You assume people know what Chinese food is but they don’t, They know orange chicken. … With the sandwiches, and the dumplings, it’s Chinese flavors, but we change the presentation so people understand it.
I can see saying something like that in some places, but in LA?
That. This happens a lot with people who have migrated from cities with designated Chinatown neighborhoods.
Your descriptions remind me of an otherwise intelligent person from the NYC area. He assumed that LA’s Chinatown represented the epitome of the LA area’s Chinese cuisines. He pretty much criticized,“WTF? NYC has so much better Chinese food than LA.”
“Have you ever heard of the San Gabriel Valley.”
“This valley is about 10 minutes east of Chinatown. It’s an area that would swallow NYC in square miles, is predominantly Asian, and mostly of Chinese Asians. Drive down a major street like Valley Blvd, and I defy you to be able to read half the signage. I think if you haven’t tried the food in this area, you have no idea of the depth and breadth of what the LA area has to offer.”
In LA, everyone who read Jonathan Gold’s reviews was aware of the differences between real Chinese food and the more common pandering-to-American-palates version, even if they seldom or never went to the trouble of seeking out the real thing themselves.
i found it curious that someone that wants to educate others about chinese food talked only about flavors and nothing about textures. the curiosity morphed into skepticism based on the description of the menu in the article.
having said that, the take on the target demographic’s understanding of chinese isn’t necessarily all that off.
True, but then there are all the people who didn’t read Jonathan Gold’s reviews, or worse, those who would go “ugh, Chinese food” and ignore it because they don’t like “Chinese food.”
There’s always a perception in any city that they are better informed: “Oh, we’re not like that, we’re more sophisticated.” But the truth is New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, you name it, while there are more folks more aware, the average person in any of those places still probably views Chinese food as the Americanized stuff. Not only the average person, but the vast majority.
Same here – As a native Angelo, I enjoyed Frontera Grill several times when in Chicago and was disappointed with Bayless’s off hand comments about Mexican food in LA, which as I recall he later walked back a bit by noting he had not been here in several years. Still though, as others have noted, you have to know the market. Don’t offer something at a premium price that your target market can get elsewhere at a better price, at least without adding something to make your spot standout. (RIP Pok Pok, I think is the best example of that.)