"Salvadorean and Mexican," "Thai and Lao," X and (almost related) Y" - Discussion.

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by Bay Pisco Shark, Mar 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    There seem to be an ever-growing trend of restaurants that have a secondary name to get you in the door. The family (always mom/pop/kids) that run the places are always from the "lesser-known cuisine" locale.

    Around these parts, there are a lot of Indian/Pakistani, Indian/Nepalese, Mexican/Salvadorean, Thai/Lao, and there are others, but you get the picture. When I try and explain Pakistani food to others, I'll say "it is almost like Indian, but you get beef." But it is a lot more than that (and what is "Indian" food anyway, many regions, types, etc.). The Central American places need to get a taco and a burrito on the menu to get people in the door.

    So, with respect to these places, do you:
    (1) Avoid them
    (2) Visit the "tried and true" menu items of the more common cuisine you know of
    (3) Visit, and figure that the best things on the menu are from the lesser-known native cuisine of the proprietors, and inquire and have them guide you to the dishes
    (4) Other
     
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  2. wingspan
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    wingspan Silver Member

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    I find it's usually better to go for option number 3. Last Saturday I went to a "Vietnamese - Cambodian" restaurant and ordered from the Cambodian section of the menu. My food looked a lot better than my neighbours who had orded from the Vietnamese section.
     
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  3. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    I usually avoid them if there are other restaurants in the area from which to choose. Every time I eat at a combo place it seems I'm disappointed.
     
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  4. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    I'd either give it a pass or try the native cuisine. The reason I'd generally give it a pass is that the more items on the menu the less likely they will get most of them right. I'd rather see a small menu of fantastic dishes than a huge menu with everything under the sun.

    I was in Cambodia last year and found the cuisine to be sorely lacking taste. What did you have?
     
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  5. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    My thoughts are that the native side of the menu is usually 'right' and the other side of the menu is to get the unfamiliar to go through the door, and will be the "sorry side" of the menu.
     
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  6. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    Fair enough, but I think that by not remaining focused, even the native side will suffer.
     
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  7. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Without the "other" side, it is almost impossible to find the "native" cuisine as a stand-alone restaurant.
     
  8. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    The first time I recall seeing this was in the late 80's in NYC. I believe it was Chinese/Cuban food. In Phoenix, there's a place called "Chino Bandido", which is Chinese/Mexican.

    Personally, I try to go places that have interesting foods. The inclusion of two types of food doesn't sway me much, either way.
     
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  9. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    But Chinese Cuban sounds like it could be fusion as the two styles are so totally different. Here in Israel we have a place called Sushi Samba. Apparently very very good fusion. I really should go sometime. :)
     
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  10. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    Nope, had Chinese and Cuban food. Not any real fusion that I can recall.
     
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  11. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Similarly, there is a Mexican/Japanese place in Tucson that is really good. Outside of pan-Asian types of places where I know what I am getting into, I don't like the mixing.

    Here in the WAS area, there are no good Mexican food places exist (outside of a gas station in MD - so I've read). The Mexican food tends to be Salvadorean - primarily with other Central American regions mixed in. While the food isn't bad, it is not Mexican food.

    Cheers

     
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  12. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    Sometimes the second cuisine is a "token" offering for the one person in a party who isn't adventurous - a pupussa place I go to in Ft. Lauderdale has a couple of "token" Mexican items, for example). Other times, it could be a husband/wife or two-partners operation where each hailed from a different country: when I lived in the Bay Area I used to go to a Mission District restaurant that was half-Salvadoran, half Yucatan; the husband/chef was Salvadoran, the wife from Mexico (she ran the front of the house, her mother did the Yucatan cooking).
     
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  13. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    if it is the chain that used to (or maybe still does), think meh, no need to hurry to get to it.

    Latest fusion restaurant I went to was Vermillion in Chicago (aslo a location in NYC) www.thevermilionrestaurant.com
    advertised as a melding of Latin & Indian flavors, both of which I adore, we found most of the food had predominant Indian flavor w/little if any Latin. We all kept thinking, yes the ingredients are high quality but the flavor profiles I can get a the good Indian buffet restaurants for $8.

    To answer the poll in post #1 of this thread, I would have to choose 3 as I'm a sucker for having the owner or knowledgeable waiter walk me through the 'true' ethic dishes on the menu. Sometimes you hit gold other times oh well, I tried.
     
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  14. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Where is that restaurant? I ate a few times at a wonderful Cambodian restaurant in Oakland, CA, and once at one in Boston, but we don't have any in Chicago. A couple times people tried to start one, and no one went, so the switched over to Thai (like we don't already have enough thousands of Thai restaurants?) and were able to survive that way.
     
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  15. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Sushi Samba is a Brazilian Japanese place. There are more ethnic Japanese in Sao Paulo than in any other cities than Tokyo and Osaka. The style of Japanese in Brazil is certainly fusion because it includes things like "hot Philadelphia", billed as sushi which has cream cheese in it. There are such places all over Nagoya, too, where many brazilian-Japanese live, enough so that there are street signs in Portuguese and Brazilian food shops.

    This type of food is an acquired taste. It is neither Japanese nor Brazilian, but a real fusion. When in Brazil almsot all Japanese restaurants are really that fusion, and they are on almost every street corner.
     
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  16. jbcarioca
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    Cuban-Chinese is another vestige of immigration of Chinese to Cuba. there are several such in new York, a few in Miami. They certainly are fusion. This link explains a little about their history and names a few of the NYC places and a Miami one too:
    http://chineseculture.about.com/od/chinesecuisine/a/CubanChinofood.htm
     
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  17. jbcarioca
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    Nobody has yet mentioned Peruvian-Japanese. That has become immensely popular, partly because of Nobu.

    Nobu got his independent start in Peru, after all. It is funny that Nobu in Japan is called fusion, in the US is called Japanese. I am a big fan of Peruvian-Japanese in general and Nobu in particular.
     
  18. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Just learned something new - and a new destination to check out.
     
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  19. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Know what you mean. Recently in las Vegas earning points from Marriott at The Cosmopolitan Hotel and one of the restaurants on the property was China Poblano which meant I had Queso Fundido with Steamed Pork Buns (ordered from each menu). A modern version of a limited cafeteria?
     
  20. PhlyingRPh
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    PhlyingRPh Silver Member

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    I think the premise of this thread may be somewhat unipolar. There are many reasons why a restaurant may be A and B cuisine and in many cases, it's not just to "get you in the door". Based on the location, you may not even be a target customer. It is often an expression of the manner in which various sub-cultures cook their meals, the parental, religious, geographical and economic influences on their cuisine. I think classifying a type of cuisine as being "lesser" also feeds into some rather regrettable stereotypes, but thats a different story.

    Anyway, in answer to the OP's question, I like to try all types of cuisine, and have often found some of the most interesting dishes in A and B restaurants, and don't necessarily turn my nose up at such establishments. I'll provide an example that should be easy to find in north america - Pakistani and Chinese cuisine - essentially Cantonese style food but cooked with South Asian spices and herbs, some grilled meats and generally served with Basmati rice. I think my absolute favourite combination though is Malay and Indian.
     

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