Is it Chinese fusion or evolved authentic Chinese food?

Chandavkl’s take on when Chinese fusion becomes authentic Chinese evolution food.

This is a bit self-serving, but here’s another link that also includes the comments :wink: :

If it’s bad, it’s fusion. If it’s good, who cares?


Re: Cheese/Dairy

Umm yeah maybe this applies more to the older crowd or older Mainlanders. HKers have no problems with the consumption of cheese/dairy, Hello Baked Rice Dish and Milk Tea

Respectfully, I get that this comment is at least somewhat facetious but as long as labels like fusion/authentic/inauthentic etc. continue to impact food and those that make it it behooves us to care about it.

As I was circling in my comment on the original article, deeming something to be authentic or not is as much a character judgment as a culinary one. Moreover, often the public perception of whether something can be considered “authentic” or not is a determination made by the eaters of the food, not the makers. While this may be seen in a positive light (eg, a local place embraced by a neighborhood) it can also come out in ugly ways as with Alfaro’s experience hearing her food is “inauthentic” in this article.

I think that @chandavkl’s rumination on fusion vs. authentic food is worthy of exploration although, like him, I don’t yet have fully formed conclusions on the definitions or distinctions of the two circumstances. In fact, as I also somewhat implied in my original comment, I don’t even know if we’re starting from the right premises when thinking about these kinds of terms. Even so, since because I do think labels have an impact whether we want them to or not that makes it even more important to try and determine their definitions, how they’re applied, etc. so we can use such terms appropriately (or abandon them).

Okay, pretentious screed over. For now.


We had sprinkles of this conversation before on fusion/authentic/evolution

Re:Evolution. Almost always some Asian chef who is classically trained and work with this Chef ____ and at this place ____ now wants to make food from their own ethnicity/parents culture, and because they are using more high end expensive organic ingredients with French technique this is now some Evolution? Lol gtfo.

Re:Fusion. Now it’s take some random comfort Asian food and mix it with some random comfort Western food. Even better if it is highly photogenic.

Re:Authentic. Ain’t nobody got the time and patience for that! Except for maybe the Japanese. Or our own Johnny Lee. Or people got some personal inferior problem, “I don’t wanna cook Chinese I wanna cook French”. Bye bye recipe

And just to add good ingredients do not always equal better tasting, you ain’t got the skill like that Uncle who has cooked on a wok longer than you been alive or Po Po making the same noodles and dumplings for decades

A lot of the time, “authentic” is the way the speaker’s family or home town or favorite old-school restaurant makes it, and “inauthentic” is the way anybody else’s does. I prefer to explicitly say that something seems rooted in a particular tradition.

If a new dish extends a tradition, the proof is that narrow-minded devotees of that tradition eat it. But it gets complicated when traditions branch off. I was recommending a good Sichuan place to somebody and he said, oh, it’s really Taiwanese.

I largely agree with these sentiments and also prefer to refer to particular traditions rather than use the infuriatingly vague and loaded “authentic”. I guess I still keep reading articles and thinking about such terms because as long as people throw such labels around it has disproportionate and unintended consequences.

I also take it a little personally (I mean, who doesn’t?) because I feel like Filipino food is particularly plagued within and without the community with a poor understanding/agreement on what constitutes authenticity vs tradition vs assimilation vs evolution, etc.

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Modern Filipino cuisine is largely a fusion of Chinese, Spainish, Mexican, and American cuisines, and there’s no point at which it stopped evolving. Any chef in the Filipino tradition who looks into its history is surely going to be encouraged to try pushing it in new directions.

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Well in the old days on the food board the community was looking for terminology to describe the opposite of Americanized Chinese food. Though certainly not perfect, “authentic” seemed to win out.

how about “ethnic”?

The only thing worse than inauthentic Chinese food is non-ethnic Chinese food.

[quote=“chandavkl, post:10, topic:10786, full:true”]
Well in the old days on the food board the community was looking for terminology to describe the opposite of Americanized Chinese food. Though certainly not perfect, “authentic” seemed to win out.[/quote]
I used “authentic” in some of my early articles, but context is everything (in before I get dragged on Twitter, or before someone spits on my grave after I’m gone). It was used/meant in exactly the manner chandavkl describes, to differentiate it from “Americanized Chinese” food.

you could prepare bacon using koshered meat. it would be authentic from that aspect, but no ethnic (as i define the term ethnic) jew would eat it.

Who’s a non-ethnic Jew? Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew?

since you really don’t want an answer, i’m not going to waste my time trying.

If an adjective you use to describe the food at a restaurant leads you to offering a definition of who is or is not a Jew, you might want to look for another word.

Which might be non-observant or secular?

Holy crap, you guys, the timing on this is spectacular and features @chandavkl:

I’m just curious: @chandavkl, did you intend to publish your post in conjunction with this story?

Thanks, @chandavkl and @JThur01 for giving the history and reasons for the terms used! The explanation totally makes sense and has merit- I hope that further discussions like this also help progress our understanding of language and food.

Wholly coincidental. Most of the video was shot in early September. Fusion article was submitted mid-November. Just turned out that they landed on consecutive days.