Here are some ways to tell if a Chinese restaurant is authentic or not.

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35 thoughts on “10 Ways to Spot a Fake Chinese Restaurant”

  1. In Mexico City in the 80s, we used to eat at a very nice Chinese restaurant that served Mexicanized food. It was delicious, but definitely different!

  2. Even the top Chinese places here in DK often have a buffet to stay alive… It's in the ala' carte menu you can spot the difference.

    Those dishes must be big and meant for sharing like traditional Chinese dining habits encourage.

  3. Everyone, look up 'fake Chinese food'….you'll be shocked!
    Don't eat ANYTHING produced in China… including their vitamins.

  4. Some people prefer the "fake" Chinese food to real Chinese food, just like some people prefer Americanized Italian food to real Italian food. As long as the ingredients are of decent quality and it's cooked properly, who cares!

  5. I've always done that with Yelp. If I'm looking for good Chinese restaurants, I look to see if the reviewer is ethnic Chinese. Works the same for every ethnic food except Italian. Best Italian food is Italian-American.

  6. OK I’m here searching for why does the beef in my beef and broccoli at the Chinese Restaurant have gummy beef in it it doesn’t have the texture of normal beef it’s more gummy

  7. Well I’d argue that a soup spoon and teacup on a plate can be signs of an authentic Japanese restaurant, as I am aware of the Japanese equivalents.

    I bet there’s some websites that detail them but idk which one to trust…

  8. Crab ragoons are good. Westernized is always good. I wouldn't mind authentic though….I am open but tradition or authentic is an emotional attachment…..taste should always come FIRST.

  9. westernized Chinese food is engineered for the western taste palette, so if you grew up with western food, you're probably gonna prefer the Tso's Chicken and crab rangoons.

  10. Many of the Chinese food in America that does not exist in China do exist in the Philippines (beef brocoli, chopsuey, egg rolls, Chowmien noodles cooked in American style, orange chicken….etc.)

  11. Over where I live (Southwest Virginia) Chinese retaurants basically just sell whatever is cheapest and won't kill the customers (you need them coming back don't you?). We had like 2 nice ones (one in Roanoke), but rest are just serving what Americans think Chinese people eat … like sushi, and frog legs. Yea… people here think those two things are Chinese dishes.

  12. Why do we need to tell if its authentic or not if its good then eat if not just dont go there and try another . dog ass mike .

  13. I think there are sort of four levels of Chinese restaurants in the U.S. and probably the West in general, at least in countries with solid immigration numbers from East Asia (definitely Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, but also France, Russia, and the U.K. for sure and places like Argentina and Peru, and possibly a few spots in Africa over the past two decades).

    The best ones are nicer ones that specialize in table service with one (or maybe a couple, but not all) regional Chinese cuisines, or that specialize in vegetarian food (sometimes describing themselves as "Buddhist" in the West). The food sticks closely to what you'd find in those Chinese regions, or in vegetarian restaurants in major Chinese cities, with the only variations being if they're in some part of the U.S. where they just can't source some specific ingredients (although this is less of a problem these days than it was 40-50 years ago). These will have a customer base of a lot of Chinese diners, their Western friends, and a few adventurous Western "foodies," can be more expensive than most people think Chinese food will be, and are usually owned and run by Chinese owners who are pretty well-to-do. The menus will be primarily in Chinese and may or may not have English translations on the main menu but will usually at least have an English menu available for the asking. Similarly, they will only have knives, forks, and spoons by asking. The service staff will be fluent in Chinese and their English may be broken or sometimes only part of the staff will speak English. The restaurants themselves are almost always located either in official Chinatowns, or in suburbs that have very large Chinese populations like San Gabriel near Los Angeles, or Flushing, Queens even before it actually started to be considered an actual Chinatown.

    Next are solid ones that have a dining area and maybe a mix of table service and counter service, but also a lot of take-out. They serve a broader collection of Chinese dishes, with semi-random selection of popular dishes from around China. These are usually located in or near areas with a high Chinese population, maybe near a Chinatown, or near major universities with a lot of Chinese students. These are often owned by more recent immigrants who use the business as the basis of their visas. In addition to their broad collection of Chinese dishes, they'll have some Americanized dishes just to increase their customer base, but often the Americanized dishes won't be very good interpretations of them because they try to make them more Chinese, which may remove some of what makes them popular with Westerners, while still not being pleasing to Chinese palates, meaning you should stick to the authentic dishes here. Customers will mostly be Chinese but will also have a fair number of Western customers who live in the neighborhood. The menu will usually be in both Chinese and English in equal sized print, some with Chinese first, some with English first. They'll default to chopsticks for Asian customers, but may bring Western customers forks. Staff will mostly speak Chinese but most will also speak decent English.

    The third kind are counter-service and take-out places that target a Western audience but actually do have some decent Chinese dishes, and that run their kitchens similar to how counter-service restaurants in Chinese cities are run. These are often owned by second-generation Chinese who maybe worked in their Chinese parents restaurants and decided to apply Western business practices to restaurants of their own. I think this is where Panda Express fits – sure, you can get some Westernized/Americanized dishes there, including crab rangoon, and their famous orange chicken (which actually has a more complex history than people may realize – it's an Americanized dish, but was actually invented in China for American GIs during WWII, so it's Americanized Chinese food, but still technically from China). These places are popular with Westerners, but you'll also see a fair number of Chinese customers – especially Chinese students – who tend to order the more authentic dishes on the menu, but can go with their American friends without having to explain the whole menu to them. The staff will all speak English, some will speak Chinesee, and a few may speak other locally common languages like Spanish. These restaurants will usually be found in places that modern business practices would say have good traffic numbers, either a lot of foot traffic in urban locations, or in large shopping centers in suburban areas. They won't usually be in small towns because these places exist to make money, and there just isn't enough money to be made in small towns.

    The least Chinese "Chinese" restaurants serve entirely Westernized/Americanized food. The owners will usually be either Americans/Westerners OR they may be non-Chinese immigrants, especially maybe Korean, Malayan, or Filipino. If they have any authentic Chinese dishes, it is most likely by accident. In addition to the Westernized "Chinese" dishes, there may be completely Western dishes (I've even seen hamburgers and hot dogs at places like this), and if the owners are non-Chinese immigrants, there may be other Asian, non-Chinese dishes that may actually be more authentic to that cuisine than their "Chinese" dishes are to Chinese food. Their customers will be almost entirely Western/American, and probably 80% of their sales are for delivery or take-out. These are usually found in small towns far from big cities, or in homogeneously non-Asian, working-class neighborhoods in larger cities.

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