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30 December 2010

How is General Tso formed? How does stomach get yums? [More:] So it turns out that Chinese food in America is not really Chinese in the strictest sense of the word? A friend of mine just got back from an extended business trip in China -- apparently they are more familiar with pig's nipples sauteed in duck's blood than with General Tso's Chicken, possibly my favorite Chinese food item ever -- which was apparently invented in New York, no less.

My friend suggested that here in the USA, we don't really have "X food" where "X" is the foreign country in question, instead we have "This is what X food would taste like if X were the 51st State" food.
I believe Chow Mein and Chop Suey are names invented at American-located Chinese restaurants, and Pizza (as we know it) was an American invention as is the Burrito. I could be wrong and I don't have the time to look it up right now so feel free to fact-check my ass.
posted by oneswellfoop 30 December | 22:44
American style moo shu anything is primarily cabbage and carrots because they use pre-bagged coleslaw to cut costs and prep time.
posted by Ardiril 30 December | 22:46
Chow mein is the English version of "Fried Noodle", where "chow" in Cantonese is fried (like in a wok), and "mein" is noodle. So where as the actual dish may be a North American invention, the term isn't.
posted by typewriter 30 December | 22:46
Ohhh, there was a link to orange chicken from the wiki article. The original style the best fucking Chinese dish evar! The bastardized Americanized version isn't bad but hard to find.
posted by deborah 30 December | 22:55
Pizza (as we know it) was an American invention

Pizza is legitimately Neapolitan, but the endless variations on pizza - and the increased amounts of dough and cheese - are American.

General Tso's is formed by deepfrying chicken chunks and then coating them in a peppery sugary fruity sauce. Here's some background on the dish.
posted by Miko 30 December | 23:18
You made me look it up, but it seems that my standard chinese takeaway fare (宫保鸡丁) is fairly authentic (not that it would prevent me from ordering it otherwise).
posted by ufez 30 December | 23:23
I think when it comes to 'international cuisines' the other thing, besides the tastes being localized is the ingredients become more 'outside food'-ish (less healthy, more fried stuff and fast food style preparations, stuff like that). In a way the way some cultural foods become staples of US eating habits at different decades it's arguable that they become authentic american food filling in a void in its indigenous offerings as much as that other region's cuisine?
posted by Firas 31 December | 07:26
I've always thought of indigenous food as being the poor/peasant food, high on vegetables, low on meats. I have no idea about the pig nipples, though.

There are a lot of food similarities around the world. One thing I'd love to see is a survey of geographically similar groups and their foods. Tortilla/pizza/filo dough/pita bread, that sort of thing. Plus the use of chilis or hot spices to preserve food.
posted by lysdexic 31 December | 19:38
Duuuuuuude. || It's still the 30th here,