Just to clarify: I love Asian Fusion New York City-type establishments where’s it’s one stop shopping for the all things Asian and probably stir-fried. I’ve been to many an establishment in New York City where I enter the dimly lit foyer to some familiar pop music, sparking new tile glint and the table, black chopsticks rest upon a matching holder. The restaurant is so dark, you can’t see where your soy sauce container is. The waitresses yes the crap out of the diners and then yap away in Mandarin or Fujian to their bosses as they serve you the perfunctory miso soup and edamame.
Whenever you find a restaurant with a #fobby name of any kind, you know it’s owned by Chinese people. These are all over my neighborhood and all over pre-dominantly white neighborhoods: the Asian Fusion Take Out Upgrade owned by my people.
I’ve been to Italian restaurants owned by Chinese people and yes, to me, it seemed passable but not to my Italian American husband/partner/dude guy. So you know the rules. If the said ethnic says a said ethnic restaurant isn’t good; one cries “Inauthentic!”
But when you go to a Japanese restaurant owned by Chinese people, there’s this default belief that by virtue of the cooks being Asiatic, the food would fare better. Okay maybe a little better than that Chinese Parm…I mean Chicken Parm.
What I don’t get is this: why don’t these Chinese people just make really good Chinese food and stop being fake sushi chefs? I’m not arguing that Chinese people can’t be sushi chefs, of course, gastronomy is universal. Rather, there’s a deficit of real rib sticking good Chinese food in non-Chinese markets. What are we afraid of?
I think humanity would really benefit from my people just getting real with others.
Make that Fujianese or Cantonese food, but make sure it’s good. Be proud and charge like the Japanese and Koreans do.
Turn up the lights! Keep the tables sticky and leave the bone on the meat! I want menus scribbled in Chinese and I want the shame to wash over me as I point desperately at it. Humanity!
Alas, make those changes but keep my Bento box lunch special on the menu though: chicken teriyaki and fried shumai. Soup. And a fortune cookie.