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? Continue reading