Showing Tag: "co" (Show all posts)

Origin of the Chinese Restaurant Container for Leftovers?

Posted by John Jung on Saturday, February 13, 2016, In : Chinese restaurants 
Although it is rapidly being replaced by boring plain styrofoam or other plasticky rectangular boxes, for many years Chinese restaurants provided a distinctive trapezoidal-shaped paper 'pail' for patrons to take leftover food home.
 

What were the origins of this iconic object that characterized Chinese restaurants, second only to the fortune cookie?  I stumbled upon the following explanation.  In 1894 Frederick Weeks Wilcox patented containers he created by folding a single sheet of paper to ...

Continue reading ...
 

The Sun Is Setting on Mom and Pop Chinese restaurants

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, September 17, 2015, In : Chinese restaurants 


Mom and pop family-run Chinese restaurants across Canada, as elsewhere, are fast vanishing from the landscape and often replaced by larger and trendier partnered or chain eateries. My friend Connie Tsang, a Chinese Canadian photographer grew up in the Sunshine Restaurant of her immigrant parents in rural Ontario. She became galvanized to record the stories and images of these once ubiquitous eateries when her parents closed their restaurant a few years ago. She gave me permission to include i...
Continue reading ...
 

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 ...
Continue reading ...
 

Chinese Restaurants: Boxed In By Low Prices?

Posted by John Jung on Friday, June 29, 2012, In : Chinese restaurants 
    Chinese restaurants grew in popularity over the past century for many reasons ranging from their novelty, exotic appeal, good taste, and presumed positive impact on health.  Not to be overlooked is the lower price of meals at most Chinese restaurants, which gave them a competitive edge made possible by low overhead.  Located often in low-rent areas and staffed by no-wage family members who worked together over long days to enable the survival of their restaurants, they used low prices to ...
Continue reading ...
 

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...

Continue reading ...
 

Whatever happened to stainless steel serving dishes in Chinese restaurants?

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, July 12, 2011,
 Serving dishes like the one I am holding were commonly found in Chinese restaurants of a generation ago. What they lacked in "oriental" or "Chinese-y" decoration, these minimalist but clean designs by F. S. Louie Co. of Berkeley made up for by keeping your food hot over the entire meal.

At a book talk I gave in San Francisco this June to the Culinary Historians of Northern California at the small but charming Omnivore Bookstore, I was completely surprised by appearance of my friends, J...

Continue reading ...
 

Is the Food in Chinese American Cookbooks "Authentic"?

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, In : Culture and cuisine 
       The issue of 'authenticity' inevitably surfaces when ethnic foods of any type, Chinese or other, are evaluated. I have often wondered to what extent "foodie snobbism" is at work.  Food dishes, like language, evolve over time and differ over space. Can there be a single recipe that is the authentic version for a dish? Who 'decides,' and using what yardstick, whether a dish is 'authentic'? And, is authenticity the end all which trumps even 'great taste'?
      I recently stumbled upon an ...
Continue reading ...
 

Association of Chinese Cooking Teachers Potluck, Alameda, Ca.

Posted by John Jung on Saturday, November 6, 2010, In : Book talks 

What a wonderful and unique venue for speaking about "Sweet and Sour" in July! After socializing with a vibrant group of Chinese foodies, munching on the cornucopia of delicious and attractively presented dishes prepared by members, and watching some amazing cooking and watermelon 'carving' demonstrations, I got to talk about my book, with the aid of a contributor to the book, the noted artist, Flo Oy Wong, who grew up in her family's restaurant in nearby Oakland Chinatown. We also ha...
Continue reading ...
 

Friends of Foo's Ho Ho Restaurant Fundraiser, Vancouver, May 27, 2010

Posted by John Jung on Friday, June 4, 2010, In : Book talks 
Although the evening event focused on Chinese laundries because the three speakers, Elwin Xie, Judy Fong Bates, and yours truly, all shared experiences of growing up in our family laundries, I also was able to talk about the origins and characteristics of family-run Chinese restaurants, the focus of "Sweet and Sour."  

Here is a  detailed description of the event and photos of the traditional village dishes served    ,

 
   
 What better setting in which to make a presentation about this iconic C...

Continue reading ...
 
 
 

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.
Make a Free Website with Yola.