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Are there dishes at Chinese restaurants that Chinese people eat at home? What is authentic Chinese food like?

Question by yahooserious: Are there dishes at Chinese restaurants that Chinese people eat at home? What is authentic Chinese food like?
I’ve heard that in North America, Chinese restaurants serve Americanized versions of Chinese food. How is this different from authentic Chinese cuisine? I realize that there are regional cuisines in China.

This question was inspired when I realized that I’ve never seen any people of Asian origin eating in Chinese restaurants, except in a Dim Sum restaurant in Toronto’s Chinatown.
Yes, I really want to know. I’m sorry if you had one bad experience, but there are millions of people in China who enjoy their food, so there MUST be many delicious foods. I like to try new things.

Best answer:

Answer by sex kitten
you don’t want to know. it is horrible, no taste and last week i was treated to a real Chinese meal and wound up with food poisoning. avoid it at all cost……………..

What do you think? Answer below!

6 thoughts on “Are there dishes at Chinese restaurants that Chinese people eat at home? What is authentic Chinese food like?”

  1. I studied in China this summer and the food there is somewhat different. The biggest difference I saw was that American-styled Chinese food seems to always have a lot of soy sauce in it. I really liked the food much better in China. It was fresher and had bolder flavors, although very simple. (But that might have just been the food I ate). Much of the items were still the same.

    I also noticed that restaurants in China use a lot of MSG and pork in their dishes. Corn, fish, steamed bread, and items with bean paste where also very popular.

  2. Hey there!! Check out the website below – most of the food look yummy!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Real chinese huh?? well… chinese cuisine is different in different regions – like Hunan cuisine is hot and spicy and Cantonese is relatively bland… the North Eastern or Manchurian dishes are dependent on preserved foods while the Szechuan or Sichuan cuisine uses a dried bean and chilli pastes…

    Have fun exploring – the chopsuey and the egg rolls or the foo yung is hardly chinese – ๐Ÿ™‚ try some roast peking duck or some siu mai – thats closer to the real thing!!

  3. My mother is from china and i will tell you that the restaurant stuff is toned down allot for your pallets. Not as much fat and it is well you know its dead when it is served to you.
    Once in china i was on tour with the family Chinese relatives and they took me to a local restaurant. And they ordered this fish and when it was delivered there was a towel wrapped around its head the fish was from what i could tell was deep fried in batter and covered in this black been sauce when they took the towel off the fish was still alive and gasping for air they cooked the whole fish alive except for the head. This is no joke. When i asked what it was they explained that in that region it is a delicacy to eat it like this as i watched my uncle dive in to it cutting chunks off of it while it was till live until they got down to the innards and started to scoop the guts out to make yet another dish. so yeah big difference. in my point of view.
    I mean they didn’t even kill the fish before cooking it talk about inhumane.

  4. Since most of the Chinese immigrants in North America originate from mostly Hong Kong and Toi san, in the southern regions of China, the chinese food often served in chinese resteraunts are mostly from the tastes and textures originating from there.
    Toi san food would taste more like home-cooking while Hong Kong cuisine is definitely more westernized since it used to be British territory. Generally, the tastes from there will use lots of seafood, since they’re near the coast and mostly pork and chicken since there’s not a lot of room to raise cattle down there. The food is mostly salty and savory however, there is still a big difference from the Toi san food in China, and the Toi san food in North America, even though they are cooked by the native people.
    When my uncle first arrived from China, a lot of the other chefs he worked with would tell him what the “Americans” prefer and such so I now know from personal experience that the chinese chefs actually adapt their cooking to appeal higher to North American diners.
    As for food from other regions of China, the Northern areas of China usually has spicier food and has mostly just vegetables and beef since cattle thrives better up north in the harsh weather. I’m assuming that the food has a spicy taste because they are used as a way to warm up during the harsh weather. When I took a tour of Harbin (up in the mountains) the tour guide took me to this specialty resteraunt that practically dared the diners to take on their cuisine. They served a type of cuisine known as “da been lo” where you cook your meat and vegetables in boiling water in the center of the table (kind of like Chinese fondue.) Well their “water” was made of a red, hot and spicy vegetable broth and the meats and vegetables had all been marinated in hot spices. I didn’t eat the whole week I visited Harbin. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chinese cuisine but I just cannot stand spicy foods especially at this level.

  5. My parents own a Chinese restaurant, and the ‘chinese’ food is altered to fit the American tastes.

    In my opinion, authentic Chinese food is better. That’s probably why we don’t go to the ‘Chinese’ restaurants to eat.

    It’s kind of like how fajitas aren’t authentic Mexican cuisine.

  6. I’ll just take a stab at answering your question and I don’t know how detailed an answer you want: Chinese food can often times be very different from ‘authentic’ Chinese food. There are regional differences indeed. Keep in mind that geographically China is two times larger than the 25 nations that constitute the European Union. Many of these regions have developed very distinct cultures within China’s 4-5 thousand years of history. Chinaโ€™s climate and terrain are exceptionally diverse ranging from tropical in south to sub arctic in north, the third lowest point on earth, Turpan Pendi, and the highest, Mt. Everest are both within Chinese borders. Demographically China is nearly 3 times more populous than the European Union. Despite this people often think of Chinese culture as a largely homogeneous group of Han Chinese. While statistically the Han are thought to represent around 91% of the population, it must not be forgotten that the Chinese government has legally recognised (problematic as it may be) that there are 56 different ethnicities within China. These minorities comprise the other 9% or more around 91 million of the Chinese population. So if you want to think of an authentic national Chinese cuisine you can’t forget about the Tibetans, the Uigurs in Xinjiang, amongst many other minority populations. What you are probably getting when you go to the average North American Chinese restaurant is food very loosely ‘based on the true story’ of Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

    Despite all these differences there are some basic rules that would apply to lots of chinese food. First the Chinese have paid a lot of attention to separating food into two distinct categories. One called ‘fan’ which means starchy foods like rice, wheat, noodles and in times of lack sweet potatoes. Rice hasn’t always been widespread throughout much of China, especially in the north. The other food category is called “cai” and that means vegetable and meat dishes. The grain foods have, until recently, been of utmost importance to Chinese culture and the vegetable and meat dishes would have served merely as flavoring. So a typical Chinese wouldn’t really eat rice the way we do at Americanized restaurants. In many places it is generally saved to be eaten at the the end of the meal, but customs certainly vary. You can see the fusion between these categories when you eat things like won-tons or dumplings.

    2nd is that the line between food and medicine are often blurred in chinese cuisine. Chinese food is meant to be healthy. If you were to eat chinese food daily in america you would probably have a lot of health problems. In China this is certainly not the case… The most important nutritional concepts are ones you’ve already heard of yin and yang. Part of this idea is that each food has a specific way of heating or cooling your body and spirit. Spicy foods and meats like lamb are generally thought to be heating, and then green vegetables and crab is thought to be cooling. A chinese person cooking at home would be quite attentive to providing a balanced meal in this respect.

    This is already such a long response. I’ll just add that I don’t think you should be at all embarrased about asking the people at your local chinese eatery what they like to eat at home and if they have any dishes that are specialties from their hometowns. Food is very important to chinese culture and sense of being. The food that you get is sold, I think, simply because they know that it sells and they can pay the bills. My grandparents used to run a Cantonese restaurant and I know for a fact that they are delighted at the chance to feed non chinese people things other than deep fried, overly sweet, and thick brown sauce covered foods. Also Chinese tea comes in hundreds and hundreds of different kinds, it seems in america its either jasmine or nothing, so maybe you should inquire into that too. I hope this can help you to get started in enjoying what is one of the richest and most deliciously beautiful food traditions in the world.

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