Leaving the ethnic cooking to the ethnics

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
4,952
Location
Florida
We make "ethnic" food all the time. I will admit though that living in a large metropolitan area gives us access to a lot of different ethnic markets. Within 15 minutes or less drive time from home , we have 3 Asian markets, I have no clue how many Latin markets, a Persian market, an Indian market, and an Arab market. Broaden that drive a bit and we can get pretty much anything.

I will not eat fried rice from a Chinese place, but love the fried rice we make. Sometimes Craig will get his propane burner out and wok hei, as he puts it, the fried rice. Otherwise, I use the power burner on the stove top. Craig gets fried rice out fairly often but he'd rather have homemade as well.

We went out for dim sum last friday and it was good, but I'd rather have my homemade. It was nice not to have to do the work to make it, but... I know exactly what goes into mine and I certainly don't skimp on quality or amounts of filling. I ended up making some Sunday because I was craving good dim sum. Char siu bao baked. Spinach, shiitaki and carrots steamed. Shrimp toast.

37240-albums1071-picture8930.jpg


We had homemade hot and sour soup recently and lion's head meatball soup is going to be on the menu soon.

Italian, Mexican, German (Craig's ethnicity), Indian, Korean, Thai are all made at our house fairly regularly. We also dabble in other cuisines if something takes our fancy while watching a food travel show.

It takes a bit of time and research to find and cook fairly authentic recipes but it can be done.
 

medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
4,952
Location
Florida
thinking about it:
I´ve eaten in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico... and probably a few other places.
The first thing I look for is local food. I remember in Venice, that world-renowned tourist trap - we shunned the Piazza and wandered off into the winding streets until we found a little Trattoria filled with locals. THAT is where we ate and had a remarkable meal.
In Mexico, we had some chocolate clams in the market - wow and double wow - and then chomped down authentic cochinito pibil and Yucatecan delicacies at La Montejo.
In Quito, I specifically asked for llapingochos for breakfast, much to the delight of the restaurant owners.
I´ve never understood why my mindless compatriots flock to the Costa Brava, and then want tea, roast dinners and fish & chips! What is WRONG with you blokes? Stay at home and go to Scarborough!!:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Yep, the ABSOLUTE BEST meal we've ever had was in a tiny little family owned and run restaurant in Stresa, Italy, up high in the village behind the hotel and store row along the lakefront there. We still talk about that meal when we have 1 of the dishes we were served even after all this time. And, we went to Cipriani's in Venice on that trip, which was more than 25 years ago when Cipriani's had more than 1 Michelin star.

I could never understand when we were still able to travel why people, Americans, would look for McDonald's or the like places.

My DD and I went on a tour of Italy, as I wasn't comfortable with us going it alone. We went several days before the tour started so were on our own for meals and we had some great ones. The first night of the actual tour there was a group meal at the hotel but we skipped that because we wanted to go back to the place we had dinner the night before. Guess who else was eating there, our tour guide and bus driver. DD and I had found one of the best restaurants in the vicinity according to them.
We would get breakfast at the hotel, continental, with the tour group and then pretty much go our own way for the rest of the meals. We tried 1 of the included hotel dinners 1 night. Nope, the worst spaghetti and meatballs I've ever had. We took 1 bite, looked at each other, told our dining companions we were going elsewhere, and did.
 
Last edited:

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,827
Location
Massachusetts
Interesting conversations. "Eat where the locals eat', 'when I travel, I like to eat at local places, etc. Seems to suggest that leaving the ethnic cooking to the "ethnics" is a preference...
 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
Yep, Andy, you´re dead right. The definition of "ethnic", for what it´s worth, is:
"relating to a population subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group) with a common national or cultural tradition.
"ethnic and cultural rights and traditions"

So "Ethnic" could be the meal I ate at " The Stave" in Kentucky six months ago. It included Hoe cakes,Burgog,and blackened Catfish with Grits.Never eaten them before, but evidently pretty local fare, and served with the best hospitality I´ve had for ages.
So "ethnic" doesn´t need to be Mexican, Chinese or Thai; it can be something pertaining to a particular region.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,443
Location
Long Island, New York
So "ethnic" doesn´t need to be Mexican, Chinese or Thai; it can be something pertaining to a particular region.

Thats my thoughts exactly, and the reason why Im always searching for local joints , or regional foods when I'm on my road trips. The Mayhaw jelly I got in Mississippi framers market, soft pretzels I get in Philly, whoopee pies in Pennsylvania and Maine. There seems too be a debate as to who has the best ( they were both very good), Blue berry pie in Maine. Boiled peanuts from a road side food truck at a gas station in Alabama.... I can go on and on. The foods I eat on the road add to the memories and experiences Ive had along the way.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,758
Location
Woodbury, NJ
Something funny happened to me a couple of days ago, related to this topic. A young friend - the one I help with his garden, and sold my truck to a couple of months ago - came over with a friend of his, to replace my kitchen faucet. His mother texted him, while he was here, and told him to ask me what I would charge her to make a "dish like that one" (referring to that chole masala) once a week. He was laughing uncontrollably, and when he finally got control, explained to his friend that this was his Mom - a 100% Indian lady - asking me to make indian food for her! I told him that I'd teach them how to make the dishes, she's asked me for recipes for, but he said her excuse was that she didn't have all the ingredients, so couldn't make them. I told him I'll have to help them stock their kitchen. :LOL:

He was actually getting into learning a lot more about their cuisine, but got distracted by school, when he was in tech school (plus working!) until he graduated, about 2 weeks ago, with his welder's certificate! Maybe it's back to food now.

 

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
Like those of you who have traveled to distant lands, I traveled all over the Pacific rim while deployed in the Navy. When we'd pull into port, most sailors would head straight to the bar, and to places like Pizza Hut. I ate the street foods cooked in a wok over a blow torch, or at a restaurant wher all the locals ate. Pusan Korea is where I was introduced to siiting on my knees, with 6 or 7 other locals, picking from a large circular tray of raw seafood, kimchee, and pungeant sauces
It's the only food local to the area, in any of the nations we visited, that I didn't care for. We had mostly Filippino cooks aboard our aircraft carrier, who fed 5,000 people, 3 meals per day. The food was often inspired ny their native cuisine. We had lumpia, pansit, adobo, and such quite often, and it was really tasty. They knew what they were doing.

I never understood that whole - hit port, and hit the bar - thing. I explored everywhere I was allowed to go, and have some amazing memories, with a few very good friends who were like minded.

I agree that one should taste the local fare. Wherever you are. If in San Diego, try the seafood, and great mom & pop Mexican places. If in Memphis, eat Memphis style BBQ. If in Michigan's U.P.,have an authentic pastie, chudaghe sandwich, Macinac fudge, and great lakes fish.

And those Native American tacos (Navajo tacos?) talked about previously in this thread, we had them in the U.P. as well. We just called them Indian tacos in my tribe.

There is so much good stuff made in so many areas. It's a big part of why cooking has always interested me, from Southern sweet cornbread, to corn puding, to cassoulet, pastas, stir fries, pho, boiled dinner, open faced sandwiches with gravy, and the list goes on indefinitely. I've evyen determined the best temperatures to consume milk, and ice cream, shakes, and malts, to get max flavor, or comfort, or refreshment.

Farmer's markets are a great way to purchase the best produce, and fruits, picked when properly ripe, the freshest fish, pasture raised meats, and poultry, better eggs, etc.

There's a reason Italian, and French cooking are famous all over the world. The peasant food is fresly picked, and raised, not purchased from supermarkets, at least that's what made it famous. The same is true of many rural areas of the world. Can you beat a plate of fried rice and squid, with squid ink sauce cooked up fresh in the Fillipines, or coconut pie, made with fresh slabs of ripe coconut?

Well, I'm going to stop now. Unfortunately, my health and financial status make most of that just fond memories. But then, tha's why I cook, so that I can recreate, as closely as possible, some of the truly great meals I've had, and share them with others.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
Last edited:

CraigC

Master Chef
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
6,483
I like making "Fusion Food" Like Cajuncini! Using homemade jambalaya instead of leftover risotto or saffron rice. Maybe some Rolls using collard greens instead of cabbage and dirty rice instead of rice and ground beef. :yum:
 
Last edited:

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,443
Location
Long Island, New York
Farmer's markets are a great way to purchase the best produce, and fruits, picked when properly ripe, the freshest fish, pasture raised meats, and poultry, better eggs, etc.

I hear ya with the farmers markets. We hit everyone we encounter during our travels . We have made lunch out of it, getting fresh bread from one vendor, tomatoes from another , cheese from another ..... until we built ourselves a nice sandwich. Then, when done, fresh fruit for dessert .

We also hit local markets / grocery stores in each region we visit, as each region has different items that we either never heard about before, or can't get anywhere else.
 

LVDeb

Cook
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
65
Location
Las Vegas
Larry, farmers markets are one of the things I miss most about the east coast. Especially in the fall. Salenger's Orchard was my favorite place.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom