bad restaurant food. Shrimp in Lobster sauce.

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boomchakabowwow

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I live in a Chinese food desert. there is nothing around. despite knowing this, my wife and will try a restaurant on occasion. very mixed results. we both worked from home. she wanted lunch together. I was praying, "please dont say Chinese food (repeat)". she says, Chinese Food!! oh o.

nobody messes up Beef and Broccoli, and I should have stayed with the basic and ordered it. nope. I order Shrimp in Lobster sauce. haha..I got the weirdest thing. it was the single worst meal I have ever ordered. I poked at it and we both shared my wife's tofu dish. (it was not bad). my dish was swimming in this corn starch slurry thickened "juice". I could not identify the flavor. it tasted like an uncooked roux.

I am currently, thawing out some shrimp because I am gonna make Shrimp in Lobster sauce myself. hoping to erase the food memory. :). we paid and left, lessoned learned.

I left it untouched.

badshrimp.jpg
 
that looks like someone has already eaten it....

Buy Fuchsia Dunlop's every grain of rice and start cooking Chinese food....once you get to know the ingredients and order of adding them it's fairly easy to cook food better than what you get in most Chinese restaurants.

We have sampled around for Chinese food too when we moved here, and after three strikes in a row stopped looking...Rotterdam is the nearest GOOD chinese restaurant.
 
There's a Chinese buffet place near us that heavily advertises on local billboards. I went in for a pickup order and watched a line cook work for 10 minutes while waiting. The guy had no gloves on and a little plate with (clearly Sysco-produced) boiled chicken breast pieces plain, no sauce, no nothing. Every few minutes the guy would reach forward with his bare hand and snack on a couple of those pieces then go back to cooking.

Needless to say we're never going back there again.
 
that looks like someone has already eaten it....

Buy Fuchsia Dunlop's every grain of rice and start cooking Chinese food....once you get to know the ingredients and order of adding them it's fairly easy to cook food better than what you get in most Chinese restaurants.

We have sampled around for Chinese food too when we moved here, and after three strikes in a row stopped looking...Rotterdam is the nearest GOOD chinese restaurant.
my stepdad was a owner/chef of a Chinese Restaurant. before he passed he gave me some of this tricks. I got this.
 
Hannover is a culinary wasteland, unless you're into Doner kebabs. Although I have a found a half decent Cantonese style restaurant run by a retired husband and wife team, within walking distance. At least it offer's echos of some happy memories of London's Chinatown back in the 80's.
 
Hannover is a culinary wasteland, unless you're into Doner kebabs. Although I have a found a half decent Cantonese style restaurant run by a retired husband and wife team, within walking distance. At least it offer's echos of some happy memories of London's Chinatown back in the 80's.
hahha..

yea. I understand. in four decades (of life) I have NEVER seen the insides of a Panda Express. since moving here, I've been there 3x. YIKES.
 
hahha..

yea. I understand. in four decades (of life) I have NEVER seen the insides of a Panda Express. since moving here, I've been there 3x. YIKES.
In ignorance I visited a Panda Express in San Francisco. Just ONCE. Never made that mistake again. Too many half decent alternatives there
 
there shouldn't even be a Panda Express in San Francisco. that's like opening a Taco Bell in Mexico City. :)
 
I live in a Chinese food desert. there is nothing around. despite knowing this, my wife and will try a restaurant on occasion. very mixed results. we both worked from home. she wanted lunch together. I was praying, "please dont say Chinese food (repeat)". she says, Chinese Food!! oh o.

nobody messes up Beef and Broccoli, and I should have stayed with the basic and ordered it. nope. I order Shrimp in Lobster sauce. haha..I got the weirdest thing. it was the single worst meal I have ever ordered. I poked at it and we both shared my wife's tofu dish. (it was not bad). my dish was swimming in this corn starch slurry thickened "juice". I could not identify the flavor. it tasted like an uncooked roux.

I am currently, thawing out some shrimp because I am gonna make Shrimp in Lobster sauce myself. hoping to erase the food memory. :). we paid and left, lessoned learned.

I left it untouched.

View attachment 186172
Luckily I’ve never lived in a ‘Chinese food desert,’ but always within striking distance of Chinatowns for a quick bite or grocery shopping.
‘Shrimp with Lobster Sauce’ a Cantonese restaurant classic, can be absolutely delicious if properly made—fresh crisp shrimp in an eggy, arrowroot thickened sauce—comfort food for me. Although, I’ve had dreadful renditions too—stale, insipid, shrimp in a gloppy, MSG boosted mess.
 
Lei Garden does good work in that category. Went a few weeks ago for work lunch. :)

https://leigarden.hk/signature-dishes/
View attachment 196636 View attachment 196638
That's gorgeous, but an altogether different type of dish.

'Shrimp with Lobster Sauce' is a frugal dish containing no lobster—a stalwart of Chop Suey House menus; a clever way to stretch and expand the dish with egg and starch; home cooking luxury for skint times; humble Cantonese-American fare.
 
When I was growing up, my parents would always order the same thing from Chinese takeout: pepper steak for mom and shrimp with lobster sauce for dad. Every, single, time. Never could understand why my dad liked it so much. It was always a gloopy mess.

Later in life I moved to NYC and enjoyed the spoils of authentic immigrant food, especially Chinese, Thai, and Korean. After 8 years of bliss I moved to south Florida and was appalled by the options, so I learned to cook it myself. I won't claim that my cooking is fully authentic, but IMO it's a much more accurate representation than the abominations served at places that cater to a western palate.
 
When I was growing up, my parents would always order the same thing from Chinese takeout: pepper steak for mom and shrimp with lobster sauce for dad. Every, single, time. Never could understand why my dad liked it so much. It was always a gloopy mess.

Later in life I moved to NYC and enjoyed the spoils of authentic immigrant food, especially Chinese, Thai, and Korean. After 8 years of bliss I moved to south Florida and was appalled by the options, so I learned to cook it myself. I won't claim that my cooking is fully authentic, but IMO it's a much more accurate representation than the abominations served at places that cater to a western palate.

I hear where you're coming from. However, perhaps I see/eat things from a different perspective—oftentimes embracing and loving those 'abominations' created for whatever the local appetites demand. IMHO, cuisines are always evolving—in NYC there's awesome Chinese-American, Chimaican (Jamaican-Chinese); Chindi (Indian-Chinese); and Chino-Latino food—as well as some very good Korean-Russian joints. For my belly, if the food's well made, that's the main thing. I've been to 'authentic' Japanese restaurants serving up crap food; and superb, Westernized Japanese food geared towards trendy Millenials and Gen Z-ers.
 
I know some of you are Chinese. It is a culture with many regional culinary traditions. My Chinese aunt would take us to places some hole in the wall others larger in Chinatown. The food was good. I like Lobster King. Lobster comes with different sauces. My favorite is a light lemongrass.
Their side dishes are good too it's a popular place.
 
I think the key is to recognize that Americanized-Chinese food as its own cuisine, much like Korean-Chinese and Japanese-Chinese food is. You can definitely see the inspiration for each of these but there are definitely adaptations for both local tastes and ingredients.

"Authenticity" is neither good nor bad, just different. Some of the greatest foods are fusion (although some people mistakenly think of these as traditional): banh mi, al pastor, ramen to name a few.
 
Personally, I'm somewhat when using terms like 'authentic' in describing cuisines—since cuisines are constantly evolving. Chinese cuisine is a very broad umbrella, encompassing an immense range of cookery, including food resulting from the Chinese diaspora. Chinese-American cooking is as 'authentic' and valid a cuisine as any other regional Chinese cookery. The evolution of Hakka cuisine in Southern China is not too dissimilar to how Chinese-American cuisine evolved in the 20th century—the Hakka moved from Northern to Southern China circa 9th century, adapting to new lifestyles and ingredients.

Yeah, Chinese-American is it's own thing, like Sichuan, Henan, Yunnan, etc.

Sweet 'n' Sour Pork, Yat Gow Mein, Egg Rolls, Moo Goo Gai Pan all popular Chinese dishes from the Chinese-American repertoire. Really happy that the James Beard Foundation recognized NYC's Wo Hop this year, a long overdue accolade IMO.

Miss the old Chop Suey Houses!

Interestingly, I've even encountered people championing MSG as a must use ingredient for making 'authentic' Chinese food.
 
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I remember the bad American Chinese restaurants of my youth. Overcooked limp watery bok choy in thick cornstarch sauce. Greasy bland fried rice. And yes, awful shrimp in lobster sauce. One cookbook author, I forget which one, aptly referred to the same sauce as "low tide sauce."

There may indeed be a valid Chinese-American cuisine, but this wasn't it. The story of food adapting to the local palate, or combining traditions, can be inspiring -- consider New Orleans! The story of people who can't cook opening restaurants in their new country because they don't know what else to do is much less inspiring.
 
Early in my cooking career worked as banquet cook at Sheraton Waikiki. The Chinese banquets was in the same large kitchen on same level as the huge banquet dining rooms. The Chinese cooks had a plastic trash can full of MSG. We got a German executive chef who wanted to do away with it. Chinese cooks threatened to quit. Guess who won.
 
I remember the bad American Chinese restaurants of my youth. Overcooked limp watery bok choy in thick cornstarch sauce. Greasy bland fried rice. And yes, awful shrimp in lobster sauce. One cookbook author, I forget which one, aptly referred to the same sauce as "low tide sauce."

There may indeed be a valid Chinese-American cuisine, but this wasn't it. The story of food adapting to the local palate, or combining traditions, can be inspiring -- consider New Orleans! The story of people who can't cook opening restaurants in their new country because they don't know what else to do is much less inspiring.
I’ve also had my share of bad Chinese-American food. Have also has memorable nine course feasts in Chinese-American joints, with lemon chicken and sweet ‘n’ sour pork sharing the table with sharks fin soup.
I respect the many hardworking chefs that opened restaurants in their adopted countries. Growing up we dined at great, good and bad Chinese-American eateries—the good ones are often on my list of places to revisit when traveling. A good friend of mine opened a French restaurant in a gritty part of NYC, going strong after many ups and downs.
 
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Early in my cooking career worked as banquet cook at Sheraton Waikiki. The Chinese banquets was in the same large kitchen on same level as the huge banquet dining rooms. The Chinese cooks had a plastic trash can full of MSG. We got a German executive chef who wanted to do away with it. Chinese cooks threatened to quit. Guess who won.
Hahaha! I’m sure I’ve eaten there when you were in the kitchen.
Remember the Kon-Tiki Cocktail Lounge in the Sheraton? My late neighbor was the piano player.
 
I believe that sweet n sour pork is a legitimately Cantonese dish. That live-tank restaurant on one of the islands near Hong Kong that runs their own boats (Rainbow, maybe?) does an excellent, memorable version.

Chop Suey is San Franciscan.

Lemon chicken, never had a good version, one that wasn't too sweet. The lemon, heavy sugar, and heavy cornstarch of the ones I had seemed like the bottom of a lemon meringue pie.

When I started going into New York City for Chinese food, it seemed everyone meant something different by General Tso's Chicken, which is Taiwanese in origin. The one that I liked best, practically worshipped, had no breading, and was loaded with Sichuan peppercorns. It bore not the slightest resemblance to the original dish, which I have made many times and love.
 
I was having a conversation along these lines with my wife this weekend. We got a pork belly banh mi from Mendocino Farms, which is basically an upscale version of Panera. I love their pork belly banh mi.

Then a couple days later we also got a pork belly banh mi from a Vietnamese restaurant and it was pretty bland and mediocre. We were joking about how sad it is that the gwailo (“white people”) chain restaurant makes a better banh mi than the actual Vietnamese restaurant.
 
We mostly have 'localized' Chinese restaurants here as well; at least half the menu actually consists of Indonesian dishes due to the colonial heritage.
 
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