A Rat in the Kitchen: On Chinese Food in America

FRED FERRETTI – The New York Times

Copyright The New York Times
An excerpt:
…In recent years, the pages of this and other publications — as well as the airwaves jammed with gastronomic programs — have been filled with discussions purporting to be about Chinese cookery. Too often these discussions have been rife with error. Chinese dishes are misidentified and misunderstood. Food is routinely declared Chinese simply because it is marinated in soy sauce; cookbooks tout misguided concepts like the “flavor principle,” encouraging home chefs to “re-create” Chinese dishes simply by studding them with bottled and packaged products.
After reading and rereading such nonsense, I have resolved this New Year to stop stewing and to begin questioning how and why Chinese food is so horribly misunderstood.
Let’s start at the beginning. Virtually all of today’s so-called Chinese cooking in the United States can best be described as undistinguished, served in restaurants generally indistinguishable one from another…
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