Chinese and American Food Culture

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Along with the rapid growth of China’s economy, the global economy also took this ‘China train’. China began to invest in the world, the most significant investment project is to build infrastructure and improve the transportation in Africa. In recent years, Chinese President Xi JinPing has proposed the ‘One Belt One Road’ project, which aims to reconnect the economies of Asia and Europe. As China’s influence grows, its culture begins to be speared all over the world. Before the Chinese, the United States rapid economic development in the 20th century, American culture has spread around the world, the superpower in the economic and cultural dominates the world’s mainstream, The people of the world are obsessed with Hollywood movies and American music, American hamburger and coke also can be seen everywhere around the world. McDonald’s which is the most famous fast food chain and the most successful company in the world. But with the rise of China, American influence has been gradually replaced by Chinese culture. Asian food is beginning to play an important role in the world.

When we talk about the spread and development of Chinese cuisine in the United States, we always talk about the gold rush era in the United States. In that special period, many Chinese people came to California from the distant south of China in order to become rich. In the United States, many people would describe Asians as a ‘model minority’ because Americans think Asians are very smart and capable, but this stereotype will bring great pressure to Asians and competition and exclusion from different ethnic groups. During the gold rush, white workers were disgusted by Chinese workers taking jobs from white people, and white workers tried to persuade their government to prevent Chinese people from coming to the United States. And restrict the Chinese from doing other jobs.

So many Chinese immigrants can only come together to form a unique community. This community of Chinese immigrants is called Chinatown. Because of U.S. government regulations, Chinese immigrants can only do some simple work to support their families. After the ‘Chinese exclusion act’ passed by the United States in 1882, the number of Chinese immigrants dropped sharply, and the labor force from China also dropped sharply. But Chinese immigrants get special ‘merchant status’ by opening restaurants, which is also a common way for Chinese immigrants to bypass the ‘Chinese exclusion act’ and make money in the United States legally. So Chinese restaurants are becoming more and more popular in America. At the beginning of the 20th century, the sales of Chinese restaurants in the United States reached 77.9 million dollars. In 1930, the sales increased to 154.2 million dollars.

In the past, Chinese immigrants could only support their families by working in the laundry room. With the expansion of Chinese food industry, many Chinese immigrants came to work in Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurant owners in the United States typically employ five waiters and four cooks. Most of these people are related to the store manager, some are relatives, and some are friends. So, their salaries are often higher than those of ordinary workers. A few important reasons why Americans like Chinese food is that Chinese food are very cheap. Compared with the ‘advanced’ ingredients in Japan or France, the dinner party seems to be relatively low-class, because the labor force of Chinese immigrants is very cheap and Chinese people’s social status in the United States is much lower than that of other ethnic groups. The second reason is that Chinese food is very delicious, and Americans from the middle class like this kind of cheap, delicious and convenient food very much. So, the development of Chinese food in the 20th century provided a lot of services to the United States. And has made important contributions to the local economy.

We observe that in many countries there are ‘China town’ in different city where Chinese immigrants were lived in. Many Chinese immigrants start their restaurant business in china town. They bring unique spices and recipes from China to spread Chinese culture in various countries. There are all kinds of food, the food may come from different provinces in China, because of every province in China represents the different styles of cuisine, such as in Sichuan province in western China represents the ‘spicy’ ‘stimulus”. Shanghai is located near in east China’s Jiangsu province; their food is biased towards the ‘light’ ‘vegetarian”. In the United States, Chinese immigrants even use food ingredients that do not exist in China. The typical American-style Chinese food is ‘ General Tso’s Chicken “. The unique sourness and sweetness of these American foods is perfectly combined with Chinese food to create an artistically rewarding dish. These foods, which did not exist in China, are now widely popular in the United States. In different parts of the United States, they also have representative American-style Chinese food. In Massachusetts, you can eat “chop suey”; in Missouri, you can eat St. Paul’s sandwich. Chinese food not only provides different food for local people, but also contributes to local economic development.

There are many stories about Chinese food in the United States. The stories of General Tso’s Chicken and chop suey are widely discussed. Many people do not know that General Tso’s Chicken was named after a Qing dynasty General who famously commanded a war against a peasant uprising during the Qing dynasty. General Tso is from Hunan, so this dish features Chicken, but many people who are interested in General Tso’s Chicken cannot find this dish in Hunan. Because Hunan people or Chinese people are not interested in salty and sweet dishes. Some believe that during MAO Zedong’s cultural revolution, Peng changgui, a chef from hunan province, fled to Taiwan, where he made a General Tso’s Chicken as commander of the U.S. Pacific 7th fleet during a visit to Taiwan in 1952.

Peng impressed Americans with General Tso’s Chicken with American broccoli and chopped Chicken in a sweet and sour sauce. But when you come to Taiwan, there is no General Tso’s Chicken in the menu. The truer story is of an ordinary Chinese immigrant who invented this simple dish in order to make it palatable to Americans. Chop suey also has incredible story. Many people think of chop suey story and also the General Tso ‘s Chicken as simple, these people’s point of view is that in 1849 in the evening, many restaurants are closed, some Americans can’t find any place to eat, so they came to a Chinese restaurant, but Chinese restaurants are also closed, hungry people in the United States to the manager for food, the chef in the shop can only use the rest of the ingredients for a dish simply, these dishes are just some simple vegetables with some noodles, but is this simple dish recognized by the Americans.

Another version is that when li hongzhang visited New York in 1896, his guests asked the chef to invent a simple and delicious chop sum so that he could eat authentic Chinese food. That’s why chop suey is called ‘li hong zhang’s chop suey.’ in fact, in Chinese recipes, chop suey used to be made from pig offal and very cheap meat. Many Chinese who come to work in America are building railways, so Americans think they are very unhygienic and unhealthy. Chinese immigrants adapted chop suey to meet mainstream American social values. They replaced offal and unhealthy meat with vegetables and noodles.

In traditional Chinese food, many ancient Chinese people decide their diet according to their living environment and even the weather. Long ago, Chinese people used to look for ingredients and ingredients in the mountains, seas and lakes, so different regions have their unique tastes. A lot of Chinese people came to the United States will not use to Chinese restaurants, because familiar with your hometown food of Chinese people never put chutney in the food, because the United States and China’s food culture is different, Americans tend to be simple, delicious fish don’t eat more Americans not to eat a thorn bone and animal internal organs, but Chinese think most nutritious is animal bones and their guts, science has shown a lot of animal’s gut contains very rich in vitamins and essential trace elements.

In Chinese food culture, animal bone marrow is also a delicacy that cannot be wasted. After many Chinese women give birth, the family members will make chicken soup for the women to drink, because these are the best sources of energy and nutrition in Chinese people’s mind. Chinese food not only has various unique cooking methods, but also can be used as traditional Chinese medicine to help people resist diseases and recover from fatigue. These materials of traditional Chinese medicine are all derived from natural plants. Li Shenzhen, an ancient Chinese, made numerous experiments and edited the book ‘compendium of Materia medical’, which was spread in Europe in the 18th century and was also found in Chinese medicine stores in Chinatown of the United States. These pharmacies provide patients with a list of several herbs for the disease.

They simply boil the herbs together and pour out the residue before drinking. Lycium Chinese is very famous in China. It is a plant that many people use to make tea. Many people who stayed up late regularly consumed Lycium and Cheeseman Americans have heard of ‘black chicken soup,’ which also contains Lycium Chinese. This soup is made by cutting black chicken into chunks and adding ginseng, cordyceps, chicken stock and black bone chicken. Black chicken soup prevents some diseases, such as osteoporosis and rickets. Some women with anemia also have very good treatment effects when they drink it. And black chicken soup tastes really good.

Cheap Chinese restaurants, the most Chinese criticism is not authentic taste. Besides catering to local tastes, another important reason for this problem is local procurement. In extreme cases, the dishes don’t even contain soy sauce. From an operational perspective, this means that the restaurant operation will not be affected by the turbulence of the international situation in the past 100 years. In addition, when the early trade was not developed, there was not a lot of capital in the link of purchase and inventory. In the early days, it was almost impossible for ordinary Chinese to get a loan from the bank. There were no big money behind these restaurants. The business model of using local ingredients, buying locally, adapting dishes to local conditions and getting the money back quickly worked, allowing Chinese restaurants to expand globally despite widespread poverty among the Chinese population.

Even today, if you buy a set meal for one person, the completion of Chinese food is the highest, and this set meal pattern formed very early! Spring rolls or soups served in a very inexpensive form. The Fried noodles or Fried rice that have been prepared for a long time can save a lot of money and keep fresh as a fixed collocation. The special side dish is hot Fried sauce (lemon chicken, black bears meat, etc.) and in fast food in the relatively healthy mixed Fried vegetables (chop suey), egg hibiscus, three categories of basic cover the needs of men and women of young and old. Fortune cookies are durable and fun to store. They solve two problems: the high price of dessert and the complicated production process. By maximizing the fun of the dessert, it masks a lack of flavor and a low price. Chinese restaurants used fortune cookies no later than 1920, which means that by that time, a set meal model had been established. Consumers get a set meal for the price of a fast-food meal. For fast food consumers, it is a rare ‘ritual’ that dilutes the bleak atmosphere of takeout.


Cite this paper

Chinese and American Food Culture. (2021, Jan 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/chinese-and-american-food-culture/



Is Chinese food in America the same as in China?
American Chinese cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine developed by Chinese Americans. The dishes served in many North American Chinese restaurants are adapted to American tastes and often differ significantly from those found in China .
What Chinese food do Americans like?
Americans like Chinese food because it is a cuisine that is rich in flavor and history.
What is the difference between Chinese food and American food?
Chinese food is typically made with rice, vegetables, and seafood while American food is typically made with wheat, meat, and dairy. Chinese food is also typically cooked with less oil than American food.
What is the food culture of Chinese?
The process of painting with Chinese ink is called "inking". The final product is usually a painting on rice paper or silk.
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