What the Hell is an Oriental Deli?

IMG_6551, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

So what’s the deal here, do you get a pastrami sandwich with an eggroll on the side instead of a pickle? Anyway, I thought Oriental wasn’t the preferred nomenclature anymore…

12 Comment

  • Im pretty sure its “chinaman” that isnt the preferred nomenclature anymore, dude.

  • No, PoP is right. The word has negative connotations associated with it. In fact, Washington state “illegalized” the term a few years back.

  • I was always under the impression that people of the far eastern geographic persuasion couldnt/shouldnt be termed ‘oriental’ but that objects could be classified as such in a generalized definition of a product originating from an undisclosed location…

    ie: Oriental Rug
    These rugs normally come from a broad geographical region extending from China and Vietnam in the east to Turkey and Iran in the west and the Caucasus in the north to India in the south (Wikipedia).

    Oriental rugs are organized by origin: Persian rugs, Anatolian rugs, Kurdish rugs, Caucasian rugs, Central Asian rugs, Turkestanian rugs, Chinese rugs, and Tibetan rugs (Wiki).

    Soo.. if I were to recieve a kosher eggroll with my pastrami on rye I would havta assume that the idea and/or product originated in an undisclosed geographically eastern locale generalized from the Latin word ‘oriens’ meaning “east” (lit. “rising”

  • People from China refer to Asia in English as “the Orient” and Asian things as Oriental. There is no negative connotation with the word if you’re from China. People I know from Japan do not like the word Asian because they believe that their culture has nothing to do with Indonesia.

    In the UK, people of Indian or Pakistani decent call themselves Asian. In the US I have yet to meet someone from the Subcontinent who wants to compare their culture with vastly different China in some large lump. I usually hear them say South Asian, or simply refer to the country they’re from.

    The word Deli does not refer to a place where one can get a certain kind of NY sandwich anywhere outside of NY/NJ. Sorry if it confuses you, but I remember delis that served nothing but soul food.

  • I’m Korean and I like to be refered to as Asian. I generally think Oriental as ‘things’ while the people are Asian. But I also think it is really a personal preference for some (esp depending on where they are from) so to each his/her own. I mean I think if you aren’t sure, use your best judgement, if someone doesn’t like it, then try to not do it again…at least you tried and you learned.

  • Perhaps it was supposed to say “Oriental Dehli”……..

    I am also Korean and I prefer Asian, btw. But as I always say, call me anything but late for dinner!:-)

  • Asian has really taken over for Oriental. Though I am neither, I have always found both words too vague for my purposes. When at all possible, I try to specify country of origin, as Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, rather than lumping together peoples who have different languages, cultures, foods and political situations. Of course, there are some similarities. But anyway, what is the oriental deli mentioned?

  • Flipflopirate explains it quite well. I’m Chinese and I prefer “Asian”. DCer, I’ve never met anyone in the Chinese community who calls Asia “the Orient”.

  • DCer, I’ve never met anyone in the Chinese community who calls Asia “the Orient”.
    Ha. I know many, many. I talked to one of my staff today about it. He’s from Shanghai.

    Are you ABC? I said “People from China” not Chinese-American. Americans would say Asian as you suggested.

  • ummm.. folks, interesting conversation but, comeon–what’s an Oriental Deli?!

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