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Manuel

Fed up with Chinese food restaurants...

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Manuel

Yonglin in post #12:

I don't think this is at all specific to China or Chinese restaurants, and that maybe you are making some kind of attribution error here. To me, your #1-7 seems to describe most cheap (by local standards) restaurants, whether in China, North America, Europe, etc. Here in New York, too much oil/salt/sugar/MSG and poor ingredients is a feature of cheap Chinese food, cheap Indian food, cheap pizza, etc. etc.

Reply: It is specific to most Chinese style restaurants in China. I've been to the cheapest and some very expensive ones (400 RMB / person). But I don't think it is about money, because ingredients are very affordable. Two weeks ago I made a very nice curry using local ingredients exclusively, serving 6 hungry people. We couldn't finish it. I spent about 30 kuai in total.

Xiaocai in post #13:

Maybe 无锡 is a more expensive to live in. In Sichuan' date=' even in Chengdu you can still have a decent medium bowl of noodles or dumplings (well most likely will be veggie filling only though) with a drink for 15 RMB. You can even ask the vendor for less oil and salt if you feel like to. The hygiene standard of this kind restaurants sometimes can be questionable, and it is something hard to avoid in many developing countries (and maybe also some developed countries) and China is no exception. I'm hoping it will improve over time. But as for food price, it will probably never come down, if not going up...[/quote']

Reply: A bowl of noodles is worth 15 RMB or less precisely to reflect the fact that it is nutritionally lacking. Furthermore, noodles are nothing to write home about, and after 3 years they are not so appealing.

AucklandLove in post #19:

I am living with a Chinese family and their food is amazing. I cannot agree with your restaurant experience in Beijing though. Maybe it is only because I haven't been here that long, but love Chinese food in China. Have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant abroad? It is much better in China.

Reply: Give it another 3 years. Chinese restaurants in Spain are actually amazing and very popular amongst Spaniards. We've had Chinese restaurants for as long as I can remember. The food is a bit different from what you find in China though. I am under the impression that Chinese restaurants in China are afraid to be creative, so they copy each others "culinary presets" and eventually it all tastes the same.

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ChTTay

1. Of course it's about money. Go to a 200 rmb a head restaurant then go to a 20 rmb a head place. If you can't taste the difference in the quality of the meat either the expensive restaurant is ripping you off or the small one is operating a massive loss.

... So it was a vegetable curry then?

2. I have been here half the time you half but think I like noodles more than when I arrived. Its not hard to make your own noodles and add some nutritionally rich ingredients to it.

3. Have you ever thought that Chinese restaurants in Spain are amazing, popular with Spaniards and very different to China Chinese food because they are being catered to your tastes. Its the same all over the world.

The one restaurant in UK i found in the UK that was actually more of a "mainland" kind of place had all kind of stuff your average Brit wouldn't even step on but it did a roaring trade with Chinese people. They were smart enough to make their business lunch menu include such delights as sweet and sour chicken, sweet chilli beef and kung pao chicken though.

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xiaocai

Now I have 15 RMB, you take it to any restaurant in any country and buy me a meal which is nutritionally complete. Whether you like it or not is a completely different story though. Noodles are staple food for Chinese people and many of us can have noodles everyday for years.

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skylee
Noodles are staple food for Chinese people and many of us can have noodles everyday for years.

I agree.:clap

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renzhe
the quality of food of many Chinese restaurants in Canada and Australia is good

In my experience, the quality of Chinese restaurants in Europe depends on the size of the Chinese community and how often they eat outside.

Chinese restaurants with trained cooks, who cater primarily to Chinese people in big European cities tend to be good (not spectacular, but good). Places catering to "western tastes" and family-run fast food stalls not so much.

In Hamburg, we had our regular dimsum, breakfast, and Shanghainese restaurants which were really good. I miss that here. When we first went to a Chinese restaurant here, the (Chinese) cook came out to apologise to us for not having authentic food. That says it all, I think.

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yeut

Skylee:

honey is from an animal

No. Honey is from bees, which are insects and not animal.

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imron
Honey is from bees, which are insects and not animal.

Insects are animals. The European Honey-Bee for example has a classification of:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hymenoptera

Suborder: Apocrita

Superfamily: Apoidea

Family: Apidae

Genus: Apis

Species: mellifera

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skylee

Re #26, I didn't exactly write those words in the quote box. So strange.

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Kobo-Daishi
Manual wrote:

So I spent a couple of weeks at her parents last year to find out for myself, and the food was indeed completely different and far better than everything else I had tried in any restaurant.

So, what did they serve you?

Manual wrote:

Two weeks ago I made a very nice curry using local ingredients exclusively, serving 6 hungry people. We couldn't finish it. I spent about 30 kuai in total.

I wouldn't really consider curry Chinese food, but, it has kind of become a pan-Asian thing where a lot of non-South Asian nations have their own curry dishes. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

I've never been a big fan myself.

Kobo.

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skylee

I like Japanese curry, perhaps because it is sweeter. Indian curry is also very nice.

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carlo
Noodles are staple food for Chinese people and many of us can have noodles everyday for years.

The same is true of Italians, btw.

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liuzhou

I've been in China for 17 years and am still delighted by Chinese food. Almost every week, I come across something new and amazing, without really looking. In restaurants and in friends' homes.

Of course if you eat in cheap, crap restaurants you are going to get cheap, crap food. - that is not peculiar to China. The original post says more about the OP than it does about Chinese food,

(Comparing Chinese food in Europe to Chinese food in China is an irrelevant distraction, perhaps worthy of another thread.)

Honey is from bees, which are insects and not animal.

I don't care who said it, it is nonsense. Stir fried bees are never in the vegetarian section* of the menu. On account of what they are animals!

*What vegetarian section, would that be - ed

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Manuel
1. Of course it's about money. Go to a 200 rmb a head restaurant then go to a 20 rmb a head place. If you can't taste the difference in the quality of the meat either the expensive restaurant is ripping you off or the small one is operating a massive loss.

A fresh graudate in China earns anything between 2000 and 4000 RMB per month. The price of a BigMac is about 15 RMB. The same graduate in the UK would earn at least 9000 RMB per month based on today's currency exchange rates. The price of a BigMac in the UK is about 40 RMB. Now:

2000 / 15 = 133 China

9000 / 40 = 225 UK

225 > 133, which means that a UK citizen has nearly twice the purchasing power of the equivalent Chinese citizen. I don't have a doubt in my mind that Chinese restaurants are capable of producing better, healthier, dishes, but that would push prices outside the budget of the average earner who would instead choose to cook his own meals. Thus, the only way to get people to eat out is to lower prices at the expense of quality, which is what most restaurants do.

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tooironic

But in my experience the best and most authentic restaurants in China are the ones with the lowest prices and not to mention crappy decor and service (or lack thereof).

Some of the worst food I've had in China has been in fancy restaurants with Western prices.

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anonymoose
But in my experience the best and most authentic restaurants in China are the ones with the lowest prices and not to mention crappy decor and service (or lack thereof).

I have to agree with this to a certain extent. In my experience, most of the chains, such as 一茶一坐, 辛香汇, 新旺茶餐厅, 釜山, 普京 and so on, are expensive by Chinese standards, yet the dishes are very mediocre. Certainly, better dishes can be had for a fraction of the price at smaller roadside restaurants.

However, that's not to say that all expensive restaurants are bad, but usually the better ones are individual, rather than chains. This may be because chains have standardised menus where the chefs just have to prepare food according to a set formula, whereas independent restaurants can let the chefs actually put play to their talents.

All this is based on palatability, though, rather than nutritional value.

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ChTTay

Im not arguing with notion that people would be better off cooking at home, in most instances they would be.

However, You still cannot say that food quality is not about money. If that is the case, why isn't everyone in the world eating Organic, free range produce? Why do poorer people generally have poorer nutrition?

Equally, Chinese food is what it is. It's relative oily, salty, sugary... That isn't going to change any time soon.

If you don't like it, don't eat it. If you don't think others shouldn't eat it, then start a campaign in China to educate people. It's about time they started eating salads and sandwiches anyway!

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realmayo

I suspect what may have happened over the last 10 years or so is that the cost of buying food has gone up a lot but restaurant prices at cheap & cheerful places haven't gone up by the same amount, because customers haven't been willing or able to pay too much more. So instead the quality at the restaurant declines.

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Kobo-Daishi

The latest news out of China is that they arrested a gang that was passing off rat meat as mutton. :)

They had a picture of meat grilling on skewers.

Kobo.

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frankwall

A met several people in the last few weeks who went to Hong Kong and they found the dining experience truly awful. One couple had the usual violent after effects. And the story about the rat meat really was terrible - China needs to improve its restaurant situation - there is so much potential there. I was wondering about more fresh vegetable items...look at statistics on asparagus growth in China. In much of Europe its a delicacy - I have not seen it in China so much, is it mainly exported?

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