussy as you like, get full and spend less than $5. Bargain haha.

    Kara-Nari Smarty-Pants Wiz-Girl of the Southern Pacific Queen of Communication and International Arbitration and Diplomatic Solutions to Hairy Territorial Issues Her Majesty the Empress コクネ・ you quite rightly deserve the title for your individuality !

  4. #29
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    By the way if you happen to be in Korea, that restaurants name isnt actually 'cheap cheap everywhere restaruant' thats just what it is... the name is: Kimbab Chun Guk (Kimbab heaven) kimbab is the equivalent of sushi roll in Japan.

  5. #30
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    This is great! My first time to wander into the Chinese forum!
    Im going to China next month for my birthday and was a bit worried about the food, because im not a big fan of chinese food... but you guys all made it sound rather tasty! If the bread is as good as the japanese bread (i.e: better than korean bread), I think I will eat lots of that hahaha.
    Well since you are Korean I am guessing you wonft hate red bean or mung bean pastes like the whites so for breads you shouldnft have any problem.
    However, I do have to ask... did you sometimes get served up things that still look like the animal it was made from? Im thinking of the nightmares I might have should I see a chicken head looking up at me from my soup... or something like that... I dont even like the little fishy eyes in my dishes here.
    I advise you not to eat sea foods, except for the fish balls; prawn balls and few other stir fry seafood cuisines because for sea foods Chinese like to serve the heads, it is considered unlucky to remove the heads before serving. Chinese is very superstitious. Beef and pork are not served with heads. With poultries you might see the birds still with their heads hang on some stalls, I am not sure about when they are served I am Chinese but I am not from China and I have been living in Western countries so long, but in my home and in Chinese restaurants outside of China (including TW and HK) poultries are not served with heads on. At least not that I have encountered. Oh another thing is Chinese eat the organs of the animals, not sure whether you will be disturbed by this. Just letting you know first. I know Westerners are.
    Last edited by Minty; Mar 1, 2006 at 23:38.

  6. #31
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    Well since you are Korean I am guessing you wonft hate red bean or mung bean pastes like the whites so for breads you shouldnft have any problem.
    Whites on average may not like bean paste as much as yellows do, but you overly generalise.

    Oh another thing is Chinese eat the organs of the animals, not sure whether you will be disturbed by this. Just letting you know first. I know Westerners are.
    Eating visceral organs is normal in Western societies as well, only depends which you mean. Pigs' guts are used for sausage, pigs' maw is a regional specialty, liver is commonly eaten all over Germany, a.s.o.

  7. #32
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Whites on average may not like bean paste as much as yellows do, but you overly generalise.
    Well maybe it is because from my personal experiences with whites with the exception of my husband who actually likes them, everybody else that I have encountered not just dislikes them but absolutely hate it. After all I have been to many western cities and I have lived in many Western cities for long time. Then again could it be just a coincidence that I just so happened to have bumped into people who just so happened to dislike bean pastes so much?
    Eating visceral organs is normal in Western societies as well, only depends which you mean. Pigs' guts are used for sausage, pigs' maw is a regional specialty, liver is commonly eaten all over Germany, a.s.o.
    Yes I am fully aware of that, like the French like to eat foie gras which is duck or goose livers. The difference is in Western societies they don't display the actual organs in stalls or hypermarkets where they sell things to eat, (at least not that I have seen, I am basing my knowledge mainly on say the cities of Australia and France because with other Western cities I was only there for vacations).
    I took my husband to Taiwan and there was a stall inside a mall that sells animal organs, my husband saw displays in rows of different organs on the glass windows of the stall and he was horrified!
    Last edited by Minty; Mar 1, 2006 at 23:43.

  8. #33
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    Then again could it be just a coincidence that I just so happened to have bumped into people who just so happened to dislike bean pastes so much?
    Possibly. But I don't have any doubt that most Europeans would dislike the stuff. That's more to do with getting used to it. If they had had more chance to taste new things in their childhood they would be opener to it later on.

    The difference is in Western societies they don't display the actual organs in stalls or hypermarkets where they sell things to eat, (at least not that I have seen, I am basing my knowledge mainly on say the cities of Australia and France because with other Western cities I was only there for vacations).
    Can only speak for Germany (I was shopping in Holland quite often, but I can't remember the meat departments there), here it's pretty normal to see liver, kidney & heart in the shelves, sometimes also rumen. Everything else is available, but you would have to ask your butcher for it.

    I took my husband to Taiwan and there was a stall inside a mall that sells animal organs, my husband saw displays in rows of different organs on the glass windows of the stall and he was horrified!
    I was quite horrified (well, not really, since I knew about this before) when I saw such stalls in China. Not for what they offered, though, but for the lack of cooling & hygiene.

  9. #34
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Thanks Minty!
    Im not really korean... just living here, pretending to be korean hahah.
    Yeah, not too big a fan or innards... sausage is about as far as I go. I dont even eat Sundae (Korean sausage). Pretty fussy an eater I must say.
    Breads with stuff inside are great, I just hate korean plain bread, they make it sweet when its not supposed to be.
    Good to hear that Taiwan dont like to keep heads on... Im going there sometime in the near future also.

  10. #35
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    Theres a chinese take-away called the lucky boat or something (havnt been there a lil while) it serves the best fried rice in aberdeen, a perfect side to sweet and sour pork.

    Theres a resturaunt called the royal china i believe, i took my japanese girlfriend there.....the manageress said "aahh your girlfriend is pretty, she is from hong kong?" LOL my girlfriend really loved that! not really, but yeah, good atmosphere there, good place.

  11. #36
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    Yes I am fully aware of that, like the French like to eat foie gras which is duck or goose livers. The difference is in Western societies they don't display the actual organs in stalls or hypermarkets where they sell things to eat, (at least not that I have seen, I am basing my knowledge mainly on say the cities of Australia and France because with other Western cities I was only there for vacations).
    What ? In all butcher's shops here (even inside supermarkets), we can see big pieces of meat displayed in the fridge-counter, including the beef, pork and chicken lever, kidneys and even brain. Btw, supermarkets in Belgium are Belgian, French, Dutch or German, and from what I remember it's basically the same all over Western Europe.

    What surprised me in Japan is that they have no (or very few) butcher's shop. All the meat is pre-cut and packed, and you can't ask them to cut the meat the way you want for the exact quantity you want, and they also don't sell "cooked meats" (charcuterie in French, such as sausages, black pudding, pâté, etc.).

    Coming back to the main topic, I tried a few more Chinese and Thai restaurants in Belgium since my return from Japan, and I sustain that the best Chinese restaurants here are much better than the best I have tried in China, and even Japan. My wife agreed too. For the record, I also tried a more "authentic" Chinese (in what could be called Brussels' China Town), but it was not as good (more like in China in fact). My wife agreed that she had never tried better Peking duck than in Belgium (first of all, the quality of the meat itself and some other ingredients are much higher than in China).

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  12. #37
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What ? In all butcher's shops here (even inside supermarkets), we can see big pieces of meat displayed in the fridge-counter, including the beef, pork and chicken lever, kidneys and even brain. Btw, supermarkets in Belgium are Belgian, French, Dutch or German, and from what I remember it's basically the same all over Western Europe.

    Huh? I don't know about Belgium but I never saw that here before in the super/hypermarket I go to, Cora, Auchan, Super-U/Hyper-U you name it, no. I have confirmed with the French they donft displayed internal organs of animals in their super/hyper markets. Their favourite food made from duck or goose kidney foie gras is either in cans already or in cube like form in the glass window for you to pick and buy or some other already packaged format.


    Coming back to the main topic, I tried a few more Chinese and Thai restaurants in Belgium since my return from Japan, and I sustain that the best Chinese restaurants here are much better than the best I have tried in China, and even Japan. My wife agreed too. For the record, I also tried a more "authentic" Chinese (in what could be called Brussels' China Town), but it was not as good (more like in China in fact). My wife agreed that she had never tried better Peking duck than in Belgium (first of all, the quality of the meat itself and some other ingredients are much higher than in China).

    I agree that Chinese foods taste better in countries with higher GDP than in Mainland China with the exception of France in general. This is because the Chinese restaurants here are open by Vietnamese or Chinese from Vietnam and their tastes have change due to their migration to Vietnam.


    Due to the fact that Mainland China has become communists since the Cultural Revolution the people there have lost touch in arts, crafts, cooking, science and technology...etc because Communism has suppressed those activities. However that will change because China is changing.

  13. #38
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    Well, I don't know about mainland China, but Taiwan certainly was delicious!

  14. #39
    Cs
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    You ate Taiwan?! Now where's Gaijinian going to go on exchange?

  15. #40
    Regular Member Supervin's Avatar
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    As a chowhound that I am, the best Chinese food I reckon is in Hong Kong. There's Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan cuisines all in HK as well with chefs from those parts. To top it all off, you have HK cuisine too (i.e. modified Guangdong cuisine). I find it hard not to sound biased though.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    You ate Taiwan?! Now where's Gaijinian going to go on exchange?
    Don't worry! What comes in, must come out!

  17. #42
    Cs
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    LMAO!!! That's gonna hurt, don't you think?

    (I've gotta say that was NOT the response I was expecting!)

  18. #43
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    Yeah, it's going to put women in labor to shame!

  19. #44
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    NEWSFLASH!: The peoples republic of China has this evening accused the United states of abducting Taiwan and hiding it, the United states Denies any knowledge of this, merely stating, "one of our patrol ships noticed a giant maw decend from the clouds and engulf the entirety of taiwan, a huge booming rumbling voice said "mmmmmm thats finga lickin goood!" before ascending back into the heavens".

    The UN following this statement sectioned the united states on the grounds it was mentally unfit to continue without intervention, meanwhile, the search for taiwan continues, Though a large patch of soy sauce is floating in the ocean where taiwan once was, huge logs, which look like splinters from chopsticks have also been found, The Japanese government is still in shock after finding a giant fortune cookie floating into tokyo bay, an official response from Tokyo was quoted as saying "It tastes pretty good".

    More news on this story as it comes in.

  20. #45
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Ok, went to China on the weekend, and as I was never a big fan of Chinese food, I had my trusty supply of korean noodles.... just in case!
    However I was pleasantly surprised, my first meal in China was at about 5am after too many bottles of alcohol in a VIP karaoke bar somewhere in Shanghai, we had noodles, and they were great!
    Next day we went to a restaruant next to my hotel, and I was worried, because my friend said I had to at least 'try' everything, even the headed river fish (which was turned so it wasnt looking at me) was good!
    Unfortunately because I was still a bit drunken I didnt eat enough, and was wishing I'd taken a doggy bag. Ate lots more noodles... all of them delicious, as well as fantastic other dishes...
    Overall not disappointing at all.

  21. #46
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    Ok, went to China on the weekend, and as I was never a big fan of Chinese food, I had my trusty supply of korean noodles.... just in case!
    However I was pleasantly surprised, my first meal in China was at about 5am after too many bottles of alcohol in a VIP karaoke bar somewhere in Shanghai, we had noodles, and they were great!
    Next day we went to a restaruant next to my hotel, and I was worried, because my friend said I had to at least 'try' everything, even the headed river fish (which was turned so it wasnt looking at me) was good!
    Unfortunately because I was still a bit drunken I didnt eat enough, and was wishing I'd taken a doggy bag. Ate lots more noodles... all of them delicious, as well as fantastic other dishes...
    Overall not disappointing at all.
    Well it is pleasant to hear that the experience turned out to be a relatively positive experience for you. Just out of curiousity which part of China did you go for vacation?

  22. #47
    Miyavi?
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    Well, all the restraunts that I have been to in China and Hong kong were great, you really have to know where to go to get good food... infact one of my favourite parts of going there is eating all the cheap yummy food!

    Since my cousins take me around I'm get ripped off, and the expensive places are also very very nice...

  23. #48
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Ooops sorry haha, I went to Shanghai... and really really really cant wait to go back there. For as cheap as it is, I think I would like to take a couple of months out and just relax amongst the fantasticness.

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