This Week on Good Food: What is Authentic Cuisine? The SGV, Cheese Mites

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Photo by Gennia Cui

From Paris to Japan, we explore the shifting notion of authenticity. A San Gabriel Valley native revisits her hometown; plus, are cheese mites a nuisance or a boon?

Highlights from this week’s show:

1. Is the French Brasserie in Decline?–Alexander Lobrano is the author of the popular guide Hungry for Paris that just came out with a second edition last month. He talks about how traditional brassieres are disappearing in France, and what this means for the future of French cuisine.

Mimolette Cheese
Mimolette Cheese. Photo by Chris Waits via Flickr(The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2. Cheese Mites– Pests or Flavor Enhancers?–Ann Mah is the author of Mastering the Art of French Eating. She talks about cheese mites, those little bugs, that give Mimolette, a cheese traditionally made in Mille France,  it’s unmistakable flavor. Last year, the FDA declared Mimolette unfit for human consumption because of the mites. She wrote a great piece on French regional food in the dining section of last weekend’s New York Times.

3. Can you be Good at Culture?–Tom Downey wrote an article for Smithsonian Magazine called “How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better.” In Japan he found that many American cultural pillars like bourbon, denim and hamburgers are not only being imitated in Japan, but in many cases, he argues, improved.

4. Obsessed with Matcha–Eric Gower, a self proclaimed “tea entrepreneur,” writes the column The Breakaway Cook in the San Francisco Chronicle and he also owns Breakaway Matcha that sells its matcha to L.A. restaurants that include Hinoki and the Bird, Trois Mec and Republique . Lately, he’s been writing a lot about matcha, an artisanal product from Japan that is used to make green tea.

5. How SGV’s Food Scene has Evolved–It may be surprising for visitors of L.A. that the best place to find Chinese food in So Cal isn’t in Chinatown, but in the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Valley, located northeast of Los Angeles, is where most U.S. cities that have the largest populations of Chinese Americans are located. Independent Producer Erica Mu grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and moved back last year to report on how the food scene has changed over the years.

This segment was made possible by KCRW’s Independent Producer Project.

steamed manila clams

6. Jonathan Gold Reviews East Borough–Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the Los Angeles Times. This week he reviews the new East Borough outpost in Culver City. Jonathan lauds the restaurant for its ability to seamlessly fuse two of the most popular Vietnamese staples, pho and banh mi, into one tasty dish– the pho baguette.

Click here for recommended dishes.

East Borough

9810 Washington Blvd

Culver City

(310) 596-8266

Find all of Jonathan Gold’s restaurant suggestions on the Good Food restaurant map.

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7. Market Report–Laura Avery talks to Chef Bruce Kalman of Union about the various ways he’s cooking with porcinis. Find a recipe for his porcini mushroom cannelloni on the Good Food blog.

She also talks to David West of Clearwater Farms about how the drought is affecting not only porcinis but all wild mushrooms.