Chop Suey: As American as Apple Pie

What is more American than Chop Suey? White bread? Bacon Bits? Chop Suey is not Chinese, but is a Chinese-American delicacy which originated in the 19th century, either with Chinese laborers working on the U.S. transcontinental railroad, Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, or Chinese ambassador Li Hung Chang’s cooks while he was visiting New York. Whatever the origin, restaurants sprung up like the mushrooms that garnish the dish. A typeface bearing its name and another called Bamboo are still one of the West’s most recognizable stereo-types.

9 thoughts on “Chop Suey: As American as Apple Pie

  1. Evelyn Seto

    Yesterday’s “Chop Suey” is today’s “stir fry”! i read on Snopes that chop suey MUST be bland. Oh please! Chop suey has had a bad rap for so many years! Under the skills of a good chef, it’s not bland. My family had a restaurant for over 40 years (Tin Sing Restaurant in Gardena, CA) and we still have people telling us they miss our style of food. Cantonese food has subtleties that can’t appreciated if it’s covered in a veil of hot chili sauces that seem to be the preference these days. 
    That Bamboo typeface was all there was to represent the exotic. Anyone know who designed it?

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  5. deborah solomon

    Thanks for this lovely meditation on another vanished tradition. Does anyone still eat chop suey? Maybe Greek yogurt is the new chop suey.  I would love some chop suey right now.

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