Asian Americans Can Taste The Difference

alt text By Clariza Adao, Economic Justice Editor, The Real Chi

The Taste of Chicago consisted of 82 eateries including a multitude of Asian cuisine. Yet, some reflected the “Americanized” version of it. Asian Americans can tell the difference.

“The food isn’t even authentic. They’re trying to cater to everyone to the best of their ability,” says Lynn Cagayat, a former Taste of Chicago attendee.

Egg Roll Etc. is an example of a restaurant that unconventionally represent the Asian community by offering eccentric egg roll flavors. One of their dishes include Mild Buffalo Chicken Eggroll, which was recommended by the Taste of Chicago attendees.

Seoul Taco is an Asian owned restaurant but incorporates Mexican and Korean Culture in their cuisine.

“Seoul Taco’s menu features Mexican cuisine with flavors from Korean barbecue. Korean flavors are really prevalent in the marinades for our proteins and our toppings - kimchi, gochujang. A lot of people are really familiar with Mexican cuisine, so adding these elements to tacos and burritos makes the food really approachable to customers,” says David Choi, the owner and head chef of Seoul Taco.

Asian Cuisine is popular. Many restaurants offer authentic Asian food. While others have added a twist to it.

“We serve Spice Tofu Pudding in our restaurant but not the dessert version of it. So it is exclusive for the Taste of Chicago,” a representative of A Place By Damao explained.

“I would always mix my moms kimchi with cheese and microwave this duo. This became my favorite snack. I would even bring this to school for lunch! So these fries were inspired from my favorite childhood snack,” as Jeff Wang, the owner of Yum Dum Truck, explains the inspiration behind kimchi cheese fries.

Making Asian cuisine in a different perspective can definitely catch people’s attention. Moreover, it can encourage other people to try new dishes. Many consumers enjoy “Americanized” Asian food. It is understandable why cooks do this.

“Like any chef, I gravitated towards dishes that were familiar,” Choi explained.

Some Asian Americans share their insights regarding restaurants serving “Americanized” Asian cuisine to the public.

“[Restaurants] probably [are Americanizing the menu] but I don't go often enough to notice,” vocalized Tyler Salgado, Filipino American.

Despite the unspoken controversy, people should appreciate all forms of Asian cuisine.

The Taste of Chicago took place in Grant Park, 337 E Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601 from July 10th-July15th. Taste of Chicago is free admission.

Asian Restaurant Recommendations:

Egg Roll Etc.

Seafood City Supermarket (Grill City)

Lao Sze Chuan

A Place by Damao

Seoul Taco

Ukai Japananese Restaurant

Yum Dum Truck