Social Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

If Americans call Asian food, Chinese food, then what do Asians call American food?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (18623points) 1 month ago

Just wondering.

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23 Answers

janbb's avatar

I don’t know what Asians call American food but I suspect they call it “American food”. However, we don’t call Asian food “Chinese food.” we call it Chinese food if its from China in origin, or Japanese food or Korean food or Indonesian food, etc. There are vast differences.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@janbb Ok then. It might just be a local custom to call all Asian food Chinese food.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t call all Asian food Chinese food. I call Chinese food Chinese food. I also eat Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese, and might say I feel like Asian tonight to infer one of the east Asian countries, and let the person I am with choose which east Asian cuisine.

I also like food from other parts of Asia like Indian, Israeli, Iranian, Lebanese, and those I also would usually call by country, although instead of saying Israeli, Iranian, or Lebanese I would more likely just say Middle Eastern.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think @JLeslie summed it up very well. I (and the people I know) follow the same conventions. Though I’m not familiar with “Israeli food” as a separate cuisine. Would matzo ball soup fall into that category? or is that more of European tradition?

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Ditto @JLeslie. She said it all.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Here we call it “Western food”. Most people don’t make a distinction between America and other European countries because we aren’t that knowledgeable about which food belongs to which country.

And Asian food is actually a valid name to describe anything that isn’t from my country.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Interesting take there, @Mimishu1995

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws No, not Matzo Ball Soup. I think of that soup as being in a NY deli, or Kosher deli, Kosher style deli, or Jewish restaurant, but not really an Israeli restaurant, but an Israeli restaurant might offer it.

Israeli restaurants I think mostly of Mediterranean food, similar to Middle Eastern food (since Israel is in the Middle East I guess that is a given). The “dairy” restaurant would have fish dishes, vegetarian dishes, and often pizza too. Falafel, humus, eggplant, salads, couscous, pita bread, etc. The “meat” restaurants would have beef and chicken dishes, even shwarma, shish kebab, kibeh, and the vegan dishes. Of course, they might add in some European dishes that Americans associate with Jewish food and Americanize the food in general depending on the restaurant.

raum's avatar

It may vary by region and also by generation.

@Mimishu1995 says they call everything “western food” in Vietnam. But most Vietnamese-Americans seem to call it “đồ ăn Mỹ“ or just “đồ Mỹ”. Which means “American food”. Some of the older folks call it “đồ ăn tây” or “đồ tây” meaning “western food”.

I think exposure will increase your level of differentiation.

JLeslie's avatar

Western food makes sense. American food is western food except for maybe some southern foods like BBQ (not to be confused with grilling food).

@Mimishu1995 Off topic, but what about Mexican food, do you have that where you live, and would you call it Mexican or lump it in with Latin America maybe? Or, you consider that western also? I ate really good Mexican food in Tokyo of all places.

Brian1946's avatar


What Western food do you like?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie Mexico isn’t considered a country in Vietnam. Same with Latin America ~

Jokes aside, Mexican food isn’t popular here. The only Mexican food everyone knows is Taco, and even then it’s just regarded as some kind of quirky sandwich. Some stores don’t even call it Taco, just sandwich. So you can imagine the word “Mexican food” is virtually non-existent.

Oh, and you are either an American or a Cuban in Vietnam. There’s no other nationality ~

@Brian1946 I have a taste for Western food. It’s hard to pick out the best :D I also notice that my taste gears a lot toward European food, things like pasta or fondue.

American food is actually not that popular in Vietnam. The only American dishes people know are hamburger, pizza though it’s not technically American and KFC chicken. I know there’s more to American food than that, so if you have any recommendation for some delicious lesser-known American dishes please let me know :)

filmfann's avatar

People around me understand the huge differences between Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Pho, Korean and Filipino cuisine. We would never be so blunt and careless to mischaracterize it.

raum's avatar

Phở is a dish. Iconic, for sure.
Though definitely more to Vietnamese cuisine. :)

Patty_Melt's avatar

They call it, “YUM! This will make me fat!”

Brian1946's avatar


I once accidentally bought a breaded tentacle ring in Spain. ;-o
Have you ever had one?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I worked in a Japanese office. When we were going out for lunch, they would say ‘washoku’ to mean Japanese food and ‘youshoku’ to mean Western food. That was the choice. “Washoku Youshoku ka?” Once out the door and heading to the street the choice would be further narrowed down as we walked.
It was a fun process to watch. I tried to never contribute to the discussion. When asked, I’d say I was an omnivore and everything is good.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Fried chicken would be another I consider American, that makes sense. Pizza I would call Italian, but Americans do eat a lot of it.
Probably better your country doesn’t adopt eating a lot of western food, it’s mostly not good for our health.

Taco has almost become American like pizza. I think a lot of people here have no idea what authentic Mexican food is really like, or at least not the variety offered in real Mexican food.

Interesting you use Cuba of all countries in Latin America. Do you actually have Cuban food there (I love it) or is it some sort of political thing because it is communist. Do you have Cubans living in your country?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

…what do Asians call American food? Obesity- and high-blood-pressure-inducing garbage?

raum's avatar

@Love_my_doggie I think the issue with American diet isn’t just the type of food. But the quantity, how often and the manner in which it’s consumed.

On the rare occasions that my parents had KFC, they’d eat like one piece with a bowl of rice. Or shred it and eat in a lettuce wrap :P

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie the thing about Cuba is strictly my personal opinion. I have yet to see any Latin American in my country. Well, maybe there are some in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, but not where I live, and most likely not in smaller places. Cuba is more recognizable because it’s the only Latin American country that has an extensive history with Vietnam. We learn about Cuba in our textbook. The media talks about our relationship. Fidel Castro and Che are the most famous Cuban in Vietnam and their faces can be seen occasionally in decorative. As far as I know though, there was actually a small wave of Mexican/Latin American media being imported to Vietnam in the 80s and 90s. But only a handful of older people know about this, most younger people have no clue about this. So I think that a random Latin American walking in the street wouldn’t be recognizable by a Vietnamese, but people may think of the Fidel/Che pictures and make a connection that was actually what I did a few years ago watching movies. To me Latin Americans just have this distinctive facial feature I can’t miss.

A weird thing is that despite the two countries’ relationship, I know nothing about Cuban food.

We are generally bad as telling Westerners apart though. If you are white and speak English, you are by default either an American or a British :D

@Patty_Melt I haven’t seen any Vietnamese thinking of Pho as something that makes you fat. It’s a hearty meal, but fat is a bit too much :) Though at least in my place, people, especially young people, don’t talk much about Pho anymore. There are other cheaper/more delicious dishes out there.

@Brian1946 I have eaten my fair share of octopus recently, and octopus is my new favorite food. I won’t turn down an offer to try that :D

JLeslie's avatar

^^So interesting. Thank you for taking the time to write that all out.

Strauss's avatar

—Similar to how it’s called “the Vietnam War” in the US; it’s called “the American War” in Vietnam.

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