Eating China Chinese Food
Main: Chinese Food Articles about Chinese Food Chinese food Facts Chinese Food Recipes Chinese Food Books Main menu
  Learn about Chinese cuisine. With cooking tips, interesting snippets,
blog, and authentic dishes from China and Taiwan. | 中國食跡
 
 
 

Is Chop Suey Chinese or American?

Chop suey. Sounds Chinese, looks Chinese. There was no reason to question its Chinese credentials, until word slowly started to spread that chop suey is not really Chinese at all, but a dish invented in America for American tastes. Chop suey was first concocted in a San Francisco restaurant in the late 19th century. The story goes that, having sold out of food, the restaurant was in the process of closing for the evening, when a group of unsavoury characters arrived, demanding a meal. The cook felt compelled to improvise from leftover kitchen scraps. These bits and pieces were combined in a wok, and what emerged a few minutes later was chop suey, soon to become America's favourite (but unauthentic) Chinese dish. There are variations on this tale, but according to anthropologist En. N. Anderson none of them are true. The real origin of chop suey, Anderson says, lies far to the west of the Golden Gate Bridge, in Taishan (Toishan), a county (now a city) of the Pearl River Delta in southern Guangdong, China. Taishan was home to 60 percent of Chinese migrants to America in the second half of the 19th century – surrounding counties supplied most of the other 40 percent. For a hundred years the food served by these folks in America and other countries, completely defined western perceptions of Chinese cuisine. Taishan is known for dishes that combine many different kinds of vegetables – your basic mixed stir fry, something uncommon in other parts of China. So is chop suey a real Chinese dish? Yes. Is it Americanised? No doubt.

Sources: The Food of China
The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas

 
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Featured Chinese Food Recipe
How to make Chinese Dongpu pork recipe  

Dongpo Pork
東坡肉

 
Featured Chinese Food Snippets

Tea: China's Greatest Export

Chinese cuisine has been exported to the world very successfully. Tea is the one, singular item that has eclipsed all individual Chinese foodstuffs and even the cuisine itself in its influence on the wider world. A drink enjoyed in all its various forms by everyone from Japanese Emperors to Russian peasants … more

More Chinese Food Facts

Chinese Cooking Tips