A typical menu at a Chinese restaurant will consist of at least fifty main-dish items. These items may be divided into the following categories:
1 – Dishes that are more or less genuine attempts at recreating a popular recipe (50%). There will be at least a dozen dishes that are ubiquitous in all Chinese restaurants – the equivalent of pepperoni pizzas in all pizzerias.
- These dishes have an easily identifiable flavor that is pretty much the same everywhere in the world. However, they are almost always heavy on chili and salt, and may contain miscellaneous ingredients (such as black fungi or pig intestines) that may deter the Western palate.
- If you feel like you are familiar with Asian cuisine, feel free to order one or two of these with plain rice. Look out for “fish-flavored shredded pork”, “Gong Bao Chicken” in the menu – these are usually available.
2 – Special “regional” dishes based on the palate of select Chinese provinces, that are also “trademark” dishes for Chinese restaurants that claim to originate from these places (20%). This is where most of the weird stuff on the menu goes, and these may even deter authentic Chinese customers.
- These dishes are usually big-dished and cost 50% more. They often contain everything Westerners fear about Asian food: pig’s foot, curdled duck blood, small intestine of cow, boned eel, whole steamed fish, skewered squib heads, lamb’s head…
- As a rule, unless they’ve been to Asian countries for extended periods, non-Asians will never order these, which is a shame since all Chinese restaurants put the most amount of effort and high quality ingredients into making these dishes.
- In larger Chinese restaurants these dishes will often take up entire pages in the menu, with somewhat ridiculous price tags. Don’t order these if you are by yourself; if you are feeling adventurous, go with a friend and get one such dish – it would usually be enough for two.
- Although many non-spicy dishes exist, most Chinese restaurants in Western countries only offer the spicy variant. Look out for “Sichuan Boiled Fish” or “Mao Xue Wang”. They will come in very large bowls.
3 – Then there are the dishes that every Chinese restaurant must put in the menu so uninformed white people can find something comfortable to them (30%). These include plates of shit like “honey chicken” or “lemongrass chicken” or at worst “braised pork belly”.
- These are not Chinese dishes. These items were created by Westerners to cater to the Western palate. No Chinese customers will ever, ever order these items. In fact, if a white person asks the staff for recommendations, they will point to “honey chicken” without fail, since it is a safe bet that this plate of shit will be meek enough for their delicate palate.
- An easy way to identify this type of dish is by looking at the pictures in the menu and checking how much of the meat is covered in an ambiguous brown-coloured sauce. If you see pieces of chicken breast all covered in slick, semi-fried semi-gravy-like shells, beware: they put that dish in the menu not because they taste good, but because it’s the only thing that comes into your head when someone mentions Chinese food.
- While the sweet-and-sour taste may be pleasant, it also contains copious amounts of sugar and emulsifying additives so that the coating would stick to the meat. They are among the most fattening items on the menu – while they may not taste fried, they were fried, then coated with sugar and grease.
- If you have any sense of self-worth, please, do not order these, even if the Chinese waitress is smiling and pointing at it – in her head she is going “another whitey too scared to order anything else.”
More to come.