Iron Chef China vs. Iron Chef USA
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
35Trip End Mar 28, 2010
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I must say that the beauty of China is the fact that there are a variety of styles and countless combinations where almost no vegetable or part of animal is discriminated. While in the US, the history of the food has been influenced by the background of the people living there. There are foods inspired from many countries but unfortunately, tend to stick with the same ingredients, sauces, and dishes.
Ironically, people who are accustomed to Western or Chinese food, tend to be biased in that direction saying their cuisine is superior. Luckily, growing up with both, I don’t have a strong preference for one or the other and so I will try to give a fair comparison of both.
Chinese Cuisine vs. American Cuisine (in the context of restaurants)
1. Order of dishes
[ Chinese ] - Soups / cold appetizer then hot dishes
[American] - Soup or salad then cold/hot dishes
2. Drink preference
[ Chinese ] - Warm beverages (i.e. tea)*
[American] - Cold beverages (i.e. Coke, Sprite, etc.)
[ Chinese ] - Average
[American] - Large
4. Stereotyped as
[ Chinese ] - General Tso's chicken
[American] - Hot dogs
5. Notorious for
[ Chinese ] - Exotic foods
[American] - Fast food and buffets
6. Average spiciness of foods
[ Chinese ] - Hot
[American] - Mild
[ Chinese ] - Seamless incorporation of meats/vegetables
[American] - Number of options, flexibility (i.e. w/ or w/o onions, etc.)
[ Chinese ] - Lack of dairy in diet, abundance of MSG & cooking oil in foods
[American] - Lack of authenticity, abundance of fried & processed foods
9. What you will not see
[ Chinese ] - Fortune cookies
[American] - Only fast foods
10. What you will see
[ Chinese ] - Communal eating
[American] - Free condiments/refills
*I once saw a vending machine which dispensed warm bottled water as an option. Supposedly a great thing in the winter time but was a total shock to me, nonetheless.
So if I had to say… which do I prefer? Well, that is tough because I enjoy eating a good burger as much as a steamed pork bun. At the moment, I am more impressed with Chinese cuisine. It is new, exciting and exceptionally delicious. The reason I must say Chinese cuisine too is because it wins on consistency (for more complex dishes beyond a Big Mac). The picture in the menu is what you get, not plastic food arranged to look like the entree that you wanted.
But what’s the most surprising of all? I still need to try Peking Duck! - (Update: I did already... it was delicious.)