General Question

advilicious's avatar

Food experts: I have a question about Chinese restaurants in America.

Asked by advilicious (15 points ) December 14th, 2008

I live in an area that is saturated with many cheap “American” Chinese restaurants. Now I understand that many of these places in the US are far from “authentic” Chinese cuisine and the food contains large amounts of MSG and all that jazz.

I think that all of these restaurants taste the same. My question is: Does anyone know if really cheap restaurants like this order their ingredients from the same bulk distributors? Does anyone know some companies that sell ingredients in bulk and provide things like cheap, low-grade meat and sauces (among other ingredients, perhaps silverware) and to what restaurants they sell to?

I suspect that many of these Chinese restaurants do, but can not get any confirmation on this. I’m also interested in any other restaurants that may do this, fast food, chain, or otherwise.

(Caveat – please no answers about if you also “think” that restaurants do this and/or you agree/disagree with me. I am only interested in hearing actual answers to my question, preferably with sources like websites, books, etc. Just trying to avoid filler right now. Thank you.)

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5 Answers

jessturtle23's avatar

I have noticed that all Chinese buffets look exactly the same. I think it must come frozen already put together and everything. Yuck.

Mtl_zack's avatar

I heard that most fast food chains use the same potatoes but use different oils and temperatures to cook them with.

arnbev959's avatar

All the chinese restaurants in my area have the same chairs. They have tall, rounded backs, and no arms.
And they all have the same brand soy sauce and hot mustard.
And the same plastic soup containers, and the same paper thingys with the metal handle.
And they all have big lit up pictures on the wall of either a building, or the Great Wall.
And they all have similar counters and tiling.
And the same “Have a Nice Day :-)” bags.
And the cooks wear the same hats.

susanc's avatar

Hearsay and conjecture despite request for facts. What are we coming to????

fundevogel's avatar

I worked briefly in a little boba shop/restaurant and from what I saw in the kitchen I don’t think it would matter if the ingredients came from the same place as the other restaurants. Our menu was limited, but for the most part everything was chopped, seasoned and cooked right there. The only thing that you might be able to argue was pre made was the vegetable side which was basically a generic Asian mixed vegetable.

I’d argue the similarity from restaurant to restaurant mostly just comes from the use of the same basic recipes. Unless you’re talking about fast food chains.

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