Dining snobbery

Cuisine of Mongolia

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Him: “Vietnamese? But…but  all the times we’ve gone out to eat recently have been Asian!”

Me: “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

We can go to a steakhouse. We can go to a pub (but we can easily make that stuff ourselves, or buy takeaway versions for much cheaper). Or we can go to a proper fine-dining restaurant, except that’s way out of our price range. We can do Chinese/Thai/Indian/Vietnamese etc for $20-30 for the two of us; that wouldn’t even get you one meal at a European restaurant. (Or as we, the ever PC interracial couple like to refer to it, “white-people food”.) Also, I’d rather eat ethnic than Euro on any given day, no contest. But I understand not everyone feels the same.

Well Heeled once blogged about the ‘restaurant hierarchy‘ and how ‘ethnic’ cuisines are generally placed at lower price points. The same rings true here; Spanish, Mediterranean, French, or haute cuisine – I’ve never eaten out at such places, and probably won’t be doing so anytime soon. While there are certainly pricier Chinese establishments, for example, they aren’t afforded the same prestige as, say, SPQR.

(Oh, and we ended up going to Hansan Vietnamese anyway. And we both loved the food. The $10 meals were just the seasoning over the soup.)

What’s your favourite/go-to cuisine when eating out? Do you get much choice in the area where you live?

19 thoughts on “Dining snobbery

  • Reply Jane November 18, 2010 at 12:52

    There are about a zillion Tex-Mex restaurants here. Most are pretty inexpensive, but there are a couple that are pretty pricey.

  • Reply Sunflowers November 18, 2010 at 13:03

    I LOVE food! And posts about food. 😀

    Favorites would be Mexican, Indian, or Japanese… We have tons of choices in a 5 miles radius, nearly every food you can think of. Except German. We need a good German place in the area… I need my spaetzle. 🙂

    Mexican is probably the cheapest cuisine nearby. (Not counting fast food restaurants, which we’ve quit cold turkey in the past year.) Japanese a close second. Greek third. We live very close to a “mini” Little Tokyo, so there are some good deals on Japanese. But for the best and cheapest Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese, we have to go 15 miles away. But I have two friends who live out there, so I get my fill when I visit them. 🙂

  • Reply Kara November 18, 2010 at 13:26

    Other than picking up $5 pizzas, we usually get Greek when neither of us feels like cooking. We hardly ever go and sit down at a restaurant though. If we do, it’s usually a steakhouse.

  • Reply Money Maus November 18, 2010 at 13:52

    Living in Southern California, we have a TON of little Mexican hole-in-the-wall joints! But my go-to is Thai or Vietnamese, which are also abundant. Like Sunflowers, I also LOVE German food… but the one nearby restaurant is actually rather pricey so I never go there.

    YAY cheap ethnic food! 🙂

  • Reply WellHeeledBlog November 18, 2010 at 15:56

    I actually really love French cuisine, which does NOT bode well for the pocket book. But in terms of ethnic food, I love love love tacos (especially carnitas), Japanese ramen noodles, and authentic Chinese food.

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 18, 2010 at 16:01

    I refuse to order in pizza because it’s easier and TASTIER to make at home. We will occasionally go to fancy restaurants (we just did on Sunday for Eric’s birthday) but most of the time when we eat out I prefer it to be something we can’t easily make at home, so japanese or chinese food it is! I LOVE sushi so have that two or three times a month usually 🙂

  • Reply The Everyday Minimalist November 19, 2010 at 02:45

    I only like the low priced, ethnic places. Everything else like burgers or steaks, I can do that myself at home if I really wanted.

    Japanese on the other hand is ethnic but NOT CHEAP. Not the good stuff anyway, and unfortunately that is my ultimate favourite cuisine of all time.

  • Reply The Asian Pear November 19, 2010 at 03:17

    Most Asian food here is pretty cheap too except for Japanese. I can also vouch for the cheapness of Mexican and Greek food. Also middle eastern foods like kabobs and falafel sandwiches and whatnot.

    Most european/western food is on the more expensive side. I have no idea why. I understand if it’s steak but honestly… Sandwiches that cost $11?

  • Reply Emily Jane November 19, 2010 at 04:14

    Our defaults are usually Thai, sushi, or Indian – one of the good things about this city (and there aren’t an awful lot!) is the range of food variety 🙂

  • Reply Red November 19, 2010 at 04:18

    Usually pizza. It’s cheap and delicious. Our default used to be PF Chang’s, but once I snapped out of it and realized how ridiculous expensive it is, we’ve moved it to the “special occasion” list. There’s not a ton of variety in Knoxville, Tenn., but it’s not bad either. Plus, you know, we don’t need to be eating out that much anyway! 🙂

  • Reply gem November 19, 2010 at 06:26

    Well, we have everything imaginable. I guess I have a few go-to things. I love sushi and will get it with anyone who will get it with me, plus I know some well-prices places. We also have a Vietnamese place that I love and is reasonable. (Mm, pho.) Pizza is a quick fix, although there are also a few authentically Italian places that are divine and I’m willing to shell out for sometimes. There’s a BYOB Indian place that’s amazing and cheap. And falafel. Oh the falafel…

    But yeah, you’re right. The cheap places are non-white. And delicious, so I’ll take it.

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  • Reply Sense November 19, 2010 at 22:33

    Thai! Thai! and more Thai! is my go-to. there’s a cheap place around the corner and it’s decent enough for $9.50. It’s not Grasshopper (rare treat), but it’s decent. i tend to not like the pizza here. pizza fresco is ok (yum their texan chicken!) but they don’t deliver to me. once in a while i splurge for italian–fettuccine alfredo is my FAVORITE!–but i haven’t found decent chicken fett alfredo here either. i’d love to try afghani or something exotic… there are zero good mexican restaurants in NZ, which is a problem!!! how is that possible, the ingredients are so yummy, cheap and easy to combine into something gloriously delicious…? ARE there good greek places in AKL? i love their food.

    i had japanese at tanuki’s cave last week, it was different. not enough food for me. and i need food…not on sticks or for chopstick use…because I’m a messy & picky eater to begin with! i like fried rice but the good place i know is a half an hour walk each way. i’m sure there are more good places around me but i’m american and get spooked when seeing whole chickens hanging in the window…

  • Reply unknowntheartist November 19, 2010 at 22:40

    There is plenty of choice in Brisbane and we live inner city so we get the best of all cuisines available to us.
    We have a place called Jackpot, which serves Asian cuisine (my fave dish is the garlic butter chicken strips and I’m drooling on my keyboard!) that we absolutely love going to but it’s only on a rare occasion we go out to eat, now that we’re so busy with work all the time.
    In my frivolous and single younger days, my friends and I would hole up at the casino and eat expensively in casino restaurants.
    Fish and chips can go from $10 to feed the fam at at the local takeaway to $100 to feed a group of clubbing girls.
    And I always prefer takeaway chips in the good ol’ butchers paper 🙂

  • Reply Amanda November 20, 2010 at 08:31

    Haha I’ve never really thought about this issue before, but I can see why though… for some reason, all my white friends love asian food, but i don’t as much (with the exception of japanese food), like yum cha, stir fry, sweet and sour – it gets them so excited. The thing is though, it’s not that hard to cook that stuff at home, but it’d be harder to cook up something like fine dining french cuisine?

  • Reply unknowntheartist November 21, 2010 at 21:27

    I asked MOH what he thought & came to the conclusion/theory, that maybe Asian cookery has it down to a fine art, where they can satisfy the basic and widespread palate in staple ingredients, at a better price for those and also master the techniques better than any other culture.
    My local fish and chip takeaway was run by a Korean couple who made the best battered fish I have ever had and our local Italian cuisine restaurant was bought out by an Asian family who kicked up the quality a helluva lot more and actually knew how to serve customers with a smile.
    European cookery seems to run the gamut of eclectic and expensive ingredients which may explain the increased costs of visits to their establishments.

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