Category Archives: Food

Authentic Chinese Food

Chu the Phat, a vibrant Asian restaurants Southbank and bar set in Brisbane’s up-and-coming Fish Lane dining precinct. Authentic Chinese food is rarely like the North Americanized versions found in Chinese restaurants throughout the West. More than one traveler has hit the streets in Beijing only to be disappointed that General Tso’s chicken is hard to find.

And as you’ve probably already guessed: fortune cookies aren’t a “thing” in China.

China is one huge, diverse place with millennia of culinary history and influences. China didn’t really open up enough until the 1960s and 1970s to share authentic Chinese food with the rest of the world.

Many of the familiar Chinese dishes that originated in California were adaptations by immigrants from the southern province of Guangdong. These dishes represent only a tiny portion of the spectrum that is Chinese cuisine. The “Chinese food” first shared with the world was largely adapted and altered, and pretty well all of it came from one region.

Everyone is familiar with those ubiquitous classics found on every menu in every neighborhood Chinese restaurant in North America. Experienced fans don’t even need to look at a menu. They already know that sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef, fried rice, and other familiar favorites are on offer.

What Is Authentic Chinese Food?

The cuisine that Westerners refer to as “Chinese food” mostly originated in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the 1950s. Jack Kerouac and many of the infamous “Beats” were fans. Chinese food was an inexpensive option for these cash-strapped artists, and the popularity of Eastern philosophy was growing. Visiting Chinatown was a cultural experience in itself.

This fusion food, which later spread around the country and the world, was obviously catered to current tastes and prepared with locally available ingredients. Even the vegetables are often different. The Western versions of broccoli, carrots, and onions rarely turn up in authentic Chinese food.

Authentic Chinese food dishes that were adopted by Western restaurants have some fundamental differences. For chicken, Westerners often prefer white, boneless breast meat. Chinese dishes often utilize the dark meat, connective tissue, organs, and small bones for nutritional value.

American-Chinese food tends to be less spicy than the authentic versions. In the United States, additional soy sauce and sugar are added to dishes that don’t normally call for much of a sweet or salty taste.

Soups and sauces are often made from powder packs sold by big Asian food conglomerates, hence the reason that many Chinese dishes and soups taste consistent in restaurants across the United States.

Where to Find Some Authentic Chinese Food?

If you travel a street or two away from tourist areas in China, finding English on menus in understandably rare.

Don’t buy into the old traveler myth that memorizing or writing down the symbol for chicken is enough. There’s a high likelihood the symbols that follow are for the feet, neck, or internal organs — the pristine-white breast meat preferred in the West is not always the default!

Hostels and hotels in Beijing that cater to travelers may indeed put some of the favorite dishes on the menu, if nothing else, to help with your just-arrived-in-china culture shock. Many familiar offerings — egg rolls, for one — truly are Chinese in origin, but they differ in taste and texture from the versions served in North America.

If Beijing isn’t an option, head directly to the nearest Chinatown, International District, or Asian community and just ask. Many Chinese restaurants have non-English menus with completely different offerings; they are often kept behind the counter for fear some dishes may be regarded as “offensive” or confusing for non-Chinese customers.

China is a big place; authentic cuisine varies widely throughout. Ask if something special can be prepared from the cook’s region. You may need to provide some input for the dish (e.g., choice of meat, rice, noodles, etc).

Note: Many “Chinese” restaurants in the United States are actually owned and staffed by entrepreneurs from Vietnam, Burma/Myanmar, and other places in Asia. Don’t be surprised if your attempt at a greeting in Chinese doesn’t always work out!

Authentic Chinese Cuisine That Is Popular in the West

Although a majority of the Chinese food favorites that we know in the West are not available in China, there are a few authentic dishes that were adopted and then Americanized:

  • Egg Foo Young: The brown, Chinese omelet is a native dish from China.
  • Kung Pao Chicken: Although kung pao chicken is an authentic Sichuan dish, the Western version is usually less spicy than the fiery original.
  • Orange Chicken and Cashew Chicken: Again, don’t expect perfect chunks of white chicken breast in the authentic versions. Also, the American versions are much thicker and sweeter.
  • Moo Shu Pork: Although this pork dish is available in China, it can be hard to find.
  • Lo Mein: Typically one of the cheapest dishes on offer, lo mein noodles can be eaten throughout China and are part of many stir-fried dishes. Lo mein simply means “stirred noodles” — they are typically made from wheat flour.
  • Fried Rice: Many varieties of fried rice are eaten throughout Asia, most often as a way to make safe rice left over from the day before. Even President Obama ate nasi goreng — Indonesia’s simple fried-rice dish — on his 2010 visit to the country.
  • Buddha’s Delight: This healthy vegetarian dish got its name because many Buddhists follow vegetarian diets. It’s traditionally enjoyed on the first day of a lunar new year for health and to give animals a break. Buddha’s delight is often pricey because it can have up to 20 different types of ingredients, including tofu! The dish won’t delight vegans, however: it sometimes contains eggs or fish sauce.
  • Wonton Soup: That ubiquitous salty broth is easy to find in China, although the soup may just contain noodles and balls of meat rather than pork-stuffed wontons. Wonton soup would typically be enjoyed as a meal in itself rather than as an accompaniment.

General Tso’s Chicken

Perhaps the most well-known of all Chinese food offerings, no one is completely sure who came up with General Tso’s Chicken. The leading theory suggests that a Chinese immigrant first created the famous dish while cooking for a restaurant in New York City. The debate is so hot that a documentary film was produced about the origins of General Tso’s chicken.

Even if we’re unsure about who served the first round of General Tso’s chicken, it’s a good example of how so many familiar dishes came about. Chinese immigrants experimented with local ingredients and adapted techniques to suit the tastes of local customers — Westerners.

Ironically enough, General Tso’s Chicken has gone the other way around the world: it’s catching on in more restaurants in Taiwan and mainland China.

Do Chinese People Eat With Chopsticks?

Yes! Although a few tourist restaurants may provide utensils for lost Westerners, you’ll be expected to know how to handle a set of chopsticks in most places.

The chopsticks in China are most often wooden or plastic rather than the metallic ones that are more popular in Korea. Millions of trees are chopped down each year to produce disposable chopsticks, and poisonous chemicals are used in the production. Consider carrying your own pair of chopsticks while traveling. At home, decline those throwaway sticks when offered; get a good reusable set to keep.

If you think you’ll be dining at a banquet or in more formal settings, learn the basics of Chinese table manners, and just in case, how to survive a Chinese drinking session. There are a few cultural faux pas at the dinner table best avoided.

Are Fortune Cookies Authentic?

No! Fortune cookies actually originated in Kyoto, Japan, during the 19th century and were later made famous by Chinese restaurants in California. Fortune cookies won’t be offered as a dessert after an authentic meal in China. You’ll have to pick those lucky lottery numbers another way.

Those crunchy wonton strips included with your meal are also an Americanized creation.

Are Egg Rolls an Authentic Chinese Food?

Yes, however, the deep-fried egg rolls served in American-Chinese restaurants are thicker skinned than authentic Chinese spring rolls. While American-Chinese egg rolls are bulked up with cabbage and pork, Chinese spring rolls are often thinner and contain mushrooms, tofu, and local vegetables.

Is There MSG in Chinese Food?

Usually. Monosodium glutamate is actually a Japanese creation, and Japan is the largest per-capita consumer of MSG in the world, but the Chinese most often get blamed for the use of MSG in food.

The term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was even coined to describe the general unwell feeling after eating at a Chinese buffet. MSG is the subject of many studies and much debate. But no matter if you have a glutamate sensitivity or not, overeating and mixing many different types of foods prepared in heavy oil at Chinese buffets is sure to make you feel unwell. It isn’t the MSG!

Avoiding MSG when eating authentic Chinese food can be difficult. Even restaurants that claim not to use MSG often use it anyway or prepare dishes with ingredients that already contain MSG. But don’t panic! A precursory scan of your pantry may surprise you: MSG turns up in many major Western-branded soups, sauces, salad dressings, lunch meats, processed foods, and snacks that you may already be eating regularly. Many major food brands sneak it into American food.

Because consumers have become more label savvy, food companies often hide MSG under other names such as autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, or soy protein isolate so that consumers don’t catch on.

Don’t expect to feel unwell all the time while traveling in China due to MSG in local food. MSG is a salt, so drinking extra water helps flush it from the body.

Eating Street Food in China

Eating street food from carts and markets is not only a cheap, delicious way to eat, it may be safer than eating in restaurants!

Unlike restaurants where no one knows what lurks in the kitchen, you can see the level of cleanliness around a street cart. Also, unlike in restaurants, you have direct interaction with the cook. They don’t want to make their customers sick!

Competition is fierce between street-food carts; cooks who regularly make customers sick don’t stay in business for long. You’ll often find the most delicious and authentic Chinese food from street carts.

Go From Gross To Gourmet With These Cooking Tips

You will have to develop your skills though. It does not matter why you want to learn to cook, but it’s great to know what you are doing when you do. Here is some tips that will help guide you along the path towards making a delicious meal. the award-winning corporate catering in NYC will provide your business with high quality food and an experience to remember.

If you are using metal skewers, avoid ones with rounded surfaces and try ones with square or beveled designs.

Keep all dried spices in a location that is cool and dark. If they are exposed to light, heat or humidity, or light they may lose their flavor. Ground herbs and spices retain full flavor for 12 months under normal circumstances. Whole spices have a longer shelf-life and can hold their flavor for about three or five years. Storing spices properly can help you achieve a longer shelf-life for your spices.

Slice your meat very thinly on the bias for stir-fry dishes. This can get a very time consuming and somewhat difficult procedure.

Sharp knives are essential in the kitchen. Dull knives can be dangerous and they are also dangerous.

Boiling your vegetables is a cooking process that decreases valuable nutrients in them. To keep them loaded with nutrients that are beneficial to your body, cook them quickly with methods like steaming or sauteing, or enjoy them raw.

Use fresh ingredients whenever possible, as they bring out the flavor in a dish, and can be real money-savers too.

Do you ever have a difficult time figuring out how long you should grill your meats? Use a meat thermometer (a digital one is more accurate) so that you can ensure the inside is cooked properly.

This will allow your fruits to stay fresh for long periods of time. This process also gives you the advantage of having fruits during their off seasons.

Try drying your own dried tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, or slice ripe regular tomatoes into half inch slices for drying.Dried tomatoes could also be stored in a jar containing fresh herbs and topped up with olive oil. Place this in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within two weeks.

You can make stock yourself.You will have stock on hand for soup and other dishes. Creating your own stock can reduce preservatives in the concoction that you to avoid preservatives.

If you are planning a complex meal, try doing prep work the night before so you are less stressed. Get all of the ingredients that you will need, and chop or measure anything you can in advance. You can reduce a lot of recipes to a matter of mixing everything put together and putting heat to it if you to cook.

This adds flavor to the herbs on the board. Do not add any salt as you are cutting the herbs. The salt will stick to the herbs some extra flavor because it sticks to them.

When food is being sauteed, don’t put too much oil in the pan. Make sure you do this at a low temperature.

There are a few ways in which you can use to heating up tortillas. One of the easiest methods is to simply place the tortilla in your oven rack that has been preheated to 350 degrees and reach desired cripness. You can also cook your tortilla via stove top on the grill of a gas stove.These ways of cooking tortillas make them taste better.

Trussing is when you tie your turkey with string for baking. Trussing will cook your bird more evenly when you tie the legs and wings to the body so that cooking is done evenly. If not tied down, then the extremities are more likely to burn.

Fresh herbs and other kinds of natural seasonings can add a kick to the simplest dish. Dried herbs can be used for complex and filled with lots of flavors. Fresh herbs have a better flavor.

There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not all the same.

Set a timer that you can easily carry with the oven timer.

Always take your butter is soft and not melted when you are making cookies. If your butter is melted, you should place the bowl in the freezer for several minutes in order to get it hard, or just put the dough in the refrigerator. Your cookies will spread if you use cooler dough.

Add some spices after your dish is ready.Pepper, cayenne, salt, and salt are excellent spices.Many people like different tastes when it comes to spice.This allows each person to make their meal in accordance with his or her own personal preferences.

Always use spoons and silicone spoons/spatulas if you are designed for the nonstick cookware that you’re cooking with. Metal or wooden utensils could scratch the nonstick coating. This is both unappetizing and could be dangerous.

Fruit is especially well on a grill. You can slice nectarines, melon and bananas. Grill them until grill marks appear. Serve in conjunction with some ice cream or grilled pound cake.

Cooking oil is a wonderful help if you measure sticky foods. Before you measure, add a little cooking oil to the spoon, such as canola, then the sticky substance you are measuring will glide off much easier, which will reduce the waste and will make clean up easier. This is a handy trick for things like peanut butter to jelly.

Those who enjoy cooking fish should try taking DIY to the next level and do some fishing to get their raw ingredients.

You can repair a troubled pie crust! If you have handled your pie dough has been overworked it may crack. Try putting some cold water on cracks and using your finger. If the cracks appear on the top, brush on some cold milk and then sprinkle on some sugar. This creates a nice glaze to the crust once it is baked.

Are you prepared to put our tips into action? These tips can help you to accelerate your cooking skills. Your family will enjoy the delicious home cooked meals that you will be serving. It is the truth that cooking well requires skill. Now that you have learned the information presented, continue building on your cooking skills.

40 start-ups inventing the catering model of the future with Elior Group

As part of its 2020 strategic plan, Elior Group is continuing to break ground and ensure it has the means to pursue innovation. Out of 24,000 start-ups identified worldwide, 130 were pre-selected and 40 retained to work with Elior Group to invent the catering model of the future. Coming from all over the world, the 40 successful start-ups were presented at Group headquarters on March 20, 2017. Some had the opportunity to pitch their project before Elior Group executives and employees motivated to step up the transformation of the Group and catering itself. From team building activities to corporate events and discount tickets, Cedar Point has more ways to make work fun!

In 2015, Elior Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Philippe Salle created the Group’s culinary and technological innovation program, Life4 (Let’s Imagine Future Experiences). In the same year, the in-house innovation competition, Life4 Challenge, was launched, and on March 20, 2017, the Life4 Start-up Program was inaugurated in Paris.

The aim of the Group’s international Life4 Start-up Program is to seek out and promote forward-looking projects which could become innovations that impact catering activities. By providing mentoring support or acquiring a stake in start-ups, Elior Group will enable them to experiment their innovations’ POC[1] in Group restaurants and measure their feasibility on a large scale.

For Cyril Capliez, Elior Group Senior Vice-President of in charge of innovation, strategy and development, “supporting start-ups contributes to the development of an ecosystem that will benefit all players involved. Tradition may well be the DNA of the catering business, but innovation is its future.”

“We must continue to move forward, adapt our offerings to changing needs and digitalize our business to be in line with society and client expectations. For this, we have to reinvent our business and team up with these new players so that we can ensure our transformation. With its Life 4 innovation strategy, Elior Group is equipping itself with all the means it needs to invent the catering model of the future”, declared Philippe Salle, Elior Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

[1] Proof of Concept

The Life4 Start-up Program – To step up the Group’s innovation strategy and invent the catering model of the future

Within the framework of the Life4 Start-up Program, Elior Group brought together 40 start-ups from around the world on March 20, 2017 to take part in its co-construction, collaboration and/or investment program designed to step up the Group’s innovation strategy. Coming from some of the 15 countries where Elior Group is currently present, as well as from Israel, the 40 start-ups were selected on the basis of two themes:

  • The catering model of the future
  • E-health

The activities of these start-ups are all related to the Group’s businesses: catering and all associated activities and services (digitalization of points of sale, enhanced consumer experience, robotization, etc.). The start-ups were selected for the quality and feasibility of their projects and their teams, with the aim to forging partnerships and implementing innovative projects in the Group’s restaurants and points of sale.

“The aim of Elior Group is to promote the innovations of this ecosystem which will help shape the catering model of the future, to forge partnerships and to meet the challenges in the Group’s markets in the healthcare, corporate, education, services and travel and leisure sectors,” stressed Cyril Capliez.

Relationships with start-ups are built up in three stages:

1. Identifying and detecting talent, through a network and a dedicated organization. For example, Elior Group has created a specific in-house monitoring unit to identify promising start-ups: within the framework of the Life4 Start-up Program, 24,000 projects were identified, 130 selected and 40 retained for the March 20, 2017 presentation. Elior Group is also contributing to the co-creation of platforms and/or incubators. In this respect, the Group is partnering Reimagine Food in Spain and the economic development and innovation agency, Paris&Co (which co-founded Smartfood Paris, and, in 2017 became a partner of TechCare Paris), as well as the Hacking de l’Hôtel de ville project in Paris.

2. Providing start-ups with a playing field so that they can try out their innovations in Group restaurants. Elior Group is currently working with the following European start-ups: GoCater (la Belle Assiette), FoodMeUp , Touch and Play , Never Eat Alone , Rose & Mary , Vitalista , Foodles and PopChef . By providing mentoring support or acquiring a stake in these start-ups, Elior Group enables them to try out their innovations in Group restaurants and establishments and measure their feasibility in the real world. Supporting start-ups contributes to the development of an ecosystem that will benefit all players involved.

3. Accompanying start-ups in their worldwide development. The aim of the international Life4 Start-up Program is to seek out and promote forward-looking projects which could become innovations that impact catering businesses.

The Life4 Challenge – Encourage local initiatives in each county/market and boost innovation

Elior Group has also created the Life4 Challenge, an in-house innovation competition aimed at breaking down the silo working approach, as well as bringing together cultures, professions and generations, and pointing them in a common direction. Everything that has been, or will be, invented within the corporate structure can be applied to the company and to other companies.

In 2016, the first Life4 Challenge was won by the Elior UK team for its innovative BOX’D CHEF service dedicated to guests in the corporate catering segment. BOX’D CHEF is a take-out meal kit that enables guests to prepare meals at home in less than 30 minutes. This flexible solution is a cheap and inventive alternative to existing take-out offerings and ensures client and guest loyalty.

400 employees participated in the first year: 145 projects were pre-selected, 42 received professional support, 12 finalists were invited to submit their project to Elior Group management, and one team elected winner. In 2016, the BOX’D CHEF team won one year of support to finance, develop and test its project and to deploy it on site. The Life4 Challenge made it possible to uncover other innovative projects that will fuel the innovation plans for all of the Group’s markets, help strengthen ties between employees and promote international synergies.