From all the different types of food you can find in the world, Asian food is gaining more popularity for giving people a taste of the Asian culture! But with all the Asian-American fusion food trending today, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate between Americanized food and authentic Asian food.

It seems like the true authenticity of Asian food has become less popular throughout the years due to its Americanization. I’m talking about the creation of fusion foods to suit the taste buds of the general American population. Such examples of restaurants that serve Americanized food include popular and mainstream food chains like P.F. Chang’s and Panda Express, which according to my Chinese friends, “isn’t what real Chinese food tastes like.” This isn’t to say that the food both chains serve is necessarily bad, because it actually tastes really good (like P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps) but these are examples of places that I would say people go to for “Asian-inspired food.” But what is the difference between the food these chain restaurants serve and “real” Asian food?

My Stance

Growing up in an Asian family, I do have a decent idea of the difference between these types of food. Solely speaking about Chinese food, I have been to both Americanized-Chinese food chains, as well as some authentic Chinese restaurants and even though I taste a difference, both appealed to my taste buds. Some of the restaurants that serve “Asian-inspired” food might use different ingredients or add in more ingredients to authentic Asian dishes in order to better appeal to the general public. 

Protein, Protein, Protein.

For instance, in Americanized Asian cuisine, the source of protein is sometimes limited to chicken and beef because these meats are more popular in the general public. However, authentic Asian cuisine might include a wider variety of protein sources, such as duck, chicken feet, snake, pig blood, and jellyfish, which aren't common in Western dishes per se. For me personally, dishes that include these meats seem a little exotic to me, but I'm still open to trying them one day!

Methods of Cooking

Anyway, going back to the differences between authentic Asian food and Asian-inspired food, the method of cooking may be different. After some observations in food served in both types of restaurants and some research done on my own, I found that Americanized-Chinese restaurants use frying as the main method of cooking food. As opposed to this, other authentic Chinese food utilizes methods such as steaming, boiling, and braising food. In this way, frying is a Western cooking method that is not often used in authentic foods.

There are definitely some differences between Americanized Asian food and true authentic food. Both types of food have their own appeal, and I personally like eating both. Even though there are different methods and ingredients used in each type of food, I truly encourage you to try both. Now, check out some Asian food blogs for more reasons to try Asian cuisine.