Man, if there's one thing that I learned while operating a Chinese restaurant, it's that everyone seems to think that they're an expert in Chinese food. For example, you'll get the one customer who comes in telling me that he/she is a huge fan of Chinese food and that my restaurant serves the best...then he/she proceeds to order stuff like chicken balls, garlic spareribs, eggrolls, chicken fried rice, etc.

Then we get the customers who order what they think is the more "authentic" stuff...things like Imperial Chicken, General Tso's Chicken, Hunan Beef, etc, and proceed to tell me that the dishes I serve can't be authentic because they had a different version at the local Chinese buffet house.

Anyway, my point is this...most Westerners will never truly get a taste of authentic Chinese food unless they actually eat at a Chinese family's house. What you get at the restaurants, even at the "authentic" ones, are watered-down and generally Western-friendly. The only exception is probably dim sum where you get all the same dumplings and entrails that we enjoy. Otherwise, you're out of luck unless you can read the Chinese menus where you'll find true stuff like stinky salted fish (the smell itself would probably drive you away). This is also true for many other Asian cultures...for example, what you eat at a Thai restaurant is also watered-down because most Westerners would never be able to handle the intense flavours of true Thai food.