Showing Tag: "restaurant" (Show all posts)

What's In A Name?

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, April 14, 2016, In : Chinese restaurants 
How do Chinese choose names for restaurants?  Although they change over time most of them seem to consist of a limited combination of a few terms.  Thus, Golden, Silver, Jade, Imperial, Panda, China, Hong Kong might be combined with terms like Palace, Dragon, House, City, Wok.

One empirical study by Frank Shyong and David Chan based on close to 7,000 restaurant names gathered from several decades confirmed this impression as they found a high repetitiveness of Chinese restaurant names.

Why?  Th...

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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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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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Who Ate What in Early Chinatown Cafes?

Posted by John Jung on Sunday, October 20, 2013, In : Chinese restaurants 
The early Chinese cafes were quite different from what Chinese restaurants have become today. They served working class Chinese immigrants who, due to exclusionary laws, lived in bachelor societies. They did not cater to the tourist trade, although they did attract and serve non-Chinese as well. A brief glimpse into one New York Chinese eating hole in 1892 shows that the patronage were varied.



The dining area was a large room dimly lit by oil lamps mounted along the walls. Chinese waiters, wit...

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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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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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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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Chinese Family Restaurants "Down Under"

Posted by John Jung on Tuesday, May 10, 2011,
The story of the Chinese family restaurants outside of North America is remarkably similar in other parts of the world where the Chinese diaspora of the mid to late 19th century spread. 
Barbara Nichol has written about the history of Chinese restaurants in Melbourne, Australia from 1830-1950. "The restaurant industry was central to the way many in the Chinese community supported themselves and their families back in China over the early decades. Return visits home and the opportunity to de...
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Joy Young Restaurant, Birmingham

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, January 6, 2011, In : Chinese restaurants 
There were few Chinese in the Deep South during most of the last century so it is not surprising that there were few Chinese restaurants there, and those that did exist did not serve the same Chinese dishes found in New York or San Francisco Chinese restaurants.  Perhaps the Joy Young Restaurant, in Birmingham, Ala. was the best known and largest Chinese restaurant in the South until it closed sometime in the 1970s.  Its fried chicken (this was the South) was one of its most popular items alo...
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Chinese restaurant stereotypes

Posted by John Jung on Thursday, November 11, 2010,
When most people think about Chinese family restaurants, they think of:
  •    quick preparation,
  •    poor and sometimes indifferent, if not rude, "service"
  •   makeshift or mismatched interior decor,
  •   shabby and often funky exterior appearance,
  •   located in slummy neighborhoods
Although their comments do not come from a "random" sample, postings on websites such as YELP clearly confirm these views of Chinese restaurant patrons. So why have they been so popular for so many decades?  Despite these problem...
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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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A Personal Discovery

Posted by John Jung on Friday, June 4, 2010, In : family 
During the research process for Sweet and Sour, I suddenly realized that I had relatives on my mother's side living in Saskatchewan that I had never met.  As I was learning that virtually every small town across Canada, especially in the prairies, had a small Chinese-run cafe, I wondered if my cousins had also had a Chinese restaurant.  After some effort, a bit of luck, and half a dozen phone calls, I was able to locate a second cousin by phone who confirmed that one cousin had in fact run a ...
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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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What Led to this Book

Posted by John Jung on Friday, March 12, 2010, In : Chinese restaurants 
     For someone who never ate in a Chinese restaurant until he was 15, mainly because he grew up in the 1940s in a place where not a single Chinese restaurant existed for over a 100 miles, it is odd that I would find myself writing about this ubiquitous and widely popular 'institution' for eating all across the world.
    Had it not been for the fact that a retired Chinese restaurateur in attendance at a talk I was giving about Mississippi Delta Chinese grocery store families approached me af...

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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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