Thursday, December 20, 2012

Translating Obfuscatory Cuisine Labels

"Spanish food" means Dominican

"European food" means Russian

"Korean/Japanese food" means Korean

"Brazilian/Portuguese food" means Portuguese

"French/Moroccan food" means Moroccan

"Himalayan food" means Nepali

"Indian/Chinese food" is cooked by Nepalis but is its own thing

"Chinese-American food" is usually cooked by Fuzhous but is its own thing

"Szechuan/Cantonese/Hunan food" means Chinese-American

"Chinese-Mexican food" is contrived by Taiwanese

"Tibetan food" is increasingly made and marketed by Chinese (who truly consider Tibet a part of China).*

"Uyghur food" (aka Xinjiang food): ibid

"Creole food" (outside Louisiana) means Haitian

"Mediterranean food" means Middle Eastern (often Lebanese)

"Jordanian food" means Palestinian (ask for kunefeh, pronounced koo-NEF-uh)

"Afghan [plus anything else] food" means anything but Afghan

"Indo/Pak/Bangladeshi food" means Bangladeshi (i.e. Bengali)

"Gourmet food" means marketing

Rule of thumb: restaurants advertising hyphenated cuisines are usually run by immigrants from the lesser-known, poorer, and/or less culinarily renowned country...unless the hybrid includes "Chinese", in which case the cuisine is usually a true hybrid (unless "Mexican" is involved).

* - look for a photo of the Dalai Lama to confirm bona fide Tibetan ownership.

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