Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some things just don't translate

I assumed that food that is neither American nor Australian would remain unchanged between the two countries. Indian, Chinese and Japanese food should just be the same whether you're in Australia or the US, right? Why should they be different? Considering how different Chinese food in the US is from authentic Chinese food, I guess it makes sense that Australian Chinese food would be different from US Chinese food.

In most things the offerings are the same, but the names can get a bit lost in translation: "chicken tikka masala" is "butter chicken" here. "Dim sum" is called "yum chaw," but they do have "dim sims" which are those dumplings that inevitably have both pork and shrimp in them.

But sushi is just different. They have (cooked) chicken rolls. There are never spicy tuna rolls. It seems that every roll is made with mayonnaise. More stark than those though are the sushi delivery methods. It seems there are two types of sushi restaurants: the stall and the train. The stall offers pre-made rolls that haven't been sliced into pieces, so you just buy the rolls and eat them with your hands (like a hotdog). The train involves many small plates that rotate past your table, you select the items you want, and the plates are different colored to indicate the price. I know that sushi trains exist in the states, but I'd never seen one, and given that I have few other sushi choices these days, I thought I'd comment on what makes for a good sushi train.

Of course the quality and variety of sushi matters, but the hallmark of an excellent sushi train would actually be a moat with boats of sushi floating by. However, there are none of these in Cairns. As a result the next best thing is a real model train (usually US), complete with engine and passenger car. Otherwise it's just a conveyor belt.

And now for more pictures from the Festival Cairns:

Festival Cairns


Mike September 17, 2007 at 9:42 AM  

Nice fireworks pictures from the festival!

Jon September 17, 2007 at 2:35 PM  

Confusingly, I've also encountered a dish labeled "butter chicken" in various Indian restaurants here in San Francisco that most definitely isn't tikka masala, or if it is, it's a real weird version thereof.

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