Chop Suey, Believe It or Not, Turned The Tide for Chinese Restaurant Business
From the early 1900s well until mid-century, chop suey houses, with their colorful store signs could be found across the U. S. and Canada in large as well as small cities. Curiosity about the publicity surrounding this American-Chinese concoction when newspaper reported that a high ranking Chinese diplomat had raved about the dish led non-Chinese to go "slumming" into the dangerous and wild regions of Chinatown to check it out. That opening introduced Cantonese Chinese food to the public, and many Chinese found it to be a suitable alternative to hand laundries, which were dying out with the availability of home washing equipment. Then, by the 1960s, as newer Chinese cuisines became popular and with the retirement of the earlier generations of Chinese restaurateurs, their Chop Suey signs disappeared, or if they remained on the buildings, the faded signage told the obvious. Chop suey had had its day, as the building pictured below clearly shows!