Showing Tag: "ho" (Show all posts)

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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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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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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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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Study of Chinese Impact on Small Town Canadian Culture Via Chinese Cafe Menus

Posted by John Jung on Saturday, March 31, 2012, In : Chinese restaurants 
  

A recent book published by Lily Cho, a Chinese Canadian professor of English, Eating Chinese: Culture on the Menu in Small Town Canada, examines the impact of Chinese Canadian cafes across the small prairie towns on their communities by analyzing the content of their menus! The fact that her father opened such a cafe in the Yukon despite never having previously worked as a cook led her to analyze the role that these community gathering places played in their communities. Despite decades of ...
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Chinese Owners of Pennant Hotel in Saskatchewan

Posted by John Jung on Wednesday, March 23, 2011,
     Chinese not only ran restaurants on the Canadian prairies but also managed small hotels, that they saved from going out of business during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
 "The Pennant Hotel was not, strictly speaking, a family business. Rather, it was run by several men – relatives or friends – who worked as partners. This was necessary because, from 1885 until well into the 20th century, restrictive immigration laws prevented Chinese from bringing their wives and children to Cana...

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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 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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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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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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