Don’t read this article!!! Lest all those misconceptions that you had believed all your life about some Chinese foods were true, really aren’t.
Misconceptions About Chinese Food
Misconception: Egg rolls are a Chinese food
The Egg Roll that we eat in many parts of the western world isn’t really all that much like the most similar Chinese food. The egg rolls Westerner’s know was created by Chinese immigrants to America who were using what they had on hand to make something that would still seem like theirs, but was meant to appeal to Americans. However, the thick hard-shelled egg rolls are nothing like the actual spring rolls that you will find in Hong Kong or elsewhere in China. Spring rolls are much more delicate and light, while western egg rolls are much more like deep fried dough stuffed with lettuce and tiny shrimp.
Misconception: MSG Is bad for you
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has a sordid past. Many Americans look at MSG as anything from a dietary problem to a silent killer. It’s even gone so far as to be labeled “The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome“.
In reality, if MSG poses a problem it doesn’t stem from the flavor enhancer itself, but where you tend to find it. Some people don’t respond to it well. The main thing with MSG is that it’s a marker for highly processed foods.
MSG is commonly demonized as giving people headaches, and it’s possible that some people are more sensitive to MSG for currently unknown reasons; these people can avoid MSG and treat it like some manner of allergen, but this doesn’t mean that it is inherently bad. MSG is often cited as causing obesity, but that is induced in mice with direct injections into the brain and ‘supported’ by binges at Chinese food establishments.
So should you avoid it? Sure, if it bothers you. Small amounts, however, shouldn’t have an impact on most people so don’t let it throw you into a panic.
Misconception: Fortune Cookies are as Chinese as…
Fortune cookies, despite being associated with Chinese cuisine in the United States, were in fact invented and brought to the U.S. by the Japanese. The cookies are extremely rare in China, where they are actually seen as symbols of American cuisine.
Misconception: Chinese food makes you hungry (i.e. you want to eat an hour later)
This is a very old myth, at least several decades old, which comes from the way Chinese food used to be prepared. Years ago, portions were much smaller than other cuisines, low in whole-grain carbohydrates (i.e. white rice), low in fiber (most dishes didn’t have much in the way of vegetables) and relatively low in protein. So, this combination of factors can help speed up the rate of your stomach emptying and cause you to be hungrier sooner.
Nowadays, Chinese food has more vegetables, more lean protein and tofu and you can get brown rice. Plus, the portions have grown to meet consumer demand. Quite a difference! However, eating Chinese food can make you crave Carvel ice cream* for dessert.
*The Chinese Quest is not affiliated with Carvel Ice Cream in any way, shape, or form (though we wish were… we would make GREAT spokespeople… hint hint, ATTENTION Marketing department of Carvel Ice Cream: The Chinese Quest is available for commercial purposes, such as these. Every Jew has their price 😉 ).
Misconception: Everyone in China Eats Dog
For some reason, pretty much everyone in the United States thinks that every Chinese person and his mother eat dog meat on regular occasions. Now, while it’s undoubtedly true that some people in China do eat dog, it’s not nearly on the scale that most Americans would have you believe. In fact, as China has become more and more globally minded, the practice of eating dog is increasingly thought of as being old-fashioned or lower-class. Just two years ago there was even talk about legislation outright banning the sale of dogs or cats for consumption.
So the next time you hear about the Chinese eating dog from one of your fellow compatriots, keep in mind that it’s hardly a national pastime, that millions of Chinese keep dogs as pets, and that your beloved Toto is far more likely to get sent to the wrong airport than end up in a hot pot.
We apologize in advance (or after the fact now, I guess) for shattering any illusions that you held about these Chinese foods. Call us Chinese Food Myth Busters!
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
–Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)