What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

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CariceHouten
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What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby CariceHouten » 2021-04-17, 6:20

We all know America's soft power is unparalleled and your popular culture (tv/film/music/literature etc) has massive reach across the world. But does it work the other way around? Which other countries' modern popular culture impacts on America? If any actually do so?
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-17, 15:45

CariceHouten wrote:We all know America's soft power is unparalleled and your popular culture (tv/film/music/literature etc) has massive reach across the world. But does it work the other way around? Which other countries' modern popular culture impacts on America? If any actually do so?


This is a difficult question to answer, for a variety of reasons. Many other cultures impact the United States, but it's hard to say which particular culture has the most impact. One reason is that frequently when something from another culture enters the United States, once it becomes very popular people tend to basically assume that it originated in the United States. So we might be listening to a singer from Sweden or Colombia or Moldova, or playing a game from Japan or Finland, or using an app from China or India, and these might be widely popular in American pop culture, but a lot of people in the US will probably think they originally came from the United States.
If you're focusing exclusively on popular culture, British music and literature have a big impact; Japanese anime and Korean k-pop are very popular. In terms of food, the largest impacts are probably Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, French, and Indian (then also Thai, Middle Eastern, Mongolian, etc). But these are just a few examples, not the only ones.
We do tend to "Americanize" a lot of these once they become popular in the United States, sometimes making them unrecognizable to people in their original countries (as well as, again, making their origins unrecognizable to a lot of people in the US). This includes not just foods but also English versions of songs originally in other languages, remakes of foreign movies, etc.
Many, many other countries and cultures have more regional impacts in the US. For example, a lot of Mexican culture is extremely popular where I live because there many Mexican immigrants here who brought it with them, continue to enjoy it here and share it with others. Some of the elements of Mexican culture that are popular with non-Hispanic Americans include Mexican food and drinks, music, art and design, and to a lesser (or less-recognizable) extent clothing and fashion, sports, holiday traditions, etc. (Spanish is also the most-commonly-learned foreign language in schools.)
Mexican culture is just one example of many; there are additionally other cultures brought by immigrants where I live (Thai, Indian, Portuguese, Middle Eastern, Hmong, Filipino, etc) and many, many others elsewhere in the US. For immigrant cultures, which cultures have the largest impact outside the immigrant community (and how much impact they have there) varies by region.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby awrui » 2021-04-17, 19:22

Linguaphile wrote: In terms of food, the largest impacts are probably Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, French, and Indian (then also Thai, Middle Eastern, Mongolian, etc).


Really? Is Mongolian food a thing in the US? It's such a tiny country people-wise...

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-17, 20:50

awrui wrote:
Linguaphile wrote: In terms of food, the largest impacts are probably Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, French, and Indian (then also Thai, Middle Eastern, Mongolian, etc).


Really? Is Mongolian food a thing in the US? It's such a tiny country people-wise...

Well, I'm not sure. "Mongolian grill" is not actually Mongolian (it's Taiwanese), so I would assume many (or most) so-called "Mongolian" restaurants in the US are not Mongolian at all. That also makes it hard to know how many actually are without actually visiting them or at least looking at their menus. But there is (or was until recently) a restaurant in my area that served authentic Mongolian food (although their menu also offers some Thai and other Asian cuisine as well). They had Mongolian dumplings, noodles, etc. Anyway, that's why I thought to include it. It is one of the cultures that has some influence here. The other six that I mentioned first are certainly more widespread (Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, French, Indian). I also forgot to mention Vietnamese, Korean and Greek, which can be added to the list of popular cuisine/restaurants.
There are also some other foods from other cultures which are popular locally but there are no restaurants that sell them; you have to learn to make them yourself, wait for certain cultural events where they sold or know someone who will make them for you. Still, the question was about cultural impact, so I think those have a place too.
Again, I think many cultural influences in the US are regional, and I can only speak for my area.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Yasna » 2021-04-18, 2:15

awrui wrote:Really? Is Mongolian food a thing in the US? It's such a tiny country people-wise...

My city has two "Mongolian hot pot" restaurant chains, one of which (快乐小羊 Happy Lamb) originates in Inner Mongolia.
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-04-20, 6:40

Do they actually serve Mongolian food? Especially without Thai food or something on the side?
CariceHouten wrote:But does it work the other way around?

No, not really. Definitely not to the same extent that American culture influences other countries.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-20, 13:19

vijayjohn wrote:Do they actually serve Mongolian food? Especially without Thai food or something on the side?

If you're asking about the restaurant I mentioned, yes, of course. The menu has separate Mongolian items that you can order on their own, tsuivan and buuz and I don't remember what else. The buffet also often included those or other Mongolian items and tarag but tended to have different items all the time so it varied. Unfortunately the restaurant is no longer open.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-04-20, 17:00

I meant the ones Yasna mentioned, sorry!

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Yasna » 2021-04-20, 17:15

I don't know enough about the distinctions between Northern Chinese and Mongolian food to say. They've got the menu on this page:

https://www.zomato.com/melbourne/happy-lamb-hot-pot-1-cbd/menu
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-04-20, 20:50

That doesn't sound much like Mongolian food to me, but I'm no expert on Mongolian food, either. :hmm:

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby awrui » 2021-04-21, 11:19

That seems more like chinese and less like mongolian to me.
How can the lamb be happy when there are so many lamb dishes on the menue?! :para:

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-21, 14:15

vijayjohn wrote:That doesn't sound much like Mongolian food to me, but I'm no expert on Mongolian food, either. :hmm:

Are you suggesting Golden Fish Roll might not actually be a traditional Mongolian dish?

There are more than 7,000 restaurants in the City of Chicago, and more in the suburbs. I know of exactly one that's owned and operated by Mongolians.

It's a sushi place.
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-21, 17:14

linguoboy wrote:There are more than 7,000 restaurants in the City of Chicago, and more in the suburbs. I know of exactly one that's owned and operated by Mongolians.

It's a sushi place.

It looks like in Chicago you can get beef хуушуур, бууз, банштай цай soup, хуйцай, and other Mongolian foods from Mongolian Cuisine and бантан, цуйван, хуушуур, and бууз from Mazalae Mongolian Restaurant.
Looks like in Chicago you can also order бууз and хэрчсэн гурил from a place in Glenview: Amtat Buuz. That one is not a restaurant but rather a place to order from.

I have certainly never been to these places, just did a quick google search, so I don't know who owns those places. But the buuz-for-order is certainly aimed at a Mongolian clientele. Besides, the original question was about cultural influence, not ownership or even preservation of authenticity. Even if they are not Mongolian-owned and even if the restaurants are modified for American tastes or offer food of other cultures as well, they're still highly influenced by Mongolian culture (in much the same way that other countries have American influence; that's often not "American-owned" or "authentic" either but it's still American influence).
A bit of non-food cultural influence as well: from the two restaurants, Mongolian Cuisine has mini gers on the tables:
Image and
Mazalae has тооно ceiling:
Image
These are in Chicago.

Basically (since I'm the one who brought up Mongolia in the first place) I never meant to imply that Mongolian influence is one of the largest in the United States. It isn't, but, it is one of the ones (of many) that is here and has influence, and it's one that came to mind when answering the question from personal experience.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-21, 19:55

Linguaphile wrote:It looks like in Chicago you can get beef хуушуур, бууз, банштай цай soup, хуйцай, and other Mongolian foods from Mongolian Cuisine and бантан, цуйван, хуушуур, and бууз from Mazalae Mongolian Restaurant.
Looks like in Chicago you can also order бууз and хэрчсэн гурил from a place in Glenview: Amtat Buuz. That one is not a restaurant but rather a place to order from.

LOL. You seem a touch defensive.

Thanks for the information though. Mongolian Cuisine is permanently closed. (It was only technically in the city anyway, being located in Schorsch Forest View, which is basically a suburb, being a roughly square mile area sandwiched between the enclave of Norridge and the Schiller Woods Forest Preserve and only bordering the rest of the city proper on one side). Mazalae is in Morton Grove, a true suburb which doesn't border Chicago at all.

Linguaphile wrote:Basically (since I'm the one who brought up Mongolia in the first place) I never meant to imply that Mongolian influence is one of the largest in the United States. It isn't, but, it is one of the ones (of many) that is here and has influence, and it's one that came to mind when answering the question from personal experience.

It was just such a super random choice, I'm not surprised so many posters seized on it. There are something on the order of 10,000 speakers of Mongolian in the entire USA, which doesn't even put it in the top 100 most spoken languages here. It's a similar story regarding Mongolian ancestry. The impact of Mongolia on American culture is pretty much undetectable.
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-21, 20:20

linguoboy wrote:Thanks for the information though. Mongolian Cuisine is permanently closed. (It was only technically in the city anyway, being located in Schorsch Forest View, which is basically a suburb, being a roughly square mile area sandwiched between the enclave of Norridge and the Schiller Woods Forest Preserve and only bordering the rest of the city proper on one side). Mazalae is in Morton Grove, a true suburb which doesn't border Chicago at all.
....

It was just such a super random choice, I'm not surprised so many posters seized on it. There are something on the order of 10,000 speakers of Mongolian in the entire USA, which doesn't even put it in the top 100 most spoken languages here. It's a similar story regarding Mongolian ancestry. The impact of Mongolia on American culture is pretty much undetectable.


Well, I detected it and didn't consider it random, and know Mongolian speakers here... I guess if I felt a need to be defensive about anything it would mainly be "it wasn't random". Calling it random and undetectable seems very dismissive of a population. And I did state in my first post that I know it varies by region.
'Wikipedia says there are 5,000 people of Mongolian origin in California (and another 3,000 to 4,000 in the Chicago area). Not huge, but not nonexistent. I was just surprised (astonished, to be honest) that there wouldn't be any Mongolian food in Chicago or the Chicago area too and found some, that's all. But some of the posts did seem pretty dismissive or argumentative or something: first that it's probably not even Mongolian (yeah, I get that one because some are called "Mongolian" when they aren't), then okay maybe in some restaurants it's Mongolian food but it's not owned by Mongolians, then it's "only bordering the rest of the city proper on one side" so... what, now it doesn't count as Mongolian influence if the restaurant is not in the city proper or owned by Mongolians? :hmm: I wasn't trying to prove anything, just curious if I could find some (the idea that my town could have had more Mongolian food than a big city like Chicago with a larger Mongolian population was absolutely baffling) and glad to see that I could. So it's there, for those who want it.
The Mongolian restaurant in my city is closed as well. I miss it.

Edit: here's the best test I know for whether or not a so-called "ethnic" restaurant serves really authentic food: do people from that culture eat there on Mother's Day? Because the rest of the year they might prefer family recipes made at home and don't eat at the restaurants from their home culture. Maybe when they do go out to eat they mainly go out for food that is different from what they get at home. But on Mother's Day most people want really good food and don't want the mother of the family to have to cook it. If the restaurant is crowded with people taking their mothers to a restaurant that serves food from their own culture on Mother's Day, it's very likely to be pretty authentic-style food.
Not a guaranteed test of course, because everyone's tastes are different, but it often works (so does just asking people, of course). :silly:

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-21, 23:44

Linguaphile wrote:Well, I detected it and didn't consider it random, and know Mongolian speakers here... I guess if I felt a need to be defensive about anything it would mainly be "it wasn't random". Calling it random and undetectable seems very dismissive of a population. And I did state in my first post that I know it varies by region.
'Wikipedia says there are 5,000 people of Mongolian origin in California (and another 3,000 to 4,000 in the Chicago area). Not huge, but not nonexistent.

As I said, there are about 10,000 Mongolians in the USA or about 0.003% of the population. In chemistry, that would be called a "trace element".

But it's not just about numbers. There are only about 25,000 Tibetans in the USA, yet they have a much higher profile. This is in no small part due to the Dalai Lama and the importance of the Tibetan tradition within American Buddhism. Tibetans here have established not just restaurants but also temples, study centres, galleries, shops, academic programmes, etc. Most USAmericans may not be able to find Tibet on a map, but they've heard of it at least and could name some things associated with Tibet due to the mark it's left on popular culture, being portrayed in movies, television, comics, etc. as an exotic locus of mysticism and magical power. I wouldn't call it one of the cultures with the "most" impact on American culture, but what impact it has had is at least detectable to someone living a city without a Tibetan community. You just can't say that about Mongolia.

Linguaphile wrote:I was just surprised (astonished, to be honest) that there wouldn't be any Mongolian food in Chicago or the Chicago area too and found some, that's all. But some of the posts did seem pretty dismissive or argumentative or something: first that it's probably not even Mongolian (yeah, I get that one because some are called "Mongolian" when they aren't), then okay maybe in some restaurants it's Mongolian food but it's not owned by Mongolians, then it's "only bordering the rest of the city proper on one side" so... what, now it doesn't count as Mongolian influence if the restaurant is not in the city proper or owned by Mongolians? :hmm: I wasn't trying to prove anything, just curious if I could find some (the idea that my town could have had more Mongolian food than a big city like Chicago with a larger Mongolian population was absolutely baffling) and glad to see that I could. So it's there, for those who want it.

I'm not saying it doesn't count; it was more of an aside than anything.

But, again, the subject of the thread is "influence" and the Schorsch River View dining scene is, shall we say, not exactly trend-setting within the city of Chicago, let alone the country as a whole. It surprises me not at all to find not one mention of this place in the local food press (despite the existence of food writers like Mike Sula who make it their mission to seek out obscure places selling minority Asian cuisine, even in the far-flung suburbs).

(We do have some odd gaps. It's only within the last 20 years that you've been able to get rijsttafel here, for instance. We have scores of South Asian restaurants, but they overwhelmingly serve Mughal cuisine. The regional selection has expanded in the last decade or so, but I still haven't seen a Bengali restaurant return since Bay of Bengal closed over twenty years ago. African food is especially spotty; we have a good-sized Nigerian community with its own restaurants and, like Thais, refugees from the Horn of Africa seem to open restaurants out of proportion with their overall population, but the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is hardly represented at all.)
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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-22, 0:21

linguoboy wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:Well, I detected it and didn't consider it random, and know Mongolian speakers here... I guess if I felt a need to be defensive about anything it would mainly be "it wasn't random". Calling it random and undetectable seems very dismissive of a population. And I did state in my first post that I know it varies by region.
'Wikipedia says there are 5,000 people of Mongolian origin in California (and another 3,000 to 4,000 in the Chicago area). Not huge, but not nonexistent.

As I said, there are about 10,000 Mongolians in the USA or about 0.003% of the population. In chemistry, that would be called a "trace element".

But it's not just about numbers. There are only about 25,000 Tibetans in the USA, yet they have a much higher profile. This is in no small part due to the Dalai Lama and the importance of the Tibetan tradition within American Buddhism. Tibetans here have established not just restaurants but also temples, study centres, galleries, shops, academic programmes, etc. Most USAmericans may not be able to find Tibet on a map, but they've heard of it at least and could name some things associated with Tibet due to the mark it's left on popular culture, being portrayed in movies, television, comics, etc. as an exotic locus of mysticism and magical power. I wouldn't call it one of the cultures with the "most" impact on American culture, but what impact it has had is at least detectable to someone living a city without a Tibetan community. You just can't say that about Mongolia.

Linguaphile wrote:I was just surprised (astonished, to be honest) that there wouldn't be any Mongolian food in Chicago or the Chicago area too and found some, that's all. But some of the posts did seem pretty dismissive or argumentative or something: first that it's probably not even Mongolian (yeah, I get that one because some are called "Mongolian" when they aren't), then okay maybe in some restaurants it's Mongolian food but it's not owned by Mongolians, then it's "only bordering the rest of the city proper on one side" so... what, now it doesn't count as Mongolian influence if the restaurant is not in the city proper or owned by Mongolians? :hmm: I wasn't trying to prove anything, just curious if I could find some (the idea that my town could have had more Mongolian food than a big city like Chicago with a larger Mongolian population was absolutely baffling) and glad to see that I could. So it's there, for those who want it.

I'm not saying it doesn't count; it was more of an aside than anything.

But, again, the subject of the thread is "influence" and the Schorsch River View dining scene is, shall we say, not exactly trend-setting within the city of Chicago, let alone the country as a whole. It surprises me not at all to find not one mention of this place in the local food press (despite the existence of food writers like Mike Sula who make it their mission to seek out obscure places selling minority Asian cuisine, even in the far-flung suburbs).

(We do have some odd gaps. It's only within the last 20 years that you've been able to get rijsttafel here, for instance. We have scores of South Asian restaurants, but they overwhelmingly serve Mughal cuisine. The regional selection has expanded in the last decade or so, but I still haven't seen a Bengali restaurant return since Bay of Bengal closed over twenty years ago. African food is especially spotty; we have a good-sized Nigerian community with its own restaurants and, like Thais, refugees from the Horn of Africa seem to open restaurants out of proportion with their overall population, but the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is hardly represented at all.)

I'm not trying to convince you there is a lot of Mongolian influence where you live or that Chicago (or Chicago-suburb) restaurants should influence the rest of the country or vice versa. I mentioned Mongolia only because it is one of the cultures that have had some influence where I live.

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-04-22, 1:41

For whatever it's worth, Linguaphile, I wasn't saying anything about anything you said. When I wrote "that doesn't sound much like Mongolian food to me," I was specifically referring to the restaurant Yasna linked to. I don't think there are any actual Mongolian restaurants here in Austin, though, only places with names such as "Mongolian Grill" (or heck, maybe just that one place called "Mongolian Grill") that serve(s?) Taiwanese-style hotpot or something like that that just happens to be called "Mongolian." We didn't even have an Uzbek restaurant here until a few years ago.
awrui wrote:That seems more like chinese and less like mongolian to me.

It doesn't even seem that much like Chinese food to me. Golden fish roll, as linguoboy said? With cheese?! Cheese??? Wagyu beef? Do people eat these things in Inner Mongolia? (I mean, who knows? Maybe they do these days!).
How can the lamb be happy when there are so many lamb dishes on the menue?! :para:

The lamb is happy not to deal with the world today. :twisted:
More seriously, "Happy Lamb" does sound very typical of Chinese names. There are a lot of things from China with "Happy" in the name. Happy China, Happy Journey through China, Happy Miao Family...
linguoboy wrote:We have scores of South Asian restaurants, but they overwhelmingly serve Mughal cuisine. The regional selection has expanded in the last decade or so, but I still haven't seen a Bengali restaurant return since Bay of Bengal closed over twenty years ago.

I have never seen a Bengali restaurant in my whole life. :o

There was briefly a Malayalee restaurant here, but FWIU and IIRC, the chefs were all North Indian, so that didn't last very long. There also is (or was, before COVID) a nice, relatively authentic North Indian vegetarian (Gujarati-owned) restaurant where I met TheStrayCat and a very authentic Chettinad restaurant near my house (and even closer to where I used to work)!
African food is especially spotty; we have a good-sized Nigerian community with its own restaurants and, like Thais, refugees from the Horn of Africa seem to open restaurants out of proportion with their overall population, but the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is hardly represented at all.

I think literally all we have in the whole city is two Ethiopian restaurants (one downtown, one in a suburb) and maybe one Moroccan cafe (or restaurant or something) downtown (I think it's called Al-Qasbah or something).

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Re: What foreign nation's popular culture has the most impact on America?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-22, 15:04

vijayjohn wrote:
How can the lamb be happy when there are so many lamb dishes on the menue?! :para:

The lamb is happy not to deal with the world today. :twisted:
More seriously, "Happy Lamb" does sound very typical of Chinese names.

I wonder if this is a chain because there are two Happy Lamb (快乐小羊) hot pot restaurants in Greater Chicago, one in South Chinatown and one in the suburbs. There's also one outpost of Little Sheep Hot Pot (小肥羊火锅), which is not only but a chain but one headquartered in Inner Mongolia, from where it originally sourced all its lamb. (I'm not sure if this is still the case now that it's been acquired by Yum! Brands.)

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:We have scores of South Asian restaurants, but they overwhelmingly serve Mughal cuisine. The regional selection has expanded in the last decade or so, but I still haven't seen a Bengali restaurant return since Bay of Bengal closed over twenty years ago.

I have never seen a Bengali restaurant in my whole life. :o

They seems to prefer running small markets with big frozen fish selections or sweet/snack shops. Among the latter, Sukhadiya's is one of the biggest and oldest in Chicago's Little India. (I tried taking my Guju buddy there last time he visited Chicago and of course he turned his nose up and insisted on going to the smaller Gujarati market down the street.) Apparently, another Bengali restaurant opened and closed in the last decade and I missed it. It was called Mithai Restora and had good reviews in the gora press but it seems that wasn't enough.
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