Kitchen’s Cultural Difference

Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay

Long time ago, I worked in an Asian restaurant for two months during the summer. The place offered a wide range of Asian dishes from Vietnamese Pho, Pad Thai, Cantonese Dim Sum, to Japanese Sushi. I didn’t understand why the owner didn’t specialize on one regional food, but I didn’t ask. The patrons didn’t care one way or another. So the business was good. I gained 30 pounds while working there. That was no surprise since every day I ate at the restaurant, stuffing my stomach with oily leftover meats and veggies too unshapely to be presented to customers.

The kitchen of the restaurant was often more than 110 degree Fahrenheit (43 degree Celsius), even with the back door open and with two big fans, one in the wall and the other one standing near one of the stoves, whirring and blasting perpetually. I guess it was impossible to blow the hot air out when all the stoves were busy cooking.

I think Asian food is most suitable to be cooked outdoors or in some open air structures. If the kitchen has to be located inside a building, preferably it is a place with big wide windows on all sides, almost like a pavilion kind of thing to allow hot air, fumes, smells to escape the premise as quickly and freely as possible. Alternative, some engineers will have to design powerful wind or air tunnel to get rid of the cooking air.

And many immigrants encounter similar problems when buying a house here. Many kitchens in American houses are located right in the middle of the house; some are located on the side of the house, but with small windows that can only be opened half way. This means that the kitchen air and fume are easily spread to the entire house. If one does stir fry inside, the whole house will be stained and ruined within two months of daily cooking.

In order to preserve their house’ resale value, many choose to stir fry in the backyard. Or if they can afford it, they would build another kitchen outside for “real” cooking. There are no other ways around this.

Most people would install kitchen hood, which can suck the air and any airborne droplets away, but a kitchen hood is not very effective in the Asian household at all. It is not powerful enough to suck all the flying grease away.

12 thoughts on “Kitchen’s Cultural Difference

    1. Haha, yes, every Asian cooking smells distinctively since we just love flavors. LOL. And Asian cooking is best done in those open area street stalls since it is more airy and the smell or fumes can escape without the hindrance of walls etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are sooo right about modern technology. I hope more technologies can be invented to get rid of the cooking debris while cooking easily since they can really ruin the living environment. However, if one wants strong flavor for one’s food, sometimes one can’t help cooking wildly to a certain extent.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. love this
    Great article! I’ve always been a fan of Asian cuisine and it’s interesting to hear about the challenges of cooking in a small, indoor kitchen. Have you come across any specific outdoor cooking structures that work well for cooking Asian dishes?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, people do stir fry in a little shack they build in the backyard. LOL. Or they just have a gas stove outside. The gas stove can be purchased in Asian grocery store, which is also good for hotpot.


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