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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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The Cradle of Chinese Food

The Cradle of Chinese Food

(p.71) 4 The Cradle of Chinese Food
Chop Suey, USA

Yong Chen

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the critical role that American Chinatown played in the transplantation and spread of Chinese food. As a cradle of America's Chinese food, Chinatown was where this food was first transplanted in the early 1850s. In the decades that followed, when anti-Chinese animosity was on the rise, Chinatown existed as a sanctuary; at the end of the nineteenth century, Chinatown became a launching pad for Chinese food to extend to non-Chinese neighborhoods. Simply put, without Chinatown, there would be no American Chinese food as we know it. At the same time, Chinese food defined Chinatown. Various food places represented not only the biggest cluster among all businesses in the Chinese community but also its most conspicuous markers—visual and olfactory—for both Chinese and non-Chinese.

Keywords:   American Chinese food, American Chinatown, Chinese community, Chinese restaurants

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