80% of Chinese cuisine ‘fake’: expert

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By MAN MANCHI
Culinary Correspondent

SICHUAN (China Daily Show) – If the world’s first gastro-etymologist is to be believed, the majority of China’s beloved culinary creations may well be the 5,000-year-old culture’s oldest surviving knock-offs.

Shanzhai Nation: How China Fed and Misled the World  chronicles one professor’s foray into the “deepest and darkest corners of conspiracy and corruption, dating all the back to the Yellow Emperor himself,” according to a lukewarm review in the New York Times.

Written and researched by Phillip Nam Ngyuen, a French-born Vietnamese professor of gastronomy, the book was inspired by the rhetorical title of a 2008 TED Talk, “Who is General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken?”

“That got me thinking,” said Nguyen in an interview with China Daily Show. “Who is General Tso? And why are we eating his goddamn chicken? I couldn’t ignore those hard-hitting questions.”

Nguyen’s book begins with China’s well-known historical lack of innovation and creativity, and moves on to expose dish after dish as culinary copycats, each chapter garnished with impressive sources, dates and statistics. From hot pot to hundun, and dumplings to dim sum, no Chinese “creation” is free from Nguyen’s investigative eye.

According to Nguyen, sea cucumbers were first introduced to the Chinese during a 1967 state dinner with Klingons

“Everyone knows hot pot comes from 12th-century Mongolia,” said Ngyuen, “but most would be surprised to learn that Kungpao chicken, or in its butchered Chinese form, gongbao jiding, is a ripped-off version of Chicken Gumbo, the beloved Cajun dish first masterminded by Bantu-speaking African slaves in Louisiana in 1802, and subsequently copied by a ‘visiting Chinaman of Kwei-chow origin named T’ing P’ow-jun,’ according to police records published in The Picayune in 1842.”

“Roast dog?” Nguyen continued, “Korean. Chuan’r? Persian. Baozi? Hell, baozi was invented  by the Germans. Ever heard of the hamburger?”

And General Tso’s Chicken?

“That was created by the Oxford-educated Tibetan military scholar, General George Tsozarayim,” said Nguyen. “And we all know that Tibet is—oh, to hell with it. Let’s just pretend that General Tso’s chicken is ‘Chinese.’”

Nguyen’s book is currently banned on the mainland, while state agencies remain mum on the veracity of his findings or the implications of widespread historical fraud.

“Five thousand years of history and you can only come up with four inventions?” said Nguyen. “I think I may have just found the topic of my next book.”

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  • Jonathanseagull

    This is not so much humorous as it is just offensively racist. Not to mention ill-informed:  China’s “lack of invention?” How about…

    paper, gunpowder (and later cannonball, rockets, fireworks etc), crossbow, flamethrower, Go/dominoes/mahjong/playing carfds, the moveable type printing press,the compass, kite, umbrellas/parasols, toothbrush, seed drill, horse harness, wheelbarrow, pinhole photography ink, paper money (banknotes), toilet roll, silk,  menus,chopsticks (and forks), tofu, decimal system, bureaucracy and the civil service exam, advanced metalurgy (the blast furnace), pig iron (and use of natural gas as a fuel) the crank handle, fishing reel, the bell, noodle (arguably), calligraphy not to mention their vast medicinal tradition, music, literature, not to mention groundbreaking advances in mathematics, naval systems and hydraulics. Oh and baiju. Guess you can’t win ’em all.

    • Anonymous

      not to sound like a hater, but Edison has a much longer list of inventions and he didn’t live nearly 4,000 years… and without a thousand years head start.

    • Anonymous

      jon: it is meant to be offensive.  that’s why it’s funny.

    • Strumpet crumpet

       The Chinese invented music and literature, eh?

  • Mysoulinseoul

    China’s lack of innovation and creavity is well-known, it’s true, but even as a Korean, I’d say if there’s one thing they’re original, that’ll be their cuisine (that doesn’t include the pickles, cold ramen noodles or the rice dumplings though, THEY ARE FROM KOREA!)

    • Les Entrees

      i heard china invented koreans. please explain

  • jeepers creepers

    Chinese invented the toothbrush?!? Those mo’fuckers need to think about using those shits before they clamor on to the subway in the mornin’, know what I’m say’n?

    Did the emperor invent halitosis too?

  • 80% of Chinese cuisine “shanzhai”: expert | China Daily Show: http://chinadailyshow.com/80-of-chinese-cuisine-shanzhai-expert/

  • Echo Ye

    I wonder how many Chinese dishes Phillip Nam Ngyuen ate in his life. Do we, Chinese, really only just have that many dishes? 

    my grandfather used to eat sea cucumber. if he is alive, he is 89 now. do the math man!

    if you want academic reference, here is one. sea cucumber was mentioned as an edible medication in a book called ben cao cong xin (new herbal reference) dated 1757. 

    i guess this guy need to do his research better. most of the historical books are not available in foreign language,  if you can’t read Chinese find a translator. 

    • CanadaAW

      There is no such author named Phillip Nam Ngyuen and no book entitled “Shanzhai Nation: How China Fed and Misled the World”. This whole website is FAKE news and the articles are SATIRE.

  • explain please

    I tried to search for this book on new york times book review and amazon by the book title and author name but failed. 

    Please explain.

    • CanadaAW

      It is a FAKE news website. All of the articles are complete SATIRE and, I might add, superbly written. :-)

      There is no author named Phillip Nam Ngyuen and no book entitled “Shanzhai Nation: How China Fed and Misled the World”.

  • Good one. Keep trying to be like The Onion.

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  • CanadaAW

    Ha ha ha… I don’t think many readers understand that this website is total satire, like The Onion! Ha ha ha… keep up the great writing! :-)