Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where are the foreigners?!

189 Responses

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  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I also rate Mekong Neua

    and they import Beer Lao too

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Sacha,

    and they import Beer Lao too

    Next time, Sacha, I'll bring through a couple of bottles of the wonderful dark variety. Promise.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    We talk of Asians and Europeans in New Zealand

    I dislike the term Asian (not least because it's misused to mean only East Asian) and prefer to find out where people are from and call them Chinese, Korean, Thai or whatever.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    They do dark? Legend!

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    It's not just people from east Asia who refer to foreigners as "aliens". Our lovely neighbours on the northeastern side of the Pacific do the same. Charming.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I dislike the term Asian (not least because it's misused to mean only East Asian)

    Or even more narrowly: East Asian of Chinese descent.

    And mostly I agree with you, however I'm happy to say that even when it is so mis-used thus, the majority of people I spend time with do not do so in a derogatory way (I'm ashamed to say that's not always true of the nation as a mass).

    That said, I really sympathise with organisations like the very worthy and hard working Asia New Zealand Foundation who have to continually battle against what is really just geographic laziness.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to TracyMac,

    It’s not just people from east Asia who refer to foreigners as “aliens”. Our lovely neighbours on the northeastern side of the Pacific do the same. Charming.

    I even have an "alien number", to go along with all my other UIDs. It has nine digits - I guess they are planning for the volumes that will eventuate if aliens from other planets start wanting to get in on the non-stop party that is interacting with USCIS.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Amy Gale,

    I even have an "alien number", to go along with all my other UIDs. It has nine digits - I guess they are planning for the volumes that will eventuate if aliens from other planets start wanting to get in on the non-stop party that is interacting with USCIS.

    My status as a "non-resident alien" does entertain me, in that it makes it sound like my association with the US entails the occasional drop-by visit in my flying saucer, but the attendant paperwork does not.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • James Millar, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Or even more narrowly: East Asian of Chinese descent.

    I found it an interesting anomaly that in the UK (well, amongst Londoners I met at least) 'Asian' tends to mean South Asian (Indian, Pakistani etc), while 'Oriental' means the same as what 'Asian' means to many kiwis - namely, East Asian of Chinese descent.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to James Millar,

    I found it an interesting anomaly that in the UK (well, amongst Londoners I met at least) 'Asian' tends to mean South Asian (Indian, Pakistani etc)

    Yes, true....

    while 'Oriental' means the same as what 'Asian' means to many kiwis - namely, East Asian of Chinese descent.

    ...but I don't think I've ever heard 'oriental' used - too awkward a mouthful. I can't actually think what would be used.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I also rate Mekong Neua

    Some nights yes I agree. But other nights I've had bland cardboard pretending to be food. To me that says they have one very good chef and when he/she has a night off the customers suffer.

    As for Little India I can't agree. You must have got lucky because the only food I've had from there has been barely up to supermarket standard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You must have got lucky

    I have - dozens of times. I know I'm not alone in rating it highly but each to their own :)

    Mostly I find mid level and higher Indian food (and other Asian cuisines) to be watered down in New Zealand to suit our less adventurous palettes (I'm thinking of the over-rated Satya amongst others) but, to me at least, LI doesn't do that hence the large numbers of Indian families you always see in there. I'm always reminded, too, of my regular trips to Brick Lane when living in London. It was something I long missed when returning to Auckland.

    But other nights I've had bland cardboard pretending to be food.

    I think it may be what you order there. Their strength seems to be Thai salads (rather than the endless variations on Green Curries and Pad Thai that seem to dominate Thai menus in NZ).

    And both restaurants seem to understand the meaning of heat in food, and the way to apply it, which I miss most elsewhere.

    But, I agree, I've had a couple of pretty average visits to the place.

    As Sacha says too, they are the importers of Beer Lao, so they get bonus points for that.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich Lock,

    …but I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘oriental’ used – too awkward a mouthful. I can’t actually think what would be used.

    Mostly just "Chinese", from memory.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Monotone dining?

    ...our less adventurous palettes

    You paint a grim picture...
    Perhaps with some plate pilates
    we might stretch our palates
    to embrace the Asian spectra...
    ;-0
    yrs
    Yum Guy

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mostly just “Chinese”, from memory.

    Yes, that was my memory. But I was kinda hoping I was wrong.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Ok I'll give LI another try.

    As you say Mekong Neua does understand chili which is a big plus. I do suspect you are right that some things on their menu they don't do as well as others.

    Which raises the question, if you know that you don't cook a good dish then why would you put it on your menu? It would be like inviting friends over and serving them something you know you can't cook well. Especially if you know you can cook something else very well.

    It's the same problem I have with the chinese restaurants in Balmoral, they each (apparently) can cook one thing well but their menu contains every possible dish so unless you know exactly what to order your chances of getting the one good thing are miniscule.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Oh and just to balance my criticisms I recommend Crave in Morningside for good coffee and really good scones etc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    And both restaurants seem to understand the meaning of heat in food, and the way to apply it, which I miss most elsewhere.

    It's easily misunderstood, because there are no convenient measurement systems. There are metrics for it, the Scoville scale for chili. But high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) isn't easily done in a kitchen. It would be handy if various ingredients had this scale per gram on their packaging, then reasonably accurate measures could be made.

    The most obvious solution, something that many smaller shops around Auckland are doing on an increasing basis, is supplying the table with a selection of seasonings. Pepper, salt, sugar, chili oil and powder. And the mystery sauce, whose contents can only be divined by being able to read Chinese, or Korean, or whatever kind of restaurant you are in, or just hardening up and tasting it.

    Then you serve the food slightly on the bland side, for the convenience of those who prefer it that way, and yet those who prefer heat can simply add it.

    It makes so much sense that it's advisable for people cooking at home too. Some people just don't like salt, for instance, and it's easy to add after the fact, but impossible to take away.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    if you know that you don't cook a good dish then why would you put it on your menu?

    Because the locals insist on it. See also: butter chicken.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Oriental seems to be a word that is bucking the trend of word inflation, and becoming more and more specific. In things written in the early 20th Century it seems to pretty much mean "from the continent of Asia", even so far as Asia Minor, ie the Middle East.

    Occidental is another dying word, "European" getting more traction. I think this is happening because Eastern and Western are concepts that are getting very dated, betraying a eurocentricity that makes little sense in a spherical world with massive intermingling of populations.

    I'm not much of a fan of being called European, though. "White" is closer to what people usually actually mean. Pakeha will do in NZ. Skippy, in Australia. Anglo, maybe, except that I'm ethnically Irish on the whole, so actually Celtic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Sacha,

    If you want really, really bad butter chicken, go to the set of shops at Airport Oaks. I think they add honey to it, and it is vile and as far from proper Indian food as you can get.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Mostly I find mid level and higher Indian food (and other Asian cuisines) to be watered down in New Zealand to suit our less adventurous palettes (I’m thinking of the over-rated Satya amongst others) but, to me at least, LI doesn’t do that hence the large numbers of Indian families you always see in there. I’m always reminded, too, of my regular trips to Brick Lane when living in London. It was something I long missed when returning to Auckland.

    I wouldn't say Little India was the best of its breed in Auckland -- but, then, I'm not sure what is. Its dishes are certainly a notch up from most places for heat, and it does venture a bit beyond the standard tandoori menu.

    I did notice that LI in Christchurch -- where there are fewer options -- was feeding a large number of Indian families the time I ate there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wonder if Oh Calcutta! in Parnell is still the go?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Amy Gale,

    I even have an “alien number”, to go along with all my other UIDs.

    Does that mean I am _actually_ performing one of the aforementioned alien weddings?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I even have an “alien number”, to go along with all my other UIDs.

    Does that mean I am _actually_ performing one of the aforementioned alien weddings?

    Not a rushed wedding because the terrestrial IUDs didn't work?

    Ooops UID!=IUD.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

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