Each time John Jung comes to the (San Diego Historical) museum to present his books about the experience of Chinese laundries, Chinese markets, being the only Chinese family in town, and now, Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants, so many Chinese immigrants and their children share in the experiences that he describes that t evokes the nostalgic atmosphere of a family reunion.                                        Alex Stewart,                                   San Diego Chinese History Museum

 John Jung  was hilarious in his frankness of  the Chinese way of not adorning their restaurants and adapting whatever building they rented.

I attended your talk at the San Francisco library and found it not only informative but very entertaining as well.

Bravo! Wonderful talk on my favorite of all of your books!  Thank YOU for being the object of our overwhelming attendance and I hope you sold a few books to the attendees!  The food was good at the Forbidden City, the ambience was great, and you proved that you were the "man of the hour"!  Thank you for "being" our event."    Hazel Wallace, President , U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association-Long Beach 

 We, the younger generation of Chinese Americans, all appreciated your presentation of Sweet & Sour, the story is full of laughter and tears for the audiences.  Dan Huynh 

Thanks for a great presentation !!!! As I told you earlier today, my friends were greatly impressed with you and your info on Chinese families of restaurant owners... Again, THANKS and it is an honor to meet you and hope to see more of you in Portland again.     Bruce Wong


Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants" tackles the long-neglected topic of Chinese food with a focus on Chinese restaurants. This well-researched, thoughtfully conceptualized monograph brings academic rigor and adds historical depth, as well as the perspectives of an insightful scholar and a second-generation Chinese American, to our understanding of the development of Chinese food in the realm of public consumption in the United States and Canada. It promises to elevate that understanding to a higher level... Through this book, I hope, consumers at the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants can also gain a deeper appreciation of historical forces and human experiences that have shaped the food they now enjoy.   Yong Chen, U. Calif, Irvine. "San Francisco Chinese 1850-1943:A Trans-Pacific Community."

 John Jung has taken us down another memory lane and this time we brought along our appetite. "Sweet & Sour" evoked hundreds of memories of Chinatowns, favorite soul food dishes, haunts of opulent and garish banquet halls and the more frequented and beloved hole-in-the walls. These are the collective memories shared by families and friends. Sweet & Sour is also an anthropological study. Chinese cooks across these United States and Canada created an everlasting love for Chinese food enjoyed by all cultures. Find a “chop suey” house and generations upon generations will cite their favorites, be it chow mein, fried rice, beef brisket stew or even chicken feet. Without a doubt this is by far Jung’s best work and with the greatest universal appealSylvia Sun Minnick, "Samfow: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy"

John Jung again demonstrates a marvelous ability to blend archival data with fascinating first-person accounts to bring to life the family-operated Chinese eateries that are quickly disappearing from today’s society. Following solid historical groundwork, Jung uses narratives of 10 individuals who grew up in such places to take readers inside old-time chop suey houses. Their stories provide a candid telling of the personal, familial, and cultural significance of these familiar cafes. As with his earlier books on Chinese family-owned laundries and grocery stores, the author sheds a fresh and ample light on a subject even more familiar. And once again he does it so well from the inside out. Mel Brown, "Chinese Heart of Texas: The San Antonio Community 1875-1975."

"Sweet And Sour" is a powerful historical exploration of an American institution: the family-owned Chinese restaurant. John Jung succeeds in bringing to life the exterior side of such Chinese eateries across the nation--their appearance, their location, and of course, their hybrid, Americanized menu offerings. In addition, by means of a variety of interviews and primary sources, he focuses attention as well on their little-known private side, the daily routines and harsh working conditions that made them run. Jung underlines the contributions of all family members, including children that were necessary for success.
Greg Robinson,  University of Quebec, Montreal. "A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America"

"Sweet and Sour" covers many important aspects of the Chinese restaurant business and it is a great contribution to the study of Chinese food in America. This area really deserves more attention than it has had.  Haiming Liu,  Calif. State Polytechnic Univ, Pomona.  

I greatly admired and enjoyed  "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants"  It does an excellent job of going over the historical background on early U. S. Chinese restaurants, unearthing lots of material new to me. And   the interviews of Chinese restaurateurs opened up a whole new side to the story, of what it was like to work and live in these restaurants.
 Andrew Coe, "Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States" 

   Fast disappearing, their  

Fast disappearing, their restaurants were small places now replaced by franchises, chains, and Chinese from other regions who serve different Chinese cuisines. This book, a memory-lane must-read volume, is about places and lives of the Chinese restaurant owners. It blends archival information, myriads of memories, and historical explorations about early Chinese family-owned family-operated restaurants, most in the south.        Learn about their harsh working conditions, savor the interviews, put yourself in those primary source statements, and see the pictures--most never before seen. Glean contributions the many family members made. Garner the whys of their success. Get deep into the washing of dishes, wiping flatware and tabletops, even stir-frying chop suey and chow mein. 

Jacqueline M. Newman, Editor

Flavor and Fortune Magazine ere


You've made some amazing observations, wrote them down with sincerity, and I wholeheartedly support you on it.  You've brought back some fond memories and I'm sure it will touch other folks like myself that have gone through it.    Dave  Chow

This retired psychology prof. is devoting himself to Chinese American history. Met him at a talk in Vancouver. Brings back childhood memories as most of the people interviewed are from Toisan like my family. We could always go into a new town, drop in at a Chinese restaurant and be welcomed. Dad would run out and say, "they're cousins!" Now I know he meant they were from Toisan.  It also is a nice little account on the history of restaurants in America and changing trends.   Rosemary Eng

 "When reading Sweet and Sour, I was struck by how it is both a work of scholarship and a documentation of the experience of Chinese restaurant workers. It serves to teach us about their experiences on multiple levels."

  Heather Lee, Brown University

I am reading your delightful book, Sweet and Sour.  I especially like the "Insider Perspectives" section.  Those first-hand experiences can generate a lot of potentially testable hypotheses about how the Chinese were able to provision their remote restaurants with exotic ingredients while other ethnic groups could not.  

Susan  B. Carter, 

University of California, Riverside

I bought two books (Chinese Laundries,… Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants) that night, then ordered the 3rd  one online (Southern Fried Rice) later on.  Haven’t been able to put them down.

As a first generation Chinese growing up in my parents' restaurant, I want to say thank you for your great book: Sweet and Sour.   Jin Lee

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