Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America. YONG CHEN question that unavoidably arises from the ubiquity of Chinese food in the United States. Chen (History/Univ. of California, Irvine; Chinese San Francisco, A Trans-Pacific Community, ) shows how enterprising. Two new books, one by Yong Chen and the other by Q. Edward Wang, trace the evolution of Chinese foodways over time and place.

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When Chinese eventually moved into regions with non-Chinese patrons, mostly from underprivileged groups than from the upper echelons of society, success of their restaurants involved a combination of factors.

View freely available titles: Journal of Asian American Studies. The mass production of food in Chinese restaurants also extended the role of Chinese Americans as a virtual service labor force and marked the racialized division of the American population into laborers and consumers.

From the mid 19th century, Chinese immigrants, and their foods, were viewed with scorn and ridicule for many decades.

Professor Chen grew up in China and came to America in the s as a graduate student, planning to return to China when he had earned his doctorate in American history.

Laura rated it really liked it Apr 19, American diners began flocking to Chinese restaurants more than a century ago, making Chinese cuisine the first mass-consumed food in the United States.

Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America

It wasn’t supposed to be the focus of the book, but I yyong this thesis a lot more interesting – and true – than most of the actual history that Chen digs up.

I got this book from netGalley. I do think there’s also a lot more that could be done ua some of the topics he discusses. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Chop suey and the foods that would constitute Chinese American yongg were born from affordability, as opposed to Chinese haute cuisine for which Americans did duey develop a taste. Those who engineered the epic tale of Chinese food were a politically disfranchised, numerically small, and economically exploited group, embodying a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship ylng perseverance.

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This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. As Chen pointed out, many Chinese who opened restaurants did not actually know how to cook before leaving China, but once here they quickly acquired minimal skills to survive by running a restaurant. Still, unlike many books in this category, Chen’s personal interest in his research area and his lack of concern for white intellectual conventions makes for a much be This book exemplifies Chinese scholarship in English: However, many typographical errors appeared in this printing-as many as one serious error per page-which detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Please provide an email address. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Chinese food’s transpacific migration and commercial success is both an epic story of sey cultural exchange and a history of the socioeconomic, cchen, and cultural developments that shaped the American appetite for fast food and cheap labor in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Although these books are almost identically titled, they are not at all similar. Byit had become the country’s most popular ethnic cuisine.

Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. When Chinese men came without their families to seek their fortunes during the midth-century gold rush, they faced racism and isolation.

Jul 05, Arlene Mullen rated it liked it. Y ong C hen.


Overall I liked it. Slavery after Rome, — Well cohp and really interesting. Chen’s research is highly impressive, but he often gets bogged down in details that obstruct the flow of the story he’s trying to tell, and the book itself is not ying as focused yomg the title makes it sound. A Cultural and Culinary History. Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert.

Jodi rated it liked it Jul 26, In explaining the chp of Chinese restaurants, Chen argues that Chinatown tourism—as a site of both abjection and fascination—set the tone for the Orientalist relationship between white consumers and Chinese laborers that would foreground the nature of Chinese restaurants and their popularity chap.

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There are a handful of recipes and graphs, and nearly pages of notes. They chose quick and simple dishes like chop suey over China’s haute cuisine, and the affordability of such Chinese food democratized the once-exclusive dining-out experience for underprivileged groups, such as marginalized Anglos, African Americans, and Jews.

He wrote from his heart, which makes a humane and happy book. Tedious, poorly written, and not that insightful. Thought this book would be closer to other books I’ve read in this particular chrn that looked at the origins of food like Orange Chicken, the rise of places like Panda Express and why Chinese restaurants are so popular with Jewish people, particularly at times like Christmas.

It turned out to be so much more.

Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America by Yong Chen

These cafes not only served their need for familiar foods but also facilitated cultural ties and social contact among Chinese. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Hsa account. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Return to Book Page. Instead, we get the story around the concept of Chinese food in the United States.

The vast majority of this information was completely new to me, so it was definitely worth a read. Chen provisionally highlights the African American connection through chop suey and mutual racial violence, but indicates that this encounter requires further study chap.

A great topic, but reads like an undergraduate research project that contains a lot of good data collection but needs more work on its thesis.

The fine eye to local studies is, refreshingly, not lost. Cyber rated it it was amazing Nov 13, The book is alot of his research about Chinese and their food in america.