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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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Introduction

Introduction

Chop Suey, The Big Mac of the Pre-Mcdonald’s Era

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Chop Suey, USA
Author(s):

Yong Chen

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168922.003.0011

This introductory chapter discusses the rise of Chinese food in America's gastronomical landscape in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and sets out the book's central question: Why did Chinese food become so popular in America? It argues that the long and winding journey of Chinese food to Main Street America is not simply a culinary story but one that is intrinsically connected to larger historical developments that shaped America and the transpacific world. To comprehend the development of America's Chinese food is to understand the division of labor along the lines of culture and race within American society. The rise of Chinese food is also a story not just of marginalization and exploitation but one of the resistance and perseverance of Chinese Americans in the face of enormous hostilities.

Keywords:   American Chinese food, culinary history, culture, race, American society, Chinese Americans

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