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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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“Chinese-American Cuisine” and the Authenticity of Chop Suey

“Chinese-American Cuisine” and the Authenticity of Chop Suey

(p.126) 7 “Chinese-American Cuisine” and the Authenticity of Chop Suey
Chop Suey, USA

Yong Chen

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses whether chop suey is Chinese in origin and why Chinese food has largely remained at the lower end in the hierarchy of mainstream American consumption. American consumers in general never developed an appetite for China's haute cuisine, such as shark's fins and bird's nest soup, finding them prohibitively expensive and much too exotic and complex. Most Americans preferred cheap and convenient dishes such as chop suey. As chop suey quickly gained national brand-name recognition, many Chinese restaurants came to be known simply as chop suey joints. By the early twentieth century, the chop suey type of Chinese food emerged as a distinctive cuisine, characterized by some Chinese Americans as “Chinese-American food”.

Keywords:   American consumers, Chinese cuisine, Chinese cooking, chop suey, consumption

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