Five years ago, I came to U.S. When I went to the Chinese restaurant, the one near my house in Herndon, VA, I totally surprise because I had never see some of those foods in China. For example, egg rolls are popular in U.S, but it was not in the menu in China. That was interesting. I wonder who make that into the Chinese restaurant in U.S. I was talking to my uncle, who lives in here longer than I am, I finally found out that was American style Chinese food. In my own opinion, if I open a Chinese restaurant, I will make the real Chinese food for U.S people to try. Since I couldn’t eat real Chinese food in U.S, It makes me miss my country more.
Chinese girl tries American Chinese food.
I love this video because I had the same feeling like this lady when I first try the America Chinese food.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT AMERICAN CHINESE FOOD
It started in California
The foundations for what we know as Chinese food were laid in the mid-1800s, when a huge influx of Chinese immigrants came to California during the Gold Rush, mostly from Canton (today known as Guangzhou). The newcomers started opening restaurants, and eventually began settling elsewhere thanks to the railroad expansion. That resulted in the establishment of Chinatowns all over the place (never forget, Jack Nicholson!).
Hipsters contributed to its Americanization
In the 1920s, Chinese food started to catch on among the bohemians (who sometimes ate the food before it was cool… and burned the roofs of their mouths). It wasn’t until after World War II that it started to become more mainstream. Chinese chefs would often have two menus: one for Chinese people and one for Americans… but as its popularity grew, the American-tailored menu came to dominate.
Its divergence was fueled by America’s canned food industry
The reason the Americanized menu was so popular? It used super-sweet, syrupy sauces as opposed to traditional ones, mostly due to the cheap, widespread availability of canned fruits like pineapple and cherries, the use of which ended up creating an entirely new type of cuisine Americans couldn’t get enough of. Chefs didn’t skimp on the sugar and salt, and the public didn’t skimp on the eating. It was a good arrangement.
It started being served in oyster pails in the 1950s
Chinese takeout became a staple of city life and then expanded to the suburbs. The folded paper boxes that were traditionally used to transport oysters also began transporting chop suey and Mongolian beef.
It uses vegetables that aren’t even available in China
Despite their ubiquity in American Chinese restaurants, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and yellow onions aren’t typically found in actual Chinese restaurants, mostly because none of these things are native to China. Chinese cuisine usually uses green onions and daikon, as well leafier, more bitter broccoli that’s probably just that way because the government won’t let it use Facebook.
It has some basis in Chinese history
General Tso/Gau/Gao actually existed! His name in Chinese was Zuo Zongtang, and he was a military man during the Qing dynasty. Dude quelled the Dungan revolt in the 1800s (that was huge), but it’s not known whether he’s the one who first made the chicken, or whether some admirer of his just wanted to name a hot dish after him. Also, sweet & sour sauce isn’t truly Chinese. But they do have claim to an older, less potent, more vinegary version that’s straight outta Hunan province. Bizarrely, ours is more popular in China today.
Most menus feature dishes that aren’t present in China at all
Chop suey is an almost entirely American invention. It was born in California and translates to “odds and ends” — basically, it was a bunch of foods thrown together in a pinch, and ended up becoming one of the most popular dishes of all time. General Tso would be pissed!
It has some regional variations around the United States
True to American form, folks in different regions started making new, more Americanized versions of “Chinese” food. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, you can score chop suey and chow mein sandwiches. In Missouri you can get a St. Paul sandwich (egg foo young patty on white bread), while you can thank New England for the deep-fried pu pu platter.
It’s a mix of Chinese, Japanese, American, Italian… pretty much everything, kinda
The fortune cookie’s recipe, for example, was based on a traditional Japanese cracker, which was then used by Chinese restaurants… for an American appetite. Crab rangoon was first served by a French dude running a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco in the 1950s. He also would go on to invent the Mai Tai. He is the most heroic Frenchman in history.
Fortune cookies aren’t of Chinese origin.
The sweet cookies packed in take-out bags or presented at the end of meals? “They’re Japanese,” Lee says of the cookies that have become a signature staple of American-Chinese eateries. Their origin story actually dates back to 19th century in Kyoto. Lee tracked down an amateur historian who told her that fortune cookies were based on a Japanese confection called tsujiura senbei, which were popularized by the confectionarycompanies in the West during World War II. By the late 1950s, 250 million fortune cookies were being consumed annually, nationwide.