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What is authentic Chinese dish

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When I first arrived in China one of the things that I was most interested in concerning food was being able to try truly authentic Chinese dishes. After a few months here I became aware of the fact that many dishes change depending on which restaurant you go to. This led to my asking an important question.
当我第一次到中国时我最感兴趣的事务之一是能够尝尝真正的中国菜。几个月后我了解到很多菜的味道是和你去的餐馆有关的。这引导我问了一个很重要的问题。
 

What I've found is that often recipes change from one restaurant to another. There are many reasons for this. One is that often the cooks in each restaurant use family recipes that they were taught at home by their parents. Many restaurants are family owned. Sometimes they use recipes that were taught to them by other cooks. Also, it is common for restaurants to want to create special dishes and to make things their own. A restaurant may change a recipe slightly in order to differentiate themselves from others. Variations of a dish are also created due to regional differences.
当我发现经常是不同的餐馆有不同的食谱。这样做有很多原因,其中一个是在每个餐馆的厨师经常是使用有父母亲自教会的祖传的菜谱。很多餐馆都是祖传的。有时他们使用一些别的厨师交给他们的菜谱。同样,餐馆想要制作出只属于自己的特殊菜肴也是相当普遍的。一个餐厅可能会稍微改变菜谱从而和别的餐馆区分开来。创造出菜肴的变种同样也有地域性差异原因。


This last reason means that if you order Gongbao Ji Ding in Sichuan province you will be served a dish that has chicken, peanuts, carrots and red peppers. If you order this same dish in Guangdong province the dish will likely be served with cucumber instead of carrots.
所以你如果你到了中国四川,点一盘宫保鸡丁,里面就会有鸡肉、花生米、胡萝卜、红辣椒。如果你在中国广东点同样的菜,里面就没有胡萝卜,取而代之的是黄瓜。


Knowing these factors makes the question of authenticity somewhat less relevant because on the one hand none of it is truly authentic and on the other all of it is authentic. If you think about it this means that the Americanized version of Kung Pao Chicken is just as authentic as the original Sichuan variation of the dish or the even more original Shandong version.
其实就算了解了这些,对于“哪个是正宗的宫保鸡丁“这件事也并没有多大帮助,我们可以说两个都不算正宗,但也可以说,两个都是正宗的。所以从这个角度来 说,美国本地化版的宫保鸡丁和四川原版宫保鸡丁乃至早期山东源发版的宫保鸡丁一样,都是正宗的。只是吸收了不同地域的特征。


With these thoughts in mind I have gradually become less concerned with authenticity and more concerned with what I enjoy.

这样分析之后,我就不再执着于寻找正版鸡丁这件事,而开始关注我最喜欢吃哪种。

2016-06-23

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