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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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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...
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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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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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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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Memories of Chinese Canadian Restaurant Food 1940s-50s

Posted by John Jung on Monday, July 2, 2012, In : Chinese restaurants 

       Chinese Canadian historian Larry Wong reminisced about favorite Chinatown restaurant dishes he had while growing up in Vancouver in his blog, "Ask Larry."

Cho San

As can be expected, in the 40s and 50s, no matter where you go in Chinatown, the cuisine was Cantonese. And the meals were cheap. My older brother used to tell me lunch was twenty-five cents when he was growing up. Lunch was a bowl of rice, soup and some meat and vegetable.

In a 1950s issue of the Chinatown News, there was an ad...


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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 ...
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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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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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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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