Not So Foreign Food YKTTW Discussion

Not So Foreign Food
So-called foreign cuisine redesigned to fit the tastes of locals.
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-16 16:01:51 sponsor: AgProv edited by: lebrel (last reply: 2013-01-21 02:05:50)

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[revamped & updated]

Needs Fiction Examples. We have piles of Real Life ones already.

"Foreign" cuisine redesigned to fit the tastes of locals. Typically this means non-Western foods simplified and blandified for Westerners, but also may apply to Western cuisines that are exotic by American / British standards.

A person familiar with the bastardized version may consider the authentic version of the dish Foreign Queasine.


  • Big Night: Two Italian immigrants in New Jersey the 1950's see that Italian restaurants are popular but serve inauthentic Americanized food, so they try to open an authentic Italian restaurant. The customers are bewildered by dishes like risotto, demand meatballs with their spaghetti, and generally don't get it. The restaurant fails.

  • Anansi Boys: The protagonist's mother (who is British) goes on a tour of the world; when she gets to China, she writes back to him that the food there is terrible, and she can't wait to get back to England where she can eat proper Chinese food.
  • Discworld has several examples:
    • Interesting Times: The wizzard Rincewind, who is ignorant of "Agatean" (pseudo-Chinese/Japanese) realities and cultural norms, goes into a tavern and blithely orders Number five, Number nine, and Number sixty-three as if he were ordering from a takeaway menu at home in Ankh-Morpork. He meets puzzlement from his server, and tries to elaborate:
      You know, your famous Dish of Soft White Lumps. The Dish of Glistening Crunchy Orange Stuff? The dish of Glistening Brown Stuff?
      Never heard of any of them, friend. We've got pig's trotter soup. That's all.
    Later, Rincewind is educated by a realist, who tells him that the only reason the peasants eat the pigs' trotters is that somebody else is porking the rest of the pig.
    • Jingo: Pratchett's cynical policeman, Sam Vimes, reflects that the meaning of the "Klatchian" (pseudo-Indian/Middle-Eastern) word vindaloo is mouth-searing inedible gristle for macho foreign idiots.
  • The Joy Luck Club: The protagonist's Chinese immigrant mother sniffs that only "Americans" (i.e., non-Asians) eat at restaurants that label themselves as "Chinese food" rather than a specific region or cuisine.

Real Life
  • Go to a restaurant in Islamabad or Bombay or Delhi and ask for a balti or a chicken tikka massala an you will be met by incomprehension and blank stares. These curry dishes originated in Britain and evolved there to fit the needs and desires of British people.
  • Chop suey takes its name from a real Chinese dish, but the current recipe is completely unrelated and was developed in America around the turn of the century. Similarly, General Gao's Chicken is a heavily modified version of a Chinese chicken dish (the original is stir-fried, not batter fried, salty rather than sweet-and-sour, and does not involve broccoli).
  • Fortune cookies are actually Japanese, modified into their current form in California around World War 2.
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