Sunday, July 6, 2008

Food for thought

On the whole food in New York is better than that in Europe and Great Britain. The reason is that Asian food (I use that term advisedly) actually tastes like Asian food: and is plentifully available.

Asian basically means "Chinese" in Europe with a smattering of Japanese.

In Europe Asian food is a pale version of itself; and blandized for the European palate. Spice is anathema in much of Euro-land - despite the legend of Marco Polo and the Portuguese/Indian spice routes.

The exception for quality is eating Indian/Pakistani/Sri Lankan food in London. Heading south to Croydon for Sri Lankan is my particular favorite.

Another reason for this is that Asian greens obviously grow here in abundance - in Europe nobody has tried to cultivate them for the sake of making a proper meal. No bok choi, choi sum, pak choi, brocoli, or watercress. (That said, the greens taste a little bitter in the US which i suspect is from chemicals).

So it has been a treat eating them in quantity.

One should also remember that great swathes of Europe do not have a coast - and those with access to the Baltic Sea (where I live) fare no better as it is fished out except in its northern reaches near Finland. So seafood is also

Three recommendations in order of goodness:

Nyonya, Malaysian
194 Grand Street in Chinatown.

Go traditional: roti chennai, fish head curries, nasi lemak, beef rendang, and young tofu with okra and egg plant.

Really a taste of Malaysian (a melting pot of Thai, malay, indian, and Indonesian - the principal flavors are coconut, tamarind, lime, tomato broth, red Assam curry).

Kum Gang San, Korean bbq
49 west 32nd street in Korea Town

Generous amounts - with pickles that keep flowing. Korean is all about the small side dishes that are happily topped up upon request. kim chi till you burst

Hangawi, vegetarian Korean
12 East 32nd Street, Korea town

This is for those of you wanting one of those "New York Magazine" and "Zagat" fixes.
It has zen interiors with low tables and cushions and 'traditional' interiors and the likes. an waiters in 'Shanghai Tang' type outfits.

The staff and chefs are Chinese, however, so authenticity is at a question mark. They are serving fusion in any case so it probably doesn't matter. Lots of morsels that are equally tasty and seem like they might be good for you.

over priced considering... but that's what you get for your magazine world endorsements and chic fellow diners.

Tomorrow I'll do Italian...

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