This is How Chinese Restaurants enamoured America

For almost two hundred years, the American Chinese diaspora has been delighting the country – and the world – with their fantastic creations. From dishes like Orange Chicken to Chop Suey, and the Japanese-inspired Fortune Cookies, these American Chinese inventions have created a legacy of fine taste among many people. Today we are going to learn the origins of these delectable restaurants!

The Begining

During the early 1800s, a large number of Chinese immigrants settled down on the western coast of the United States looking for work. Ostracized by the larger population (and the law), they began to settle down in small communities, which we now know as Chinatown. Small businesses started sprouting in these communities offering laundry services, and of course, food.

This is How Chinese Restaurants enamoured America
This is How Chinese Restaurants enamoured America

The First Restaurants

Chinese restaurants in the United States began during the California Gold Rush, which brought 20,000–30,000 immigrants across from the Guangdong region of China. There are claims that Macau and Woosung were the first Chinese restaurants in the United States, while others claim Canton Restaurant. They were both established in San Francisco in 1849 and both served as central features of immigrants’ daily lives. For many of the workers without the knowledge or resources to cook on their own, they provided a connection to home. During 1852, Chinese immigrants outnumbered females 18:1, so these restaurants served as gathering places and cultural centres for the Chinese community. By 1850, there were five Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, leading to a large number of Chinese food imports to America.

Initially catering to miners and railroad workers, these smaller restaurants developed American Chinese cuisine, modifying the food to suit a more American palate. Those expanding to other towns along the west coast opened new restaurants that adapted local ingredients and catered to their customers’ tastes. These new flavours and dishes meant they were not traditionally Chinese cuisine; however, these restaurants became ambassadors of Chinese culture to Americans.

This is How Chinese Restaurants enamoured America
This is How Chinese Restaurants enamoured America

The Chinese Restaurant Boom

Once the railroad developed in America, the Chinese restaurant market exploded into a new dimension. New York was one of the most popular hubs due to their commercial power. Changes in legislation allowed more Chinese people to emigrate to the countries through merchant visas, leading to the emergence of Chop Suey joints. These were ‘hip and affordable’ places where young urbanites would dine after a night out.

Now we have a ton of restaurants with diverse types of services and cuisines. From pure Chinese American joints to chain restaurants, and traditional Chinese restaurants, you have a plethora of choices. If you want a taste of a true Chinese American dressing, you can get your P.F. Chang’s China Bistro products at American Food Mart. Get a taste of the Creamy Sesame Sauce, or a nice spicy kick with the Dynamite Ranch Sauce today!

PF Changs
PF Changs

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