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Chop Suey, USA


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Table of Contents

Preface: The Genesis of the Book Acknowledgments Introduction: Chop Suey, the Big Mac of the Pre-McDonald's Era 1. Why Is Chinese Food So Popular? 2. The Empire and Empire Food 3. Chinese Cooks as Stewards of Empire 4. The Cradle of Chinese Food 5. The Rise of Chinese Restaurants 6. The Makers of American Chinese Food 7. "Chinese-American Cuisine" and the Authenticity of Chop Suey 8. The Chinese Brillat-Savarin Conclusion: The Home of No Return Afterword: Why Study Food? Notes Bibliography Index

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An epic tale of globalized cultural exchange by means of our first "fast food."

About the Author

Yong Chen, raised by his food-loving mother in China, is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and served as the institution's associate dean of graduate studies. Among his numerous publications are Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community. He co-curated a museum exhibit on the history of Chinese restaurants in the United States, and his commentaries on food, immigration, and Sino-American relations appear frequently in the media in four languages.


Well organized and breathtakingly broad in its geographic scope, Chop Suey, USA is an utterly original and significant contribution to the field. Yong Chen has done a superb job. No one has attempted anything like this. -- Hasia Diner, New York University A thoroughly researched, highly readable account of the development of Chinese American food, this book fills important gaps in the literature of ethnic and food studies, while incorporating an appealing personal memoir into the narrative. -- Jeffrey Pilcher, University of Toronto Food is not just about sustenance and taste. It is also about culture, economics, race, and identity. This is made abundantly clear in this fascinating account of the history of Chinese food in America. Chop Suey, USA is a wonderful American story, and a tasty one at that! -- Gordon H. Chang, Stanford University A perceptive view of an America built on abundance and consumption... Well-researched... Kirkus Reading Yong Chen's new book... is an education. In some ways, it seems more like an encyclopedia or a peak into the brain of a man who has read and retained an almost overwhelming number of books... Readers can learn much from Chen's in depth analysis and framing. 8Asians This well-researched book comes with seventy-eight pages of notes and a thirty-one page bibliography. It is seasoned with interested recipes, most of them chosen for their personal significance... An exciting intellectual endeavor. H-Environment Chop Suey is an engaging combination of research and food writing blended into a unified read. CHOICE Sophisticated... Groundbreaking... Yong Chen has published an ambitious and important work that has made a curcial contribution not only to the historical understanding of Chinese cuisine in the United States but also to the study of food in general. Journal of Chinese Overseas Chop Suey, USA was meticulously researched with a very extensive bibliography, the content is well organized with linking points and arguments, and the text is written with clarity and purpose. -- Alfred Yee Journal of American History A compelling and provocative contribution to the burgeoning field of American food studies. Journal of American Ethnic History Chen's study provides a sharp critique and rebuke to the degraded status accorded to Chinese American food and its creators. American Quarterly

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