Huge Difference? Huge Opportunity!

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Nangua Baozi. Photo produced by J B.

There is an old Chinese saying that “food is the paramount necessity of the people.” As a result, Chinese always focus on the aroma and surface of dishes. Compared with it, Western emphysize on the balanced collocation and essence. It is the food cultural difference. Indeed, in my mind, it is also a great opportunity for a cultural exchange and expansive market.

I remember when my Chinese friend lived in a family stay, she cooked a pretty simple Chinese dish called “scrambled egg with tomatoes” (Okay, I’m lying because the dish doesn’t have an English name) for the American family, and then the family said “we have eggs, and we have tomatoes, but we never thought put them together into a pan. It actually is – delicious.” See? The diversity crossing cultures and food sometimes is another way to communicate.

I’m always curious why McDonald’s is very popular in Asian countires and actually the food taste no much different from Western. However, the most popular Chinese restuarant in the American market, Panda Express, probably is not authentic Chinese food. Indeed, as a Chinese, I have neither heard nor eaten orange chicken before I came to the U.S. However, compared with Chinese food, Japanese food still remains its original and traditional taste (and higher price) in different countries around the world. The different situation on food and restaurants between those two Asian countries in the U.S. market is about their diverse history, ingredients, cultures and cooking techniques, but it is beyond them.

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Photo produced by Luke Norris

Food is a way to satisfy our hunger. We also call it as a kind of art. Most Americans do not care about the “authenticity” of what foreign dishes they’re eating, but I believe everyone loves delicacy. I have tried many “weird” dishes like an Italian dish called squid ink risotto which the rice is totally black, and I know I love them. If you do believe there are a lot delicious and amazing dishes being able to bring “happiness” to you, next time please try another type of menu in any Chinese food restaurant opened by native Chinese.

 

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