I guess I may have been lucky that I have lived near by a relatively larger Chinese population throughout my life (SF, Philadelphia, NY).
Sometime, we define “authenticity” by the kind of dishes (like you have suggested for open ended Taiwanese dumpling rolls or frog legs…, but sometime I think it is also about how a very simple dish is executed – even something as ubiquitous as fried rice or chow fun (fried wide rice noodle).
You are very lucky to have Cantonese style Chinese food in your area, because everyone knows it is the best kind of Chinese food.
I was just going to mention Indo-Chinese food too. Chicken Manchurian, Cauliflower Manchurian, Szechwan noodles, hakka noodles, etc. It’s basically Chinese food that’s been indianized – spicier, more tart, more sweet, etc. Basically all the flavors are amplified. I make Chicken and Veg Manchurian at home, along with rice and stir fried noodles.
I’ve never seen ketchup in Chicken Manchurian but maybe that’s a Pakistani adaption? All the recipes I’ve tried have been soy sauce, chicken broth, green onions, garlic, corn starch, etc. I’ll have to try adding a bit of ketchup to my normal recipe to see how it comes out.
In Singapore/Malaysia, there are many Chinese dishes that have been adapted to local tastes. For example, mee goreng is stir fried noodles with soy sauce, etc but they are adapted by adding lots of chillies, tomatoes, ketchup, potato, meat, egg, lime, etc (depending on who’s making it). The “mamak” style is my favorite (Muslim Indian). There’s a number of Chinese dishes that are adapted there since the main ethnicities are Chinese, Malay and Indian.
The recipes I’ve seen on the Internet are mostly like what you describe (but usually with a little ketchup or tomato paste [paste preferred].) Those recipes are what I used to get in Chinese restaurants around Pakistan. Last visit, however, I had Chicken Manchurian three times, each in different areas, and two in homes. The home versions were very ketchup-y, while the restaurant version was dominated by flavors of both ketchup and canned pineapple. (Fortunately for me, though, MSG use has decreased significantly. ) I probably shouldn’t condemn the whole country’s Chicken Manchurian based on just three samples…
If this was “Regional Italian Dishes”, I would tell you horror stories of lasagna and pizza made with ketchup. (This was during the 90s.)
Also sort of off-topic, I’ve been told by two Thai immigrants that ketchup is increasingly used for Pad Thai in home kitchens around Thailand.
Ketchup is used in Mee Goreng many times (the Indian-Chinese-Malay noodles I mentioned above) and also in things like Sweet and Sour Pork too. It’s pretty common I think, just because it’s a preblended mix of tomatoes and vinegar, etc.
My FIL, who lives in India, likes to put ketchup on his spaghetti.
I love this topic. I grew up in Korea and had this weird idea of what Chinese food was. When I came to the US my ideas of Chinese food were completely shattered and came to the realization that Chinese food turns into something different wherever it ends up. I also love the Indo-Chinese classics but others have touched on that, so I’ll start with Korean Chinese food.
Ja Jang Myun - Decendent of the Chinese ja jiang mein, this has reached near national dish status, almost like what Pizza is to America.
JjamPpong - The origin of this dish is less clear - some say it actually came to Korea via Japan’s Nagasaki style Champon, but no one seems to know for sure. Speaking of Chinese dishes that landed in Japan, the beloved Ramen of Japan is also considered Chinese in origin.
If there’s any decent Korean population nearby, I would recommend checking it out for a different take on Chinese.
I spent most of my adult years in NJ, and authentic or not, I love the bastardized American Chinese classics. Beef/Chicken with broccoli. Pepper steak with onion. Crab rangoon. Lo Mein. Yaka mein (New Orleans style). The yellow fried rice. And Chinese takeout chicken wings.
I gotta say though, the most American classic of them all - the chow mein - is probably my least favorite Chinese dish in existence.
I’m also intrigued by the Chinese influence in Peruvian food. I’m curious how something like Lomo Saltado came to be.
I also really need to experience this sizzling rice soup thing. Anyone know if it exists in the NYC area?
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The thread that you just referenced was a link to Chowhound, which doesn’t exist anymore.
But here are two recipes from that thread. There were probably more, but I can’t recall if there were.
Boston Style Lobster Sauce
from Hytzipky on Chowhound
• Vegetable oil
• 16 oz. ground pork or ground beef
• 6 cloves minced garlic
• 3 tbs. oyster sauce
• 2 tbs. Hoisin sauce
• 1 tbs. dark soy sauce
• 1 c. water
• 3 tbs. molasses
• Cornstarch to thicken (5 tbs. plus 1/4 cup water mixed together)
• 2 eggs
• 2 chopped green scallions for garnish
• 1 tbs. sesame oil
Use enough oil to cover the bottom of a wok or deep frying pan. Heat the oil and stir fry the meat with the garlic. Add the water and then the molasses. Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir well. Add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Blend the eggs into the sauce and continue stir frying until the eggs are set. Stir in the sesame oil. Top with the scallions and serve with rice or noodles. Serves 3 - 4.
For shrimp or lobster in Lobster sauce:
6 colossal or 12 large (raw) de-veined shrimp cut into pieces
1 chicken lobster cut into small parts (raw)
Put the shell fish into the hot sauce at the end. Allow to sit in the hot lobster sauce and continue to cook with the heat turned off for about 5 - 10 minutes (or until shrimp is no longer transparent. The lobster might take a little longer in the shell. It might be best to cook the lobster in with the lobster sauce with the heat on simmer.
Serve over white rice or as a side with fried rice or lo mien.
Boston Style Chinese Chicken Wings (Kowloon)
from Hyzipky on Chowhound
(For 3-4 Pounds Chicken Wings)
3 lb. Chicken wings
2 T. sugar
salt to taste
6 T. soy sauce
6 T. water
Crushed ginger to taste
1 T. gin
Make a marinade by mixing all ingredients except the chicken wings. Pour the marinade over the wings, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Deep fry the wings in oil for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain and serve. Serves 3-4 as an appetizer.
Being from Boston, I know about the Lobster Sauce that seems to be a local Chinese-American only dish that doesn’t exist elsewhere. But Boston style chicken wings? Huh…that is news to me. I’ve had this on occasions, but never realized this isn’t a thing in other Chinese-American restaurants elsewhere.
I used to get the tomato curry beef when I was a wee one in KC.
Never could find it again till I was spending time in California.
There was a great little Chinese cafe in Williams where I found a fantastic version. Remembered fondly.
I have no idea what regions are represented, but the diversity offered here goes well beyond Cantonese. I often get a variation of mu shu pork for my mandarin and sizzling rice soup for a guest. The seafood is often live in the tank.