Showing Tag: "chop" (Show all posts)

The Chop Suey Mystique

Posted by John Jung on Monday, December 1, 2014, In : Chinese food 
Chop Suey: Its Rise and Fall

In 1898, China Viceroy Li Huang Chang came to the U. S. on a diplomatic mission.  In New York and Philadelphia  he was feted and  large crowds welcomed him like a conquering hero.  It was during this trip that the story that one evening the diplomat wanted Chinese food instead of the typical American banquet fare.  Legend has it that a Chinese chef had to improvise since he was given short notice so he could only toss together left over vegetable cuttings from the ...

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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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"Genuine American Chop Suey Served Here"

Posted by John Jung on Monday, July 2, 2012, In : Chinese food 
      Considered by some to be the Julia Child of Chinese cookbooks, Grace Zia Chu was a pioneer Chinese cooking teacher and cookbook writer with her 1962 "Pleasures of Chinese Cooking" and 1975 "Madame Chu's Chinese Cooking School."  She died in 1999 at the ripe age of 99 but not without making a significant impact on the way Americans understood and appreciated the cooking of Chinese food.
      She will be also remembered for a much less important but nonetheless amusing tidbit.  She claime...
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Chop Suey and Issue of Authenticity Again

Posted by John Jung on Monday, June 4, 2012, In : Chinese food 
     
    Historian Charles. W. Hayford published a wonderful article that discussed the place of chop suey in the history of Chinese restaurant fare.   Although widely disparaged as not being authentic, Haywood points out it is "authentic" as American-Chinese food.

   On the overemphasis on authenticity, he notes that he has on occasion had dreary (but authentic) Peking duck in China while enjoying 
excellent (but inauthentic) sweet and sour pork in the U. S. He shared an amusing incident on a ...

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Fads and Fashions in Food Followup

Posted by John Jung on Friday, May 25, 2012,
In an earlier post, I used Google Books Ngram tool to show that the frequency with which popular Chinese foods were mentioned in printed books corresponded closely with the opposite trends in popularity of chop suey and dim sum over the past half century or so.  
As a followup, I checked on how well these iconic Chinese foods compared with 'fortune cookie' and 'fried rice,' two other very popular Chinese restaurant foods.  The results below show that by the early 1980s dim sum was mentioned mo...

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Chop Suey in Samoa!

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, In : Chinese food 
            Helen Wong, of Auckland, New Zealand, has been one of my faithful correspondents for several years. Since she is a dedicated poster of information from all over the world about the Overseas Chinese, about a year ago I asked her whether chop suey was as popular down under as it used to be in North America. She observed:
           Up to the 1960s most people ate at home... In the early 70s, some Chinese men arrived here, and started Hong Kong Style takeaways. There were some restaur...

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A Century of Fads and Fashions in Chinese Food

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, January 6, 2011, In : Chinese restaurants 



hop Suey had a meteoric rise (blue line) in popularity from 1900 to about 1940, after which it drops rapidly and leveled off after 1960. In contrast, during the 1960s dim sum (red line) was 'discovered' and became rapidly trendy and is still increasingly popular. These differences are mirrored in the frequency with which each of them is mentioned in word counts by Google based on their millions of scanned books. If you;d like to play with this tool by entering other year spans or other food...
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How Distasteful Chinese food became attractive to Non-Chinese

Posted by John Jung on Friday, March 12, 2010,
The earliest Chinese were peasant stock, and their food, considered disgusting by whites, did not make their restaurants or 'fan deem' attractive to non-Chinese.  Much ridicule was heaped upon the Chinese and their food preferences which were quite foreign to non-Chinese.  It was not until whites became fascinated by news of a dish called "chop suey" that suddenly Chinese restaurants became popular, especially among well-to-do whites who regarded it daring to go 'slumming' and eat in Chinatow...
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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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