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UCI Professor Chen Yong's New Book:Chops Suey, USA
UCI Professor Chen Yong's New Book:Chops Suey, USA
2014/11/6 7:27:52 | 浏览:3563 | 评论:0

UCI Professor Chen Yong

Courtesy of Columbia University Press "Chop Suey, USA:The Story of Chinese Food in America," explores how the popular ethnic cuisine became a dominant cultural force in the restaurant market and brought the dining experience to marginalized groups. Download image

UCI historian publishes Chop Suey, USA:The Story of Chinese Food in America

Book explores how the popular ethnic cuisine altered the US gastronomic landscape

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 4, 2014 – Before fast food and home delivery, there was chop suey and red leather booths. American Chinese food was a precursor to ubiquitous chain restaurants, democratizing the once-exclusive dining-out experience for working-class whites, African Americans and Jews.

The influence of Chinese cuisine throughout the 20th century and beyond is told in Chop Suey, USA:The Story of Chinese Food in America, by UC Irvine history professor Yong Chen. The new book opens with a question:Why is Chinese food so popular in the United States?

“Americans fell in love with Chinese food not because of its gastronomic excellence, but because of its affordability and convenience,” Chen said. “They preferred the quick and simple dishes of China while shunning its haute cuisine.”

Chop Suey, USA, published by Columbia University Press, sheds light on the critical yet overlooked role that Chinese fare has played in developing the American way of life and expanding access to it.

“This book fills important gaps in the literature of ethnic and food studies, while incorporating an appealing personal memoir into the narrative,” said Jeffrey Pilcher, professor of food history at the University of Toronto.

U.S. diners began flocking to Chinese restaurants more than a century ago, making it the first mass-consumed food in the nation. By 1980, it had become the country’s most popular ethnic cuisine.

This “inexpensive, fast and tasty food was irresistible to many bohemians, rebellious youth, African Americans and middle-class tourists,” Chen said. “Thus, chop suey – the epitome of America’s Chinese food for decades – was the Big Mac of the pre-McDonald’s era.”

The abundance of Chinese restaurants in mid-20th century America was also a reflection of limited opportunities for Chinese Americans, who were barred from many occupations. They successfully turned Chinese food into a dominant force in the restaurant market, creating a critical lifeline for their community.

Chinese American eateries introduced the open kitchen concept, home delivery, fortune cookies and Christmas Day dining. They made chop suey and egg foo yong part of the American diet and Chinese takeout part of American culture.

“Food is not just about sustenance and taste. It’s also about culture, economics, race and identity,” said Gordon H. Chang, professor of American history at Stanford University. “This is made clear in [Chen’s] fascinating account of Chinese food in America. Chop Suey, USA is a wonderful American story – and a tasty one at that.”

UCI Professor Chen Yong

About the author: Yong Chen, raised by his food-loving mother in China, is a professor of history at UC Irvine and served as the university’s associate dean of graduate studies from 1999 to 2004. His numerous publications include Chinese San Francisco, 1850–1943:A Trans-Pacific Community.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

Remarks: Chops Suey, USA:The Story of Chinese Food in America(Columbia University Press, 2014)is the first comprehensive account of the epic transpacific transplantation of Chinese food in North America.  The rise of Chinese food reveals a great deal about how Chinese Americans strove to make the New World their new home.  It is a story very relevant to our own experiences.

 Here is the link to the radio interview of me about the book on KPCC(Southern California's largest NPR station):  http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2014/11/04/40172/from-egg-foo-young-to-chop-suey-how-chinese-food-c/

The Amazon.com link:http://www.amazon.com/Chop-Suey-USA-Traditions-Perspectives/dp/0231168926/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415284887&sr=8-1&keywords=yong+chen


Chop Suey, USA:The Story of Chinese Food in America

哥伦比亚大学出版社, 2014.

       一个世纪前,美国人发现并爱上了了中餐; 此后,他们对中餐的热爱不断升温。中餐是美国第一个服务于大众消费市场的菜式。到1980年,中餐更是成为美国在英式饮食之外最流行的菜式。《杂碎,美国造》第一次详尽剖析其兴起的原因,揭示出创造了全美国无所不在的中餐馆背后的社会力量和个人欲望。

        中餐的美国之旅是世界文化交流史上的一部宏伟的史诗。但谱写它的,却是一群没政治权利,人数非常有限, 经济倍受剥削的人们。它所反映的不仅是美国人口味的变化也体现出其生活方式的改变。美国人爱上中餐, 并不是因为其美味佳肴, 而是因为它价廉且方便。这也是为什么他们所爱上的, 并非中餐里的鱼翅等被国人视为珍宝的名菜, 而是那些简单而又便宜的菜。 其中最有名的就是杂碎。 它成为美国中餐的代名词, 曾经风靡一时。 它可以说就是麦当劳时代前的大麦暴。 上餐馆吃饭,曾经是有钱人的特权;但随着 中餐馆的出现, 社会不同阶层 包括下层白人,黑人和刚来美国不久的犹太人也都能享受到饭来张口的生活方式。 也就是说,中餐是美国消费市场中的一个重要民主化力量; 其兴起也是二十世纪席卷全球的“美国梦”形成过程中一个重要的环节。

        中餐也是一个经典的移民奋斗和创业的美国故事。华人长期被排斥在很多行业之外, 某生艰难; 经过他们多年的不懈努力,中餐从为人人所鄙视对象变成美国餐饮业里一个领军力量。中餐馆的兴起, 也为处境困难的华人社区提供了最重要的生命线。 华人餐饮工作者,发展了开放式厨房的概念,开创了送餐服务,并将杂碎和芙蓉蛋等菜变成家喻户晓的“名牌”食品。


陈勇,美国尔湾加州大学教授。 曾多年担任该校研究生院副院长。其著作包括Chinese San Francisco, 1850–1943:A Trans-Pacific Community.他也曾在纽约和费城举办美国中餐馆历史的博物馆展览。他有关食品,移民和中美关系的领域的研究和评论不光发表在重要的学术刊物,也时常以四种不同语言见诸报刊,电台,和电视等媒体。



1. 为什么中餐在美国这么流行?

2. 美帝国和属于帝国的食物

3. 作为帝国仆人的华人厨工

4. 中餐的摇篮

5. 中餐馆的兴起

6. 中餐的制造者       

7. “美国中国菜”:杂碎是地道的中菜吗?

8. 华人的布里亚·萨瓦兰




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