When it comes to Chinese food, it’s not an overstatement to say that Southern California almost has it all. Chances are, discernible eaters can find anything their hearts desire in the San Gabriel Valley, from dishes everyone knows to street foods originating in obscure parts of China.
But that hasn’t been the case always, and certainly never so in most other parts of this country. The popularization of Chinese food in America parallels the growth of the country’s Chinese immigrant community. Just as it took time for Chinese immigrants to assimilate and become accepted, so has the cuisine.
In “Chop Suey, USA,” UC Irvine historian Yong Chen looks at the cultural, economic and sociological factors that have brought Chinese food to the mainstream.
Yong Chen, a history professor at UC Irvine who focuses on the economic and cultural interactions between China and the U.S. He is the author of “Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America” (Columbia University Press, 2014)
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