Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Authentic Ethic Dining

Having lived in various parts of the United States (Vermont, San Francisco, Yosemite, New Orleans, NYC, Orlando, and now Boston) I have always tried to find the most authentic ethnic restaurants to dine in. The venture at times has been great and at other times an utter failure. I'm sure people from NYC will attest to the fact that there is a plethora of restaurants labeled authentic Chinese in China Town or authentic Italian in Little Italy. There in fact lies the first lesson, just because it is in an ethnic neighborhood (supposedly), doesn't make it authentic. In addition, just because someone comes from the country from which their cuisine originates, doesn't make them an authoritative cook. Your mom may be a good cook at home, but she doesn't always make a good cook for the general public en mass.

When you look for an authentic ethnic eatery, you also have to ask yourself if you are looking for just perfect food, or are you looking for the whole experience of dining in their culture. As most ethnic restaurants are no matter what, in some way Americanized, because we are in America, the decor and ambiance isn't always going to be 100% authentic. So for me I look for the best food possible, and the rest is icing on the cake. The number one way to find out if the food is authentic and good as well, is look at the patrons of the restaurant. If it is a Thai restaurant, and it has a large amount of Thai people in the dining room, that place is probably a sure bet. This is definitely true of Indian restaurants, The local Indian population will converge on the best places, because eating in their culture is such a communal experience.

Know something about the cuisine before you are going to find a place as well. What this will do is help you to find places that have the "proper" menu items. If you go into a Japanese restaurant and find it mostly littered with fifteen variations of teriyaki and many beef dishes, you've gone to the wrong place. If you visit an Indian restaurant, and do not find a large vegetarian section, but do find a large beef section, run for the hills. Spelling is important as well, but one also has to think about how badly people from our own country spell some of the words on menus, the same thing happens from other cultures. My final words of advice, is not to be too shy, ask people in town. Ask people in other restaurants that you like to goto as well. Other people go out to eat and there is likely to be someone to have tried the place you are interested. Other diners can be a great resource to you.

Eating an ethnic cuisine can be both an exciting and yet daunting experience. If you take some of those suggestions and decide to just go out and have fun, your experience in ethnic cuisine will always be an adventure in eating. In the end that's what fun should be, a fun adventure where we get to try new things, while repeating those experiences we enjoyed most. Good luck on your ethnic eating ventures, maybe you might be eating some Dim Sum along side me someday and we can nod and in recognition of our treasured find.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterHandelshaus ...