Chinese Food For The Uninitiated Masses

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 In : Chinese food 
In the early 20th century when there was a growing popularity of chop suey and chow mein among Americans, two enterprising University of Michigan students,Wally Smith and Ilhan New, neither of whom were Chinese, hit upon the idea of creating and mass marketing a line of prepackaged Chinese foods.  Thus,  La Choy, a coined name to generate the feeling that the foods were ‘oriental’ was born in 1922.   Wally Smith, owner of a  grocery store in Detroit  wanted to sell fresh bean sprou...

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Chinese in Italy

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 In : Chinese food 
Chinese immigration to Italy has increased dramatically over the past decade or two.  As in other places, culture clashes sometimes occur and Chinese and Italians experience similar problems.  Award winning journalist Suzanne Ma, a Chinese Canadian, who has a novel "Meet Me in Venice" coming out in February 2015, presents a charming and insightful talk about the negative feelings toward the influx of Chinese, and their food, in Italy.

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The Hard Life of Chinese Restaurant Workers

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 In : restaurant workers 
It has never been an easy job working in a Chinese restaurant.  Whether you were a cook, waiter, busboy, the hours were long, the pay was low, and the working conditions poor.  The earlier source of this labor was primarily from Guangdong and the cuisine was Cantonese but after President Nixon's ping pong diplomacy in the early 1970s broke through the Bamboo Curtain, a shift toward another impoverished province, Fujian, as the primary source of labor rapidly expanded. And, they introduced a ...
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Chop Suey Sandwich, Anyone?

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 In : Chinese food 
Chop suey was once the rage for diners across the land but has long fallen out of favor.  A sandwich 'variant,'  however, that was found in parts of New England still seems to be a regional favorite, along with its cousin, the chow mein sandwich.


 
According to Wikipedia,
"
Originating in Fall River, Massachusetts, in the 1930s or 1940s, the chow mein sandwich, which typically consists of a hamburger-style bun with a brown gravy-based chow mein mixture placed between and served hot, is popular o...

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Eating His Way Through Chinatowns of America

Posted by John Jung on Friday, October 25, 2013 In : Chinese restaurants 
Chinese food today, comes in almost as many varieties as the Heinz 57 food products, and isn't the same as it used to be. It is indeed an enviable pastime to try them all, but somebody had to do it, and David Chan, a third generation Chinese American living in Los Angeles has the stomach (claims to have eaten in over 6200 Chinese restaurants so far), and the brains, for finding and reporting on great places for all types of Chinese cuisine.  He has several appetizing culinary posts on this fa...
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Who Ate What in Early Chinatown Cafes?

Posted by John Jung on Sunday, October 20, 2013 In : Chinese restaurants 
The early Chinese cafes were quite different from what Chinese restaurants have become today. They served working class Chinese immigrants who, due to exclusionary laws, lived in bachelor societies. They did not cater to the tourist trade, although they did attract and serve non-Chinese as well. A brief glimpse into one New York Chinese eating hole in 1892 shows that the patronage were varied.



The dining area was a large room dimly lit by oil lamps mounted along the walls. Chinese waiters, wit...

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Cleveland Chinese Restaurants of the First Half of the 20th Century

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 In : Chinese restaurants 


Cleveland, Ohio never had a large Chinese immigrant population.  The 1920 U. S. Census records show there were about 240 Chinese there, the highest number in the early 20th century.  That total includes children, so the number of adults was even smaller.  Yet, there were many Chinese restaurants, as shown in the montage above, that operated there from around the 1920s to 1960s for the most part. The 12 restaurants shown above from picture postcards were rather large and nicely decorated.  Man...
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What Chinese Restaurant Families Ate But Left Off Their Menus

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 In : Chinese food 
Chinese families in the restaurant business had their favorite dishes that they didn't dare put on the menu if most of their patrons were not Chinese.  Think of it as Chinese 'soul food,' delicious but unassuming dishes that were popular back in the Guangdong villages from where most of the early Chinese immigrants came from.

Ralph Young grew up working in his family restaurant in California and recalls:

My dad liked to cook pig stomachs.  He would take out the thick portions first; tho...


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About Me


John Jung After retiring from a 40-year career as a psychology professor, I published 4 books about Chinese immigrants that detail the history of their laundries, grocery stores, and family restaurants in the U. S. and Canada.
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