Originally posted by Emilyparis
Ok for me!!
I put two circulars from Chinese take out places in Paris in the outbox at work today.
There is this really disturbing trend here where all the Chinese (Asian) places seem to feel obliged to put sushi on the menu even though they are not the ones who do it well.
Such is life, I can only assure you that my circulars are the real thing from Paris 19ème direct from my mailbox to you.
Thanks for all your efforts, everyone! Keep on sending what you can spare. Part of what Indigo was curious about was the pattern of variation throught the country. I knew she wasn't exactly going to be chronicling the migratory evidence of the Chinese diaspora in the US, but there are very interesting things showing up in her research. (For example, she found that "Crab Rangoon" showed up on a number of menus. What's with THAT? A dish named for a Burmese city - AND made with cream cheese in it - on a Chinese restaurant's menu? Very curious indeed....) I think that Eurocentrism and/or ignorance has the effect of having everything Asian[or 'Oriental' in the more retro places, whether intended or not] just sort all mixed up - if it's on the same continent, why ain't it on the same menu?
Here in the Bay Area, there are a number of Asian restaurants whose primary specialty is SE Asian [Vietnamese, Lao, Thai, Burmese, etc.], but also have Chinese sections on their menus - both because the market supports/requires it (in its particular price level) AND because the owners are often ethnic Chinese. For example, they may be immigrants from Thailand - but be Chinese-Thai. While the market is still very keen to Thai food, they'll prepare Thai food that they have had to learn to prepare because of what diners ask for. [And, at a practical level, any place that has access to good fresh seafood could serve decent sushi - but what's the likelihood that someone would ask for it in a Mexican restaurant? Or an Italian one? But because some people are too confused by the distinctions between Chinese, Japanese, and/or Korean, there are places here that serve sushi because people keep asking for it (and the profit margins may be a little better, too).]
Latino food around here is similar - diners keep asking for Mexican dishes, so Central American places will prepare Mexican food for their gringo diners (at least, the ones that haven't discovered the delights to be found on the opposite side of the menu).
And it's nothing exclusive to foreign food here - local barbecue places have a similar dilemma: to stay in business, they have to serve pork AND beef. Local consumers don't necessarily care about BBQ orthodoxy in Texas [beef country], the Carolinas [pork country], or anywhere else. Does this cause the purists to blanch? Yup....