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Chop Suey, USAThe Story of Chinese Food in America$
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Yong Chen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168922

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168922.001.0001

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Why Is Chinese Food So Popular?

Why Is Chinese Food So Popular?

(p.8) 1 Why Is Chinese Food So Popular?
Chop Suey, USA

Yong Chen

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers various factors that account for the popularity of Chinese food in the United States. For the Chinese, their food prevailed in the United States because it was the best cuisine in the world. French historian Fernand Braudel also argued that Chinese food comparable to French food and believed that the reason for its prevalence is gastronomical. However, tracing the rise of Chinese food means going beyond the realm of gastronomy to see it as a result of cultural globalization. One important aspect of cultural globalization is curiosity about exotic cultures for vicarious pleasure. The chapter also looks into the obstacles to the mainstream acceptance of Chinese food, including the image of the Chinese as eaters of repulsive foods, such as rats.

Keywords:   Fernand Braudel, gastronomy, globalization, tourism, rats

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