Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

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Oxford University Press, Jun 24, 2009 - Cooking - 320 pages
29 Reviews
In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the United States--by far the most plentiful among all our ethnic eateries. Now, in Chop Suey Andrew Coe provides the authoritative history of the American infatuation with Chinese food, telling its fascinating story for the first time. Its a tale that moves from curiosity to disgust and then desire. From China, Coes story travels to the American West, where Chinese immigrants drawn by the 1848 Gold Rush struggled against racism and culinary prejudice but still established restaurants and farms and imported an array of Asian ingredients. He traces the Chinese migration to the East Coast, highlighting that crucial moment when New York Bohemians discovered Chinese cuisine--and for better or worse, chop suey. Along the way, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop sueys origins; reveals why American Jews fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; shows how President Nixons 1972 trip to China opened our palates to a new range of cuisine; and explains why we still cant get dishes like those served in Beijing or Shanghai. The book also explores how American tastes have been shaped by our relationship with the outside world, and how weve relentlessly changed foreign foods to adapt to them our own deep-down conservative culinary preferences. Andrew Coes Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States is a fascinating tour of Americas centuries-long appetite for Chinese food. Always illuminating, often exploding long-held culinary myths, this book opens a new window into defining what is American cuisine.
 

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Review: Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

User Review  - Desiree Koh - Goodreads

I do not care very much for American Chinese food. I know there is a place for Panda Express, orange chicken, broccoli beef, chow mein, lo mein, China Buffets, pot stickers with skin so thick you ... Read full review

Review: Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

User Review  - Chloe - Goodreads

I absolutely adored this book. I'm Chinese-American from a community with more Asian people than white, but I never fully appreciated the access I had to top quality Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and ... Read full review

Contents

1 Stags Pizzles and Birds Nests
1
2 Putrified Garlic on a Muchused Blanket
38
3 Coarse Rice and Water
64
4 Chinese Gardens on Gold Mountain
103
5 A Toothsome Stew
144
6 American Chop Suey
180
7 Devouring the Duck
211
Photo Credits
253
Notes
255
Bibliography
265
Index
279
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Andrew Coe has written for Saveur, Gastronomica, and the New York Times, is a coauthor of Foie Gras: A Passion and has contributed to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. He has dined at Chinese restaurants around the world and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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