Chinese don't eat raw foods at all, and especially not vegetables, which they correctly (by the standards of Chinatown produce) view as being unsanitary until thoroughly cooked.
They have created a market that is efficient by eschewing the standards of sanitation that Western produce markets use. That's not to say that this is bad. Their food culture is fully adapted to it and it doesn't produce epidemics of food-borne illness in their community because they handle and cook food appropriately. The same approach wouldn't work if it was mostly Westerners buying the food though. A taste for raw baby kale salad makes this entire approach to food marketing non-viable.
»Imbruce, who's researched the Chinatown produce economy for over a decade, is the author of From Farm to Canal Street: Chinatown’s Alternative Food Network in the Global Marketplace. In the Journal she distills to Kadet the real reason Chinatown can keep prices low: “Chinatown’s 80-plus produce markets are cheap because they are connected to a web of small farms and wholesalers that operate independently of the network supplying most mainstream supermarkets.” While most of the rest of New York's markets get their produce from the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, Chinatown sellers work directly with small neighborhood warehouses. Since they're operating in close geographic proximity, they can get fresh produce throughout the day from wholesalers, and therefore don’t need a store with refrigeration or a lot of storage space.«
that said, if you've ever walked down Mott St. on a hot summer afternoon there will be no doubt in your nose that the produce isn't making the sanitation grade that you will find at Whole Foods.
Are you sure what you're smelling isn't the fish markets or medicinal herb stores? Produce is produce, it doesn't smell like anything.
Things I've noticed about the particular Chinese food culture of my girlfriend: Ginger goes in Chicken soup. Garlic does not. Broccoli is only cooked until bright green. Black pepper is used, basically never. All vegetables are to be rinsed, even the things in Trader Joe's packages that say "Triple Washed, Ready to Use." Almost no claim on the package should be trusted, ever.
Meat is always well cooked. (And there are plenty of ways to make meat very tasty without having it be super-rare.)
Broccoli and other vegetables are cooked only slightly because it is considered wasteful of the natural qualities of the food to overcook it (and probably because it wastes fuel also, which is also the reason for everything being cut small before cooking).
I blame the French.
The biggest evidence for this is Vietnamese word for beef is Bo. Which is a borrowed French word.
Vietnam is "Yue-nam" in Chinese, and Cantonese is "Yue-yu" in Chinese, whose literal meaning is "Language of Yue".
First, most of the Viet-Cantonese words are likely brought by Chinese migration since the 15th century. When the Ming dynasty fell, many Chinese fled to South Vietnam and helped Viet people annex that land from the Cambodians https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoa_people
Second, tt's true that we "might" have lots of connections with the ancient Yue people, but this is still in debate. Just like the Romans called everyone on the other side of the Rhine "Germans", the Chinese of 2000 years ago called everyone south of them "Yue", even though they can be different tribes or nations. Being named the same thing by the Chinese doesn't actually mean anything. Genetically we have many similarities with the people of south China, but the history of vocabularies can be more complicated than that.
I think there's no way Cantonese and Vietnamese don't have lots of connections with the ancient Yue people; A whole people don't just fall off the face of the Earth, unless there was a most serious kind of genocide. Almost certainly Cantonese and Vietnamese can trace some of their ancestors to the Yue one way or another. It's true Chinese at the time called everyone south of them Yue, but it didn't mean they were that much fragmented into tribes. The kingdom of Nanyue has borders pretty much exactly matching Guangdong + Vietnam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanyue. Nan = south, and so does the "nam" in Vietnam. I don't think that's a coincidence.
But your larger point is very much correct now that I think about it - the history of vocabularies can be very much complicated.
Edit: I concede that Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are two very different cities and the proliferation of French like restaurant is more present in Ho Chi Minh City as far as I remember.
I mean, that's the correct way to cook it in any context, I would have thought. The whole massively overcooking vegetables thing is thankfully mostly dying out now.
This is really good advice. Food contamination happens, even in your triple washed, plastic bagged veggies.
See steamed chicken where often it will be served with the marrow still red. And it's blasphemy to overcook fish.
Thanks. I think I just figured another one out!
That's not strictly true. There are plenty of classical Chinese dishes - many of them family type dishes - that are composed of raw vegetables.
Also pickling is pretty big in Chinese cuisine, but I guess that's not "raw" in the technical sense.
Lastly, Chinese people love raw seafood - sushi, oysters, etc.
() Chinese-American family.
Which Chinese people? There are approximately zero sushi restaurants in Manhattan Chinatown. There are a whole bunch of sushi restaurants in adjacent SoHo, which is filled with non-Chinese yuppies.
anecdotal: took my Chinese co-worker to The Pokespot takeout for lunch and he immediately turned around and went somewhere else when he saw that the menu contained only raw fish.
Raw seafood is pretty popular in coastal areas of Shandong and Liaoning. Cold seas and pretty easy to identify as fresh or not.
Raw veg in the Northeast in general is fine depending on what it is. Spinach should be cooked because of the way its grown (nightsoil not uncommon) but peppers/radishes OK raw (hanging fruit).
Simply pragmatic food culture responses to how food is sourced, and habits of what's OK or not. A Guangzhou person is unlikely to be OK with raw crawling shrimp in a salad in Panjin, and a Panjin person complains about how seafood in Guangdong is tasteless as the sea is too hot so the seafood grows too fast (despite these conditions making it plentiful).
> The seeds of radishes grow in siliques (widely referred to as "pods"), following flowering that happens when left to grow past their normal harvesting period. The seeds are edible, and are sometimes used as a crunchy, sharp addition to salads. Some varieties are grown specifically for their seeds or seed pods, rather than their roots. The rat-tailed radish, an old European variety thought to have come from East Asia centuries ago, has long, thin, curly pods which can exceed 20 cm (8 in) in length. In the 17th century, the pods were often pickled and served with meat. The 'München Bier' variety supplies seed pods that are sometimes served raw as an accompaniment to beer in Germany.
(I hadn't heard of this until I looked. I firmly think of radishes as root vegetables.)
See this article for one datapoint: http://www.worldfishing.net/news101/Comment/analysis/norway-...
Sushi is very popular in New York, much more popular than the Japanese population alone would support. There are sushi restaurants in neighborhoods where the residents enjoy sushi. The absence of them in Chinatown is an indicator that the residents there (> 90% Chinese immigrants) don't like sushi.
There are plenty of sushi restaurants in Chinatown: https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=sushi&start=0&l=p:NY:N...
There are also traditional - and popular - Chinese dishes that involve raw fish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusheng
You have to understand that Chinese people are huge gluttons (I say this without any judgement). They love to eat.. there are even idioms about it!
Did you check the results of your yelp search? that's 2 restaurants that are actually in Chinatown and actually serve sushi. An unusually small number for a neighborhood with one of the highest density of restaurants in the city.
Did you read the wiki article you linked? this sentence is in the summary: "While versions of it are thought to have existed in China, the contemporary version was created and popularised in the 1960s amongst the ethnic Chinese community and its consumption has been associated with Chinese New Year festivities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore." It's modern, and is a holiday feast meal served primarily by the Cantonese diaspora population. This isn't popular everyday eating, and is basically unknown on the mainland.
Even contemporary sushi/sashimi was not popularized in Japanese cuisine until relatively recently during the Edo period (1700s-late 1800s). Pre-edo times, "raw" fish was mostly preserved fish.
In regards to Chinatown, it's worth noting that many Chinese (and Korean) seafood restaurants also serve raw seafood (sashimi, poke, oysters, raw clams, etc.)
Perhaps Yelp is being too liberal with what they define as "Chinatown", but a quick pass on Yelp with the "Chinatown" area checked, returned the following:
> Place of origin: Singapore
Generally, when we say Chinese, we refer to mainland China and Taiwan, not the Chinese Diaspora. This would be like saying Indian people love chicken tikka masala.
That's true everywhere in the US. It's very hard to find an authentic Japanese restaurant, and even harder to find one run by actual Japanese people. Usually, "Japanese" restaurants are run by Koreans.
In my town, the authentic Japanese restaurant was next to the Subaru and Mitsubishi/Toyota car dealerships, and was pretty much there just so the auto executives had a reliably Japanese place to eat while visiting. It went out of business.
Japanese people may be the best at making a restaurant authentically Japanese, but Han are (anecdotally) much better at making a Japanese-themed restaurant authentically profitable.
Sometimes the clues are really blatant that it's not an authentic Japanese restaurant. There used to be a Sushi place a few miles down the road where the hirigana on the sign spelled out Arikato.
Said dozens of times by my Chinese-born girlfriend in SF Chinatown: "I have no idea what this is." "This is weird."
Immigration from the mainland started picking up after the Cultural Revolution in the late 70s / early 80s through now.
"Chinese" food in the US is mostly Cantonese food. Only fairly recently have you seen an uptick of non-canton style food. The latest trend is Sichuan / Chongqing style of cuisine (spicy!).
My favorite Chinese regional cuisine is Xinjiang cai (food of the uighurs, China's muslim minority group). Very tasty - lots of bbq meats, delicious noodles, and spicy. Also bonus that its halal/kosher.
at least, much more similar to cantonese food than it is to northern chinese food, which in my (cantonese heritage) opinion look more like korean, given its extreme use of sour preserved vegetables and grains.
Also, that's what lemons actually look like.
Not true. Things that are definitely commonly consumed raw include all fruits, some roots and tubers, garlic, cucumbers, onion, herbs and leaves, chilli, sugar cane.
Perhaps your perspective is skewed by a limited, US-only sample. Food preparation preferences are largely regional in China, anyway.
If anything, I'd expect fewer golf balls in my food.
Hmm. They always cook their rambutan? That's sad.
That said, Thailand has similar market sanitation norms (I almost said "standards", but that gives the wrong impression). They do still have a culture of various raw foods (lahb, nahmtok), and yes, you should probably ask for them "sook" (cooked).
And I don't know what you call chinese food culture, maybe the traditional one 100s of years ago, but nowadays raw beef in hotpot restaurants as appetizers is very popular and sushi/sashimi even moreso, even if you go down to t2 cities. This is chinese food culture right? What chinese people like to eat nowadays in 2017, not like 1850 food culture
Do you have a source for this? Food borne illness goes massively unreported because except in infants and the elderly, it generally resolves by itself. I can only imagine that given the challenges immigrant communities have with getting adequate health care in the US, they are even less likely to report food borne illness. I just can't see the link between "Chinese cook their vegetables more" and no epidemics of food borne illness.
ever wonder why you dont pay sales tax when you pay with cash? (if they are even willing to accept anything else)
real Chinese eat lot of raw stuff, if ABCs don't it must be some of their local fetish
speaking from perspective of someone who lived years in China with real Chinese, ignorance of previous poster is unlimited
On the other hand they also buy from farmers who grow their crops off lands more suitable for farming as well.
If you have a "tropical palate" and a strong stomach, you should definitely try some of these shady joints. It's a trip.
Actually in CA, many groceries are not subject to sales tax, just FYI. I'm not sure where the distinction is drawn, but it seems like the less processed the food the less likely it will be taxed.
From Wikipedia: In grocery stores, unprepared food items are not taxed but vitamins and all other items are. Ready-to-eat hot foods, whether sold by supermarkets or other vendors, are taxed. Restaurant bills are taxed. As an exception, hot beverages and bakery items are tax-exempt if and only if they are for take-out and are not sold with any other hot food. If consumed on the seller's premises, such items are taxed like restaurant meals. All other food is exempt from sales tax.
It is very very confusing, and I haven't really figured it out yet.
At least in SF, no "strong stomach" is required - the ethnic grocers source from the central valley, same as everybody, and fruit is peeled and herbs are washed, same as you'd do with stuff from Safeway.
In particular, rau ram ("vietnamese coriander) is simply amazing-- it started showing up in grocers the past few years and my gf introduced me to it (she's from southeast asia) and it's mild and fascinating, and I keep finding new uses, both cooked and raw. 100% of people seem to like it, and if you're not sure, start by using it whole to flavor rice.
But you can only buy it in ethnic grocers.
(SF readers: the civic center farmer's market has one herbs farmer with all the vietnamese herbs: mint, rau ram, vn shiso, etc - $1.50 for two massive bunches, and much fresher than any grocer)
Also, at least in Indian cooking, most spices are cooked very well, which will kill any trace of Salmonella. So, unlike the spinach and lettuce that get recalled regularly from the grocery stores, if you are using these spices for Indian recipes, you are totally fine (w.r.t salmonella).
I'd be more worried of spices that are laced with pesticides.
Anything living has a level of variability and likelihood of failure/damage/spoilage to it that gets harder and harder to manage as your scale gets bigger.
When you're a small shopkeeper who sells about 3 baskets of apples a day, it's both easier to sift through it and throw out the bad ones AND easier to find 3 basket's worth of apples that meet your quality expectations.
When you have to move 3 pallet-loads of apples, though, not only does QC become a more complicated endeavor, but you have to find 3 pallet-loads of apples to sell at a competitive price, so you may not have the luxury of being so choosy. When pallet-loads scale up to shipping-containers. . . you can see where I'm going with this.
And then there are logistics issues. If you're a large retailer you have to bring everything into centralized warehouses and then send them out. This means things need to travel longer distances and/or have longer shelf-lives. The upshot of that is they have a higher chance of either being past their prime by the time they get to you, or that had to get picked before they were properly ripened on the vine.
When you're smaller, have smaller scale suppliers, and less complicated distribution networks a lot of that extra burden falls away. Starbucks had this problem when they first started to get big too. A lot of people give them flack for over-roasting their beans and giving everything a charred/muddied flavor. When they were small they were able to be choosier about the beans. As they grew the scuttlebutt is that there just weren’t enough beans of that quality level on the market, so they had to lower the quality threshold and move to darker roasts. They still sell better beans, but only in select locations.
So instead of "I want to grow, and my current 100 suppliers are an unmanageable drag on that." being followed by "I need that consolidated towards 10, so my purchasing agents can talk with them all more often, and thus better manage my supply chain.", it might instead be followed by "I need that replicated towards 1000, so my purchasing software has the sample sizes and redundancy to do the machine learning and statistics to better manage my supply network."
> When you're smaller, have smaller scale suppliers, and less complicated distribution network
A more complicated to manage network in some ways. Lots of fine grain tactical purchasing with multiple competing suppliers, that you couldn't staff at supermarket scale.
Well yes and no. Objectively it is more complicated, but it's a sort of complexity that humans can handle intuitively since it's mostly about personal connections and relationships. It's not as abstracted as more expansive supply-chain logistics are.
Why are Amazon and Walmart so successful and cheap?
Rationalizing your question: Amazon and Walmart predominantly sell shrink-wrap manufactured items with nearly unlimited shelf life and minimal variability. The supply chain is very different and much more forgiving.
Walmart does sell groceries, but it's unclear if they're especially successful at it, or if their prices are especially good. I don't feel there's enough information here to encourage or discourage your skepticism.
Some people don't want to buy food with cardboard signs and cash.
Hell, I've heard California even has people who are fans of convenience so much they will pay for other people to do the grocery shopping.
(I agree though, I think this is something that is going to happen - just have to find the right business model at the right time.)
From what I remember I've seen quite a few "night time delivery only, no pickup allowed" grocery "restaurants" on those services
I am not sure why they failed but more recent attempts seem to be succeeding. My two current theories are:
1. They were ahead of their time. There weren't enough people shopping on the Internet to sustain them back then.
2. They were killed by structural obstacles that may also kill the new versions.
Gee, I wonder why do you have to pay with cash....that might be one contributing factor why prices can't be matched by mainstream retailers.
Most people in their communities are fine with it.
Must be some sort of a superstition.
Maybe they're cheating. IMHO, most of that cash register discipline is because the owner (or his immediate family) isn't running the register.
Im sure you can get away with not paying taxes for a while, but if you're going to have a generational store, you've got to be honest.
Technical controls are cool and all. When you can just look over and see you need more cans of soup, when you implicitly trust your employees, and you're not looking to make a quick buck and run away, they're just a lot of work for not much value. Scaling has a cost.
Paying actual taxes is a fast way to bankruptcy here :( , the above-board companies look for tax loops, smaller ones make do with dual-accounting and understating income.
Government figured out that income tax is the most difficult to fake and heavily hammers employees :(
Cash also has a cost, which can often be greater than 5 cents.
It's nice to buy a pack of cigarettes with cash and not worry that my health insurance company is going to somehow find out.
Probably volume. Chinatown is extremely dense and has such high foot traffic that it makes sense to operate without refrigeration, with goods stocked from neighborhood warehouses.
Most parts of the country don't have anywhere near that level of density, so the economies of scale wont work out like they do in Chinatown.
Most Americans buy groceries from a large corporate-owned store that they drive to and has everything, which compete with other large corporate-owned one-stop-shop that you have to drive to.
The older I become the more I realize how absolutely devastating the development policies of sprawl and low-density have been to all areas of human endeavor. You can't have effective competition without density and an ability to start extremely small.
This is a good metaphor for Net Neutrality. Maybe most of the US doesn't understand Net Neutrality, because they are trapped in their strip-mall big-box store hell, and don't know about real free markets IRL.
The Saturday morning farmer's market seems a reasonable approximation of these Chinatown markets at a sustainable scale for smaller/less dense regions. But really, population density is the magic sauce for demand in cases like this.
But a lot of places like this were eventually abandoned or demolished, except where they could be maintained or redeveloped as a tourist attraction, like Cincinnati did a few years ago. http://www.findlaymarket.org/
Actually, compared to farmer's markets, the big difference is the network of small-scale independent warehouses. This isn't farm-to-consumer or farm-to-retailer, it's just nimbler distribution.
I think price is good but the quality varies, as everything is coming up from NYC. Typically I buy scallions, onions and peas every month or so if I stop in to pick up a few other things like dumplings or sauces.
The fact that the prices are usually round numbers (e.g. when I buy apples they're almost always $0.99, $1.49, or $1.99/pound) seems to support the idea that stores aren't trying hard to wring out every last bit of competitiveness from this stuff.
There are enough people in a metro area who want this and are willing to go to the asian district to get it. The five or 20 families in a subdivision who want this are not enough for all the Safeways and Krogers in the subdivision to stock this food. But enough handfuls of those families across the area are willing to go to the few stores concentrated "in the asian district" to make it viable for those few stores.
This is also capitalism at work. Huge markets and niches both have ways to operate.
As for tracking and safety, as others on this page have noted, knowledgeable (and alert) shoppers and proper preparation go a long way to promoting food safety at the end-use end of the chain.
If you think there are some regulations that Jetro or whoever is enforcing that these other wholesalers aren't then post that. Otherwise this just comes off as a subtly racist comment.
This is also the reason that Whole Foods has gone downhill, they used to use similar networks but as they've expanded they've been forced to use larger more mainstream suppliers.
I feel like the reason Safeway can't replicate this is because they have regional distributors. Having each and every store work independently requires very shrewd buyers on the retailer side. Furthermore, there's the expectation of having certain items for sale, regardless of demand or price fluctuation. There's no expectation for the Chinatown retailers.
(basically, supermakets sell produce to Chinatown vendors for a lower price, who then move it to a segment of the market which is willing to buy non-aesthetic food which needs to be eaten in a day or two)
I don't doubt, however, that mostly untracked/untaxed cash transactions (both store-customer and wholesaler-store) contribute to some of the price differential.
That's the real miracle.
The Chinese community in NYC at least is notorious for tax avoidance.
The goal is not to compete with Chinatown grocers, but to move their model to other markets.
The problem is that like anything in corporate American business models, scaling up doesn't always scale. As groceries have consolidated, you need to focus everything on industrial agriculture to deliver a consistent product.
So as a society, we do stupid things like growing lettuce in the desert and flying it across a continent while fertile land down the road goes fallow. But when you have 5,000 wal-marts to stock, it makes more sense to focus on a few big suppliers than a bunch of little ones. I purchased lettuce in February grown in upstate NY in the middle of winter -- for 50% less than stuff in the market.
It's one of the massive inefficiencies that drives me nuts about the current American mutation of capitalism.
The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery, Every Time
The original article explains the cheap pricing in Chinatown markets with:
Chinatown’s 80-plus produce markets are cheap because they are connected to a web of small farms and wholesalers that operate independently of the network supplying most mainstream supermarkets.
But that also describes the way CSAs work. They source their produce directly from various independent farms, many owned and operated by individual families rather than large agri-corporations.
But the prices I've seen CSAs charge are often higher than prices for the comparable items at WholeFoods. Prices definitely are not comparable to NYC Chinatown.
So, is the original article really even correct about this?
previous discussion of the WSJ article mentioned in the text:
Problem is, most places in America there's a certain baseline red tape cost that exceeds the budget of these types of operations.
In an unrestrained market environment, people can make money by eating up little inefficiencies like a swarm of ants. When you make the baseline energy cost of existence too high (e.g. with onerous incorporation or registration or licensing requirements), you kill off all the ants. Now those small but myriad inefficiencies go unconsumed, and society loses.
Many regular supermarkets pay a living wage.
> Grocery clerks with service of five years or more generally earn the maximum rate allowable under the contracts, between $18.71 and $19.80 per hour. http://work.chron.com/union-pay-journeyman-grocery-clerk-281...
> she always assumed the low prices
> were a reflection of subpar produce
I've rarely seen fresh gherkins in India. Which cities do you mean? Pickled ones are available in shops though.
Jokes aside, the truth is that with the original definition, there are so many barriers to markets being efficient and behaving in that idealized way that in reality I think it's a unicorn that can't exist, or at least rare enough to take with a huge grain of salt. It's a simplified model of how things might work, and perhaps if you squint a little it does seem to work that way, but not when you look closer. People behave irrationally all the time, there are all sorts of factors and incentives, social, political, and game-theoretic, that prevent actors from operating in certain desirable ways.
I think it's hilarious that Chinatown may have out-capitalisted the capitalists, and cut out many middlemen to deliver better product for cheaper. Sad that they probably won't get much recognition for it, perhaps only some lobbying to block it.
Why do you think Amazon is sort of price competitive with delivery?
Sometimes I want that sameness, but as the economy, or the Internet architecture for that matter, centralizes around a few corporations you end up with a bland world.
Chinatown sources from local small producers and are able to get big discounts. They also reduce cost by skimping on things like good furniture, printed labels, credit cards etc and keep their margins to 10-12% over wholesale.
Is there a browser plugin that lets you vote on how annoying a site's ads are, so it can warn you before you go to the site? I have a feeling that kind of pressure could change the way ads are displayed, but without it we're going to keep getting our screens engulfed by an ad with no idea how to close it.
It was a full-page ad for "STITCH FIX", with it's own layout and, sigh, auto-playing video. Why would I ever click through that?!
I don't get it.
Why can this web of small farms and wholesalers sell produce for less than normal suppliers can?
If Chinatown's suppliers are so much cheaper, why don't the other supermarkets use them too?
If Chinatown is consuming the entire output of these suppliers (explaining why the other supermarkets can't use the same source) then why don't the suppliers raise their prices? Even if some of the chinatown vendors could no longer afford the food, surely someone else would buy it.
Do plywood shelves at a grocery really make a noticeable difference in food prices?
Obviously, NYC has a major markup on produce, but the cheap prices at Asian Grocers are not a regional thing. Growing up in the suburbs, my family always opted for the Asian-owned grocery store over A&P or other supermarkets. I think Aldi's may have a similar agreement with distributors.
these things are permanently in promotion rotating between various supermarkets:
1kg banana 1.1€, 1kg grapes 2-2.2€, bunch of fresh spinach 1.2-2€, etc
I can find exotic stuff I need for a variety of Asian recipes that I cannot find elsewhere.
My theory is that, in addition to having the right connections for cheap import, their customer base probably demands a certain price point for bulk spices.
For stuff like potatoes or beans it's really hard for me to care enough that I'm paying an extra $0.50 compared to the market down the street. Vegetables are cheap, unless someone slapped that organic sticker on it. It's just not worth the effort. But for spices I'll make the trip.
That said, I found Chinatown to be the most interesting neighbourhood in Seattle :P
The only negatives are that the markets are not pleasant places to be in and some don't take cards.
Also Chinese people are not known for their empathy. They are usually fighters. If they run more efficient than another shop/chain they just conquer them. That they stay that small means they can't beat the big chains.
Then I entered 99Ranch and since then my respect of my eastern neighbours has gone up significantly. Not only they had Tiger prawns and King Mackerel, they actually understood the difference between Pampino and Pomphret.
Some theorize that this is due to American's avoiding flavor in general .
It's about his experiment of eating fish as his only protein for a whole year, as well as an investigation of where our fish comes from, fish farming practices, sustainability, etc.
Aside, it may be a good thing Americans don't eat as much seafood as the rest of the world. I'm not sure the oceans could keep up with the demand. Allegedly very few fisheries are well managed.
I'm not arguing for or against the quality of fish protein, just pointing out Polynesians had pigs...
Fisheries are being destroyed is because blue water fisheries are a commons -- no nations own them, so whoever vacuums up the fish first reap the profits. Not to mention global warming and ocean acidification are stressing fish breeding grounds worldwide.
This model made sense up until WW2, and was in line with how international waters were historically governed, but it is an ecological disaster in the making because technological developments during the war (sonar, deep sea nets, etc.) allowed huge fishing fleets to completely destroy blue water fishing grounds.
The only way to change this is for someone to push at the international level to rewrite the agreements on fisheries (restrict them by quotas, manage them by an international body with an eye towards conservation, etc.), and the only superpower that has the political capital to really get the ball rolling is the US.
But most Americans don't eat much seafood so it's not on anyone's radar. Enjoy your seafood while you still can. Maybe rich nations will have farmed fish or domestic freshwater sources, but cheap seafood from the ocean will basically not exist within a few decades.
I do agree that we need international level agreements, but I trust the US exactly the same as I trust most other governments on this issue. I think one of the biggest problems is that it's a bit like global warming. Most people simply deny that there's a problem. In fish-loving Japan, where I live, nobody will listen to me. They sell cod illegally fished from the grand banks in the super market. They even have a big sign "Grand Banks Cod!!!" I think if I brought an east cost Canadian fisherman to Japan, they'd go postal. But, if I try to educate someone, the response is always, "It has to be a lie. Look at all the cheap fish in the super market. If it was really getting scarce, then there would be no fish there. People in other parts of the world just want to complain about the Japanese. That's all it is".
If the US was a fish eating nation, I have very little doubt that the same thing would be happening, unfortunately.
My supervisor at university did fish population simulations as his research. He published a paper, maybe 30 years ago now, where he predicted the collapse of all wild fisheries. Nobody paid any attention to it. It seems to be on track now...
You don't need an especially socially responsible or forward-thinking entity to solve coordination problems. You just need one that's able to push hard enough to make everyone fall in line.
Something like the UN/WTO would ideally serve that purpose, but seems like no one wants to give them much clout. I assume the big people prefer to keep the clout in their complete control and the small guys know the big guys would still have stuff like permanent seats and veto power.
But it sounds very logical, so why is this not true?
Strangely, the best place to 'store' fish is right in the ocean, and for an overly harvested fishery, you even get paid interest for it.
But if there is too much fish taken away, then it is harder to catch them, right, so scarcity. But the remaining fish then have much more space and food to reproduce ... so they go ack to the old levels quickly, so where is the problem (unless some species go literally extinct)?
But most of our fisheries are far below that now. Fish can only breed as fast as there are breeding fish available, but we're eating them faster than they are being born.
You can view a fishery basically as a giant fish-making factory. If you eat away half your fishery's biomass, then to a very rough first approximation, your factory will only produce half as many fish.
But then why is fish still so cheap and plenty of it avaiable, which was the main point?
(but again, I don't know that, I am just refering to the argument)
Related to this: because technological change has made it really cheap and easy to catch fish , and up to now, that has more than offset the decreased productivity from damaging our fisheries.
Also why should America have to be the fish police, on top of all the other polices we are. What if I would rather spend the fish police money on universal healthcare and free college tuition for fellow Americans?
The truth is that if the US does nothing, mass fishery collapse is the most probable outcome. It will hurt poor, seafood-consuming nations much more than it hurts the US.
Is this more important than any of our other priorities? That's up for you to decide.
Most of the costal area of India uses relatively far more primitive fishing methods compared to Japan or China. Have not seen any ocean fish becoming less available in last 30 years even though population might have doubled and demand for fish gone up by 5 fold. At least there is no evidence on ground !
If America was as hungry for seafood as East Asia, fisheries would have depleted enough to create frighteningly high prices long ago, and we'd probably have a thriving aquaculture industry today.
Especially near me, where the waterways are also toiletways. You'd have to go out into the lake to escape the toilet and dioxin-laden water, where the fish should never be eaten, and even then you have, like I said above, a limit depending on how much toxic fish you feel comfortable ingesting.
Sydney's ocean beaches are often closed to swimmers because of pollution. Sydney disposes of its sewerage via deep ocean outlets, and this can often make the water quality very bad, depending on ocean currents.
I'm not sure my post warranted a down-vote. Is it because I contradicted you? or do you think I am wrong? I lived on a houseboat on The Georges river/Botany Bay for many years, and have spent some serious time on Sydney's waterways, and offshore. I wouldn't eat anything caught in Sydney's rivers or beaches knowingly.
You can easily observe locals fishing in the river(s) running through Shanghai. The fact that they do it doesn't mean those fish are safe to eat.
According to this article, based on CO2 production farmed salmon has the same impact as pork:
There's no reason to eat fish when in almost all cases chicken, pork, and beef provide much cheaper and filling sources of protein. I mean, I love the taste of fish, but even I rarely eat it because it's just that much more efficient to feed myself with chicken and red meat.
If it were only about efficiency, you'd probably just eat beans and rice, day in and day out, with a bit of this and that thrown in.
Edit: BTW, this book has some interesting ideas about the US and food: http://amzn.to/2oVeaYz
Among other things, he points out that the US does have slow food with a high degree of regional variety: barbecue.
On the other hand, expensive fish aren't usually a byproduct of producing cheap fish, nor vice versa.
The US is a wealthy place, but a lot of individual families aren't wealthy at all. Cheap, mass-produced, pre-prepared food (either frozen or in cans/boxes) are the cheapest things to eat. Where I lived - a few hours flight to a coast or many hours of driving - fish was one of the more expensive protein options if one doesn't want to eat fish sticks or the like. Chicken and pork were usually cheaper, followed by beef.
If it were only about efficiency, you'd probably just eat beans and rice, day in and day out, with a bit of this and that thrown in
This misses part of the equation - the stuff folks are eating are time efficient as well. Plus a good amount of folks wouldn't know what to do with lentils and rice: Cooking isn't a focus of schools. I had 6-9 weeks of cooking instruction, and we only cooked (in groups of 4-5) once every week or two and that included things like baking sweets. It is amazing how many folks don't just look this stuff up.
That class was one semester, and it was paired with another one-semester class that taught silkscreening, drafting, welding, wood joinery, and aluminum casting. This was, I think, in 7th or 8th grade.
WTF are they teaching in schools these days if not how to make pancakes correctly and clean as you go?
How are you supposed to learn something from your parents if the parents do not cook or are not responsible with their money or refuse to share financials with the child? We know some kids are in that situation and teaching such things is a preventative measure.
Saving $1 > Saving $0
Geography is certainly a plausible component of the answer. But I personally think cultural norms are pretty arbitrary and self-sustaining; there doesn't need to be a deeper reason why "americans like beef" other than our parents did and that's what we grew up with (recurse N generations).
The current trend is to go more urban/inner suburban. That more due to the cycle of aging property and best value than anything else.
Lower quality meat is cheaper. Similar quality meat (for example, in Scotland, all the beef is grass-fed, I don't know about the rest of the EU) seems to cost a similar amount in either area.
I have done the "drive to the gourmet food store to get fresh fish supposedly flown in by air that's only a couple hours old" and its expensive, like $15 to $20 per pound and interesting and tasted very fresh and delicious but tonight my kids have baseball practice and my son has scouts and weekly food shopping night is Thursday to avoid the weekend rush so looks like frozen fish tonight.
Farm to table is good signalling but not really practical for perhaps 95% of the population if not more. Something from the freezer aisle that can be cooked in the oven and tastes OK is better than something better that I can't eat because I don't have two hours tonight for special store supply runs and homemade preparations.
Also especially inland we have plenty of lakes and recreational fishermen and they all know about mercury poisoning such that they can only occasionally eat what they catch. Someone who can only safely eat one walleye per month looks at me pretty weird for feeding my kids fish every week "You having the pediatrician test them for mercury?"
Its also extremely bad social signalling, I know its wrong to even say this, but fish is generally pretty boring and bland. Its like trying to obtain artisinal flavored chicken or artisinal flavored sea or mountain salts. There's a reason people put a lot of work into what goes in or nearby the dish in a fish, spices and stuff. I'll blow money and time on something that will taste good. Fish isn't in that list.
That depends entirely on the type and quality of the fish. The most obvious example is salmon, which has a great, unique flavor and texture if cooked properly. White fish tend to be more bland on average, but there are some that are very flavorful; for instance, ling cod is absolutely delicious grilled (or seared) with nothing more than olive oil and salt/pepper. And then you have oily fish like herring and mackerel that are generally not cooked, but rather cured, pickled, or smoked, that are flavorful enough to be eaten on their own (but also make fantastic accompaniments in dishes like dressed herring).
In fact, you could say that a lot of lean cuts of beef are "boring and bland" as well: they don't have a ton of flavor unless you add herbs, spices, and/or fat.
(All that being said, I don't disagree with your other points about convenience and safety.)
I would have thought people from the British Isles were the largest group, based on what I've read about America, the Pilgrims, etc. Is that wrong?
The culinary influence is right there in plain sight though if you look for it, from the names of our big mainstream brewing companies to our national favorites, the Frankfurter and the Hamburger.
Edited for typo.
hamburger => Hamburg
frankfurter => Frankfurt
wiener => Vienna
pilsner => Plzeň
seltzer => Selters
Consumption per person is amongst the highest in Europe.
Don't bother with it in London, elsewhere go where the locals are. A busy fish and chip shop in a small town is probably best, rather than a pub or a takeaway that also sells pizza/chicken/kebab.
I don't live in the UK any more, but last time I visited the fish and chip shop in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. Highly recommended :)
America is also a big place. Fresh fish spoils quickly. So no, you won't see a lot of selection at a midwestern supermarket. If you're near a coast, the selection and number of specialty seafood shops is a lot better.
Different taste and color.
I'll pay the extra $4-5 dollar a pound when in "season" for the real thing.
In my experience, a minority of people pay attention to where their food comes from. I'd bet the average consumer purchasing fish wouldn't be able to tell you whether it was farmed or wild caught.
Same thing happens with meat. There is a huge reduction of variety, even at the local fishmonger/butcher, compared to continental Europe (I'm sure it is coming though)
A limited choice is available all the time everywhere, but the variety is not anymore.
In 2014 UK fishing boats landed 424ktonnes of fish into UK ports, while we imported 720ktonnes of fish, mostly from outside the EU.
For example, if you visit a supermarket in the UK or the USA at any time of the year, you can always find, say, fresh strawberries, despite the fruit only being locally in season for a month or two.
There is very little genuinely "seasonal" produce, meat or fish in supermarkets and I think that this is a major factor in the lack of variety.
Out of interest, if you went to an Indian market every three months, would you find all 100 different varieties of fish on offer every time, or does it change?
- first, fish, as has been said about the US in this thread, is not eaten much inland (though some fresh-water fish is), due to distances and heat and spoiling, and while India has a large coast, it has an even larger interior.
- second, I doubt there are even close to 100 varieties of fish available (in markets) at the coasts, maybe 20 to 40; those who know more, feel free to correct me, I don't live near the coast (though did long ago), and don't eat fish.
- third, I don't think that in any of the types of markets, I mentioned, all the same varieties would be available all year round (and kiranas don't sell fish or meat at all, except some may, but only tinned). It is a mix of some staples and some seasonal items.
E.g. I've visited Goa (a coastal state) a few times, and at least at the beach restaurants / shacks, where they lay out the fish and other seafood varieties for inspection by customers, I don't remember seeing more than 20 or so items - kingfish, mackerel, red snapper, pomfret, crabs, a couple of types / sizes of prawns, squid, shark, that's almost it. One place that I went to a few times, had seafood special nights (the owner fished as a hobby), where there were a few more kinds, like barracuda, tuna, mussels, etc. These were in general touristy areas though. Local markets and restaurants may have more varieties.
I would prefer to go hungry or eat the same boring but nutritious meal day after day than consume bad food, and frankly I think I've avoiding a hell of future medical misery by not stuffing my body with crap.
This tired trope about Americans eating so much processed food is often passed around by people that seem to not be very familiar with what grocery stores in the rest of the world sell. The French have entire stores dedicated to pre-packaged, frozen meals. Stereotypes are often based in truth, but that doesn't mean they are true.
Your average American grocery store has the ingredients to make almost any cuisine on earth, yet I have to import tortilla flour from the US because the only thing resembling Mexican food in France is "Old El Paso." Korean ingredients? Good luck with that. There's a tired section of soy sauces that consist of Kikkoman generic crap and that's about it. In a US store, I can find at at least 5 different kinds of soy sauces. Actual Asian noodles as well.
People seem to have a hobby bashing Americans, yet the American grocery store is a temple to the success of capitalism, world trade and diversity.
Ever been to a "non-capitalist" grocery store in China? Once you do that, then perhaps you could opine on how bad capitalism is for food.
Capitalism is the very reason you can find enoki mushrooms in Omaha, habaneros in Minnesota or Serbian rakija in Los Angeles.
I am not saying that Americans always make the best nutritional choices -- but it isn't due to the lack of opportunity to do so.
Granted, Americans have gotten a lot better at food and culture in general in the past decade ever since the hipster/foodie-ism thing, but it still has a long way to go if it wants to ditch the image of the average American as the child who won't eat their vegetables.
An abomination of a word :)
It should be crisp, AFAIK.
Start with The Ipcress File. There are only a very few books that I read again and again for the sheer literary pleasure of their construction and expression, and I've read that book at least 10 times now, and hope to read it many more.
Deighton's novels have been popular but he has never been accorded the recognition given to other great writers in the espionage and war genres. Perhaps this is a result of too many irons in the fire - he's also a historian and graphic arts - but it has a good deal to do with his being a recluse and his relatively humble social origins, in my view, which perspective is fundamental to his writing. I cannot lavish enough praise upon him, but ask that if you enjoy his work you make an effort to share it with others.
P.S. For a moment, after seeing you mention Len Deighton, I confused him with Ken Follett, some of whose books I've also read. They were good too.
American culture, in general, has improved thanks to 10 years of hipsters? Where are you from?
And you quantify this how?
Simple example, most milk in the US comes from Holstein cows because they produce more than other breeds. But if you get milk from Jersey cows (smaller and browner) it's much fattier and generally more flavorful. Of course it's also a bit more expensive but not that much more...but you'll be hard put to find it outside of a farmer's market or specialty grocer.
I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on consumers for poor nutritional choices. Marketing and other factors shape those choices significantly.
Americans stock their shelves with "swiss" "american" "jack" and "cheddar" with almost all of them being made in about a week in cheese factory somewhere.
Contrast that with having TWO versions of Cantal, one of the blander AOC cheeses, in every cheese case we encountered in France. To say nothing of blues I'd never heard of, and small batch regional cheeses in many supermarchés.
It's all hearsay and conjecture, really, but I think the outsized influence of American chefs is just due to TV culture which is pervasive and consistently unfortunate.
Rural America has a great food culture here in many areas; it's not just chefs on the TV.
Plus, if you look at the labels, half of the cheeses that are presented as artisanal are actually made by a cheese factory in southern Wisconsin.
All that said, there are a number of folks making brilliant local cheeses in Vermont and Upstate NY, but I find those at the boutique cheese store on the coast, and even their employees often don't know anything about what they're selling. Not sure who's fault that is though.
Either way, I miss France and not just for the cheese. Gastronomically it was simply easier to find high quality produce and AOC protected regional delicacies. And that's not saying they don't have crap too (oh, I remember Lidl), but there was a sense of cultural pride around certain foods that is simply absent in the US outside of hipsters in Vermont and California (which I am mostly likely a part of).
The point isn't to process it as heavily as possible, it is to process it and flavor it so that it hits a "sweet spot" between the fat/salt/sugar flavors - according to the food science. This makes folks come back and buy more, especially with it seeming to taste better than their home-cooked food. They seriously design it to make your brain happy to have it. Some of it is bland, for sure, but plenty of it isn't.
I'm not so astonished: This sort of thing has been happening throughout history. Lead in makeup, arsenic in dyes, and so on.
Collecting pennies in front of a steam roller.
Pretty much every place I've lived on both coasts, you couldn't go the day without hearing about someone wanting a tuna burrito, or fish tacos, or shrimp stew (Frogmore stew specifically) or lobster or crab or flounderor more.
So maybe the inland Americans don't eat as much seafood, but rarely does a day go by here on the West Coast that I don't hear about or personally think about eating some seafood.
The market at work, surely.
One issue is lag - the American general food supply diversifies more slowly than the population.
Another issue is corporate consolidation of the food supply chain. For example, New England used to have a lot of small confectionery manufacturers, from big factories to mom&pops, which over the last three decades have most all been crushed out by Nabisco. Which is much lower quality. So "why doesn't Boston have good confectionery like", err, Castile? Well, we used to be a lot closer, but Nabisco et al.
This conversation can be had in literally any country in the world. Can't find a decent cheeseburger in Delhi, can't find decent cheese in Shanghai, nearly impossible to find good tequila in Germany.
Every country has foods they're good at and foods they're not. As far as the death of small producers, why by Boston chocolate when I can buy actual high quality Swiss chocolate at a lower price? Why buy some marginal local beer when I can buy literally the best beers in the world. Globalization certainly has its negatives, but on balance there is more variety than every before.
I mean... sure.
But I've travelled a whole lot of the world and some places on average have way better food than others. It's sort of impossible to go to Lyon, France, say, and then pretend everywhere else's food is just like different, but no worse.
There's of course a difference in culture. You can't find sesos even at the best butcher shops while in Argentina they're in any medium sized supermarket. That's just stuff that nobody but the very adventurous will eat outside that cultural zone.
totally surprised to see that in Capitalist America the
choice of fish was absolutely pathetic
Then I entered 99Ranch and since then my respect of my
eastern neighbours has gone up significantly
Not to mention the fact that the antecedent statement is just factually wrong -- my local grocer offers at least 20 varieties of fish as well (including about 5 or 6 different Salmons) and is a plain-as-day "American" market.
As explained below, the issue is one of demand. For whatever reason, people in the US don't like fish.
I'm Bengali, which means our cuisine includes a lot of fish. But in the US, I almost never eat fish in restaurants - only when we're cooking it at home. And that's because the way it's cooked is absolutely terrible. People in the US tend to prefer fish that's already bland to begin with (cod, haddock, tilapia, and sometimes tuna or salmon), and the ways they like it cooked don't add very much flavor to the process.
So, for people like me who actually enjoy tasty fish, there are very few options in the US (short of cooking it ourselves) because there are very few others (like me) in the US who actually enjoy tasty fish.
It's sad, but true.
To be fair, in the Midwest this is often because there used to be a diet of much more flavorful freshwater fish from local lakes, but overfishing destroyed their populations and pushed prices way up, forcing cuisine to adapt to cheap saltwater fish.
I see big fillets of salmon and other large fish in Krogers, from the large industrial supply chain, next to the occasional little trouts and whatevers, and I often wonder "where do those little guys come from? How is it possible for them to get into this case?"
I'm not at all aware of any fresh water/river fishing companies, it strikes me as unsustainable except on a semi-recreational basis.
I'm not an avid fisherman, but anybody who is should seriously consider visiting Mongolia before it's too late. An exceptionally brutal winter in 2009 killed many livestock and drove millions of people to the capital city. And in the past 10 years the mining industry has exploded. The population is rapidly moving away from nomadic pastoralism and toward industrialization and private property. While I'm sure most of the country will remain undeveloped for quite some time given its size, with the mining operations the waterways are likely to become increasingly suspect.
FWIW, it's not that Mongolians are like some isolated tribe in the Amazon. They're fully aware of the world and enjoy a decent literacy rate. But the Soviets kept the Mongolian economy relatively undeveloped, perhaps because the pastoral culture fit the communist ideal. With the collapse of the USSR the country stayed on the same course until about 10-15 years ago when outsiders (especially South Koreans) poured in to develop the resource extraction industries.
The principle grain is (I think) wheat, often as Russian-style dumplings. Filled with mutton, of course.
The food is pretty simple. Nothing flashy. Not many ingredients. The steppe is a pretty desolate place. Not necessarily bland, either, though. The homemade camel soup was made from dried camel meat seasoned with a wild herb (maybe some kind of allium-related weed?) the host collected while tending his livestock and packed into jars with salt. (Perhaps it pickled a little?) Another dish at a small restaurant was stir-fried horse meat with garlic shoots.
I did eat sheep brains, scooped out of a whole cooked sheep's head sawed in half. That was at a restaurant in Ulaanbaatar. Memorable but definitely the most bland dish I ate there.
I had many other dishes but my memory fails me. Oh, I did have tea with camel's milk on a couple of occasions. Never got to try the famous fermented (alcoholic) horse milk, though.
About the dumplings, I was just recently reading about manti , a Turkish dumpling (which is basically steamed or fried balls of dough filled with ground meat or other fillings).
The Wikipedia article said it may be of Central Asian or Turkic / Mongol origin, and had spread to many countries, including Central Asian ones, the Caucasus, Russia, etc. I'm guessing the Russian-style dumplings you mention are a form of manti.
Edit: Just looked it up again, the manti article links to buuz, the Mongolian name for it:
Also, do they eat much of vegetables, fruits, etc.?
Mongolia is pretty large. IIRC the south is mostly desert, the east more grassy plains, and the west very mountainous. I'm sure the cuisine varies. Nonetheless, AFAIU steppe cultures have very similar diets--heavy meat consumption, particularly sheep, goat, camel, etc.
My wife and I went in 2012 for about a week. Most of that time was spent with expat family working in Ulaanbaatar, where we took a few excursions to parks and monuments not too far from the city.
We took a 3-day trip to the Gobi Desert on a very typical itinerary where you hire a driver and translator and stay with a few host families. Because of tourism and the mining industry, the Gobi families were settling down more. Our host families, while still remote and dispersed, lived in Gurs that hadn't been moved in years. (Whereas traditionally you moved roughly once a year, cycling through grazing areas.) At the time travel books recommended the Southeast for a more "traditional" experience. But you really shouldn't miss the Gobi if you're doing a family trip or a short tour.
I'm hardly particularly knowledgable about the country or culture. But what was most striking was how the land was open and accessible--so very little private property, with the legal right for natives and (IIUC) visitors to roam and camp where ever they please so long as they're not disturbing anyone else. It's basically a dream for anyone who loves the outdoors. I'd hardly classify myself as a world traveler, nor an avid outdoorsman. But I have hiked and camped rural Ecuador and visited rural parts of Borneo. The sense of openness, freedom, remoteness, and safety in Mongolia just seemed incomparable to anywhere else. But who knows how long that will last.
 There's an imaginary boundary (if not a fence) around a Gur or collection of Gurs that demarcates de facto private from public land. And Mongolians traditionally keep a native breed of guard dog for protection, so you're encouraged to get vaccinated for rabies. But outside the cities families are so dispersed (on the order of miles) that you're unlikely to accidentally intrude upon anyone's space.
Asian cuisine makes much greater use of smaller fish that are oftentimes cooked whole, so the range of options tends to be larger as well.
My local grocery store probably has 150 ft of cooler space devoted to beer. About half is Budweiser, Miller, and other huge brands, the rest is from smaller brewers, many of which are local. How does the selection compare at the local Lulu Hypermart?
The lobster in Maine is similarly good and fresh, as is the crawfish in Louisiana. If you want to get good fresh fish a thousand miles away from the coast then, yes, the selection will be poor and likely limited to a small number of varieties.
America has a lot of land, and infrastructure to feed, raise and transport animals. Meat prices in America are so cheap relative to cost of living it's staggering.
But yes, this means our seafood market choice is pretty bad.
The real price of most grocery store meat is in the ballpark of twice the sale price. The difference just comes out in taxes.
It is also what drives a lot of the unhealthy eating habits in the states.
Volkswagen Replacement Part # 199 398 500 A
That’s VW’s own self-produced currywurst (in the past also from VW’s own farms, now they outsource that part of the production chain): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen-Currywurst
If you weren't already aware of it, I hope you are similarly charmed by the fact that Lego is the worlds largest manufacturer of tires.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go call my local auto parts store.
If you go to the East Coast or Gulf Coast (especially), you'll find a very different seafood culture. It's cheap, plentiful, varied, and part of the local food culture.
In China even a small city with 400000 population (that is small in China, don't argue.) located 1000 miles from sea would at least have fresh clams and a few live sea fish in watertanks at walmart.
In America all you average consumers buy are vacuum-sealed squares of bland fillet.
People who do want more variety go to more specialized stores like Ranch 99 (which is just as American as Safeway, not sure why the poster suggested otherwise), which aren't hard to find.
The poster seemed to blame it on capitalism, but if so I don't see the point in defying capitalism by having the government require the big supermarket chains to stock 100 types of fish that are going to go mostly unsold and get thrown away. That sort of wastefulness sounds a lot worse than requiring the poster to spend 5 minutes Googling for more specialized stores nearby that sells what he wants.
Which state did you grow up in if you don't mind me asking ?
Fish is hardly common in most US restaurants that are near rives though, so my conjecture may be false.
Buy hey, they have 200 different types of energy bars in medium size shops ;)