Showing Tag: "f" (Show all posts)

King Joy Lo, Early Elegant Banquet Restaurant in Chicago

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, In : Chinese restaurants 
As more acceptance of Chinese cuisine developed in the last quarter of the 19th century in large cities, Chinese formed partnerships to raise capital to fund the opening of opulent large banquet hall restaurants decorated with fine furnishings that provided an exoticized oriental ambiance, and extensive menu selections that introduced western diners to more authentic as well as Americanized Chinese dishes.

 A prime example of these dining palaces was the King Joy Lo restaurant opened in 1906 i...

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Selling The American Public On Eating in Chinese Restaurants

Posted by John Jung on Friday, April 20, 2018, In : Chinese restaurants 

Today, with the popularity and ubiquity of Chinese restaurants of many types, it is hard to realize that America initially was not attracted to eating in Chinese restaurants.  The dishes were markedly different from Western foods and Chinatowns were often dangerous places in run down parts of town so it was mainly Chinese who patronized Chinese restaurants. Besides, there were rumors that Chinese ate dogs as well as strange things.

             

In 1878 Benjamin Taylor was unimpressed with his ...

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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 ...

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Imperial Dynasty, China Alley, Hanford, CA.

Posted by John Jung on Friday, September 4, 2015, In : Chinese restaurants 

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The Sour Side of Chinese Restaurants

Posted by John Jung on Friday, August 21, 2015, In : restaurant workers 

A Chinese restaurant is not the easiest way to earn a living.  Patrons enjoy their meals, but know little about the difficult and demanding work over long hours each day that restaurant owners and workers endure.

The Sour Side of Chinese Restaurants is an article I published in Chinese American Forum to provide an overview of these aspects of this business based on news articles, oral histories, and research studies.  Here are several examples of the 'sour side' of runn...


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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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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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Hung Far Low Restaurant in Grand Rapids, MI

Posted by John Jung on Monday, July 30, 2012, In : Chinese restaurants 
A radio reading about an opening of a new Chinese restaurant , Hung Far Low,  in 1902 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This city has done a commendable project in celebrating its history with this and similar recordings by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission.

(Note: The link will not automatically play the audiofile. The easiest method is to click one of the STREAMING options such as MP3 via M3U  in the column on the far left of the screen under LISTEN TO AUDIO)

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Chinese Food Authenticity As Flexible, Not Fixed

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, In : Chinese food 
      Aficionados of Chinese, or for that matter, any cuisine obsess over the authenticity of a dish, as if this aspect was a guarantee of its gustatory delight.  Authenticity is revered as an inherent and immutable property of a dish. Yet.just as any language is not pure or fixed, but forever changing, such is true for food. 
      The studies of Chinese food in America by historian Haiming Liu provide an excellent illustration of what he calls 'flexible authenticity.' He notes that in the 19...

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1908 Satire of Chinese Food...in New Zealand

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, July 18, 2012,
          Chinese left their Guangdong villages for many parts of the world in the late 19th century, but no matter where they went, they were ridiculed as people in their host countries made fun of their speech, clothing, customs, and of course, food.  In the article below, mistitled "Chop Suey," perhaps because the name of that dish was stereotypical of Chinese food, the Chinese cook gets the last word in response to the white customer's joke. 

 


  (From New Zealand National Library)


 


 

...
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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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Chinese Food And Korea

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, February 9, 2012, In : Chinese food 

       Young-Kyun Yang, a Korean anthropologist, has studied the place of Chinese food in Korea.  In one paper published in the Korea Journal, he noted that "Chinese restaurants opened in Korea from the late 19th century to provide mostly male Chinese-Koreans with very simple food. Chinese foods were cooked, sold, and consumed exclusively by Chinese-Koreans until the 1940's. In the 1950's and 1960's, although the Chinese dominated the business, the food became a representative food for dini...


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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...

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"Authenticity" ... applied to Vietnamese Food

Posted by John Jung on Friday, June 24, 2011, In : Culture and cuisine 
Aliette de Bodard, a Vietnamese-French award winning sci-fi and fantasy author, made some valid points on the question of what constitutes 'authentic' food on her blog. These excerpts give you the flavor, pun intended, of her observations:

"What makes an authentic recipe? What is and is not an acceptable variant? [1] How should a cuisine as a whole be judged? Because truth is, like cultures, cuisines merge and adapt, and evolve. Sometimes, they adapt because they don’t have basic ingredi...
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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 ...
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Chinese Ran Hotels on the Canadian Prairies

Posted by John Jung on Monday, March 7, 2011,
Thanks to a blog created by an acquaintance, Joan Champ, a Canadian museum exhibit producer and historian in Saskatchewan I just learned about the role of Chinese immigrants operating small hotels during the Great Depression in addition to running small cafes.  For example, in Edam,SK., a Chinese who bore the name "Charlie Chan" ran a café, ice cream parlor and hotel. 
 After WWII, business declined for Chan's hotel as was true for other hotels, and Chinese moved on to focus on their small ...
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A 5 Star Chinese Restaurant in rural Hanford, Ca.

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, January 6, 2011, In : Chinese restaurants 
    One of the most unusual success stories among Chinese restaurants is that of the Imperial Dynasty restaurant opened by Richard Wing after WW II in a most unlikely place, Hanford, Ca., which is about half way between Los Angeles and Sacramento and not even located on the main north-south highway.  It was not your typical chop suey joint; in fact, some would say it wasn't really a Chinese restaurant so much as it was a forerunner of 'Chinoise" cuisine, Chinese food with a French accent.
    ...
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The high cost of Anglo humor re: a Chinese restaurant name

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, January 6, 2011, In : Chinese restaurants 
Red flowers such as peonies are popular among Chinese so it is not surprising that some Chinese used it for their restaurant name, which when transliterated becomes "Hung (red) Far (flower) Low" (building) or HUNG FAR LOW.  The Anglo perception, however, is that the name has sexual connotations related to the male sexual anatomy.  When the neon sign that proclaimed this restaurant name in Portland for almost a century was removed a few years ago, Portlanders felt a deep sense of loss and camp...
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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...
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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...

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Chinese restaurants spring up everywhere in the 1920s

Posted by John Jung on Friday, March 12, 2010, In : Chinese restaurants 
As the hostility and violence toward Chinese on the west coast escalated during the later part of the 19th century, more Chinese moved toward the middle of the country toward safety.  For a while, many of them opened laundry businesses but by the 1920s, they found it more attractive to start family-run restaurants.  Although they were run by Chinese, most of these restaurants beyond Chinese communities served mostly American dishes and only a few Chinese-like dishes such as chop suey, egg foo...
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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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