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Friday, October 14, 2011

Pet Peeve: Ethnic Flavored

I have a good friend who once worked as a translator. She related this anecdote about a client who called her asking if she can translate from "Asian". Which leads me to a pet peeve of mine: the generic ethnic food descriptor. Take this article, for example, writing that there's an imminent rise in popularity for "latin flavored" cocktails. It's preposterously comfortable in its ignorance and lack of respect for individual cultures. I'm tired of people ascribing nachos and tacos to Spanish cuisine. Or the fact that "Chinese" restaurants in certain parts of the US are expected to carry pad thai and sushi. And what the heck is so Chinese about "Chinese Chicken Salad"?

And the biggest annoyance of all? The ubiquitous "oriental flavored" items.

Or maybe a backlash is coming for the "Nordic flavored", "Muslim flavored", "Eskimo flavored", or "Canadian flavored" products.


  1. Not baiting, just a genuine question for you. What do you recommend for a descriptor of food/beverages that take their flavor cues from sort of generally ethnic (from a particular region/subregion) ingredients, without a specific focus on an isolatable cuisine?

  2. Mmm... Canadian Flavoured. Does that mean they added Cheese Curds (Poutine) or just that it is served cold?

  3. @nhallfreelance - I have no idea what you are referring to.