+
General Discussion

The Meaning of "Ethnic" Food

schoenfelderp | Feb 6, 201110:23 AM     71

"I love ethnic food", and the inverse, "I dislike ethnic food", are two statements that I have been hearing more than usual. In my head, I have always thought of ethnic food as non-traditional cuisine from from lesser known countries, but, upon some thought, I entertained the question, "Isn't all food ethnic food?"

The Random House Dictionary definition of ethnic is:

Pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnic group) sharing a common
and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like.

If we apply this definition to the term ethnic food, we lump every single style of cooking from every single region of the world. Whether it is popularized cuisine from countries like France, Italy, Spain, or China, or lesser known cuisine from countries like Ethiopia, Columbia, or Vietnam, they are forced together under "ethnic food".

Now, using common sense, we know that when people use this term they are not speaking about every single food preparation in the world. My question is this: What are people referring to when they say "ethnic food"?

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Recommended from Chowhound

Everything You Wanted to Know About Matcha Green Tea
Guides

Everything You Wanted to Know About Matcha Green Tea

by Joey Skladany | If your morning brew is in need of a green upgrade, look...

Sip These Poolside Martinis this Summer
Drink

Sip These Poolside Martinis this Summer

by Amy Sowder | I like to have a martini/ Two at the very most/After three I'm under the table/ After four, I'm under...

Spring Roll Recipes That Are Perfect for Summer
Food News

Spring Roll Recipes That Are Perfect for Summer

by Joey Skladany | Spring has sprung again, but this time in the form of delicious and customizable spring rolls for...

How Losing 100 Pounds Caused Me to Fall in Love with Food
Healthy Eating

How Losing 100 Pounds Caused Me to Fall in Love with Food

by Amy Sowder | When I'm anxious or sad, I stuff my face with carbs and sugar and cheese, ingredients which are wonderful...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.

See what's new!

View latest discussions ›