China and M.E. Tops hands down

China and the Middle Kingdom (oops Chinese bias again) East have the most history – the most trade, and the most advanced cooking cultures in the world.

The end.  It’s not even a question. 


Without knowing as in depth about the specific recipes of the ME as China, and, i’m generalizing and grouping as a whole – Israeli, Lebanese, Afghan (which is more pakistani, etc), there’s similar techniques and flavors and spices across these countries – hummus, yogurts, some have chutneys, you have layers and layers of flavors.


And for China, let’s just say China had Sichuan peppercorns dating back to 3000BC in tombs.  That’s a numbing spice, not just a spice for heat/fragrance, but for physical sensation.  5000 YEARS ago.  A lot of cultures have not even had 300 years to develop their recipes and perfect things, they’re just learning how to cook, let alone ingredients and techniques that predate Jesus.

Yes, there’s a lot of BAD chinese food in the US.  Just like Taco bell isn’t Mexican food.  But if you go to Asia, and have Chinese food, you have a TON of technique, way more than any french restaurant – this is not a bias, but reality.

Just look at the menu of Chinese restaurants, they can literally put 200 items on the menu, whereas a western menu would be lucky to have 20 or 30.  That takes skill and mastery and knowledge to be able to execute. There’s literally 20 different pork dishes on a menu cooked in 10 different ways.

IMO, they are complete from top to bottom with their technique and flavors.  that’s also why there’s so much food at the table.

Though I look at food through a different lens than the average person who dines out (more critical), I look at a lot of food and eat it, taste it, experience it and notice the flaws in the food.

Next time you eat, notice the salt levels, the acidity balance, the pepper, the heat, the temperature, the layers of flavor.


The most frustrating thing is to talk about food with people who know nothing about food.  They get wowed in the pizazz vs the actual substance.  E.G. 99% of the and1 mixtape players cannot make it to the NBA.

It’s like adding as much crap to a sushi roll without having amazing fish and rice technique.

And while it’s entertaining, that food doesn’t taste good.  And food by definition is consumed.  It is not by definition art.  It could be art, but we are in an age where we are consumed by what is cool and fashionable and looks good but without substance.

I also notice a lot of restaurants copying each others stupidity

And then you see mid level restaurants naming their dishes “63 degree egg”.

Who the fuck cares that you cooked it at 63 degrees, it’s all fluff.

Do you think Peter Luger’s would say 12.63 minute steak? No, cause it’s fucking dumb.



Substance first with food.




One Comment

  1. Foragingwino

    Erik, I must disagree about the Middle East cuisine. While there might be a lot of history and trade from the Middle Eastern culture, that doesn’t translate into great cooking and cuisine. I say Chinese is much much better. Haven’t these cultures sat on a floor or ground and eat with their hands? They don’t eat pork or have other strange eating prohibitions. I could go on with other examples, but I must respectfully disagree about including the ME as having advanced cooking. Oh, BTW, I call hummus ME bean dip. Why does one need dips of chutney or yogurt? Reminds of all those dipping sauces in Vietnamese food.
    I noticed in your pig butchering video where you use a saw to cut through bone. After having to go through moose hunting tips, I now use a clean set of loppers and they work wonders. It can cut through the spine of a moose. It makes short work of separating ribs from spine, splitting the sternum and taking off the head from spine in deer, pig and antelope. I dislike sawing, I guess, since on deer and pig I have used a knife to separate ribs from spine and through the sternum.

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