Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea


Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in the United States
Edited by Bruce Makoto Arnold, Tanfer Emin Tunç, and Raymond Douglas Chong
Forward by Harley J. Spiller
320 pages, 6 × 9, 14 images
978-1-68226-060-9 (paper)
June 2018


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The essays in Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea fill gaps in the existing food studies by revealing and contextualizing the hidden, local histories of Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the United States.

The writer of these essays show how the taste and presentation of Chinese and Japanese dishes have evolved in sweat and hardship over generations of immigrants who became restaurant owners, chefs, and laborers in the small towns and large cities of America. These vivid, detailed, and sometimes emotional portrayals reveal the survival strategies deployed in Asian restaurant kitchens over the past 150 years and the impact these restaurants have had on the culture, politics, and foodways of the United States.

Some of these authors are family members of restaurant owners or chefs, writing with a passion and richness that can only come from personal investment, while others are academic writers who have painstakingly mined decades of archival data to reconstruct the past. Still others offer a fresh look at the amazing continuity and domination of the “evil Chinaman” stereotype in the “foreign” world of American Chinatown restaurants. The essays include insights from a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, economics, phenomenology, journalism, food studies, and film and literary criticism.

Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea not only complements the existing scholarship and exposes the work that still needs to be done in this field, but also underscores the unique and innovative approaches that can be taken in the field of American food studies.

Bruce Makoto Arnold is a historian specializing in American and Asian cultural history, particularly the areas of childhood, education, and foodways. He is assistant professor of education and childhood history at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Bruce Makoto Arnold’s website.

Tanfer Emin Tunç is an associate professor in the department of American Culture and Literature at Hacettepe University, Ankara,Turkey. She specializes in American social history, cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, and transnational American studies.

Raymond Douglas Chong is president of Generations, LLC in Sugar Land, Texas. He is a sixth generation American Born Chinese. He writes stories, poems, and songs, and he is a filmmaker.

Chinese American Writer Reflects on New Book Inspired by Chop Suey and Family History — Asian American News, August 2018

Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea is a provocative and informative collection of essays that examines Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the US from multidisciplinary lenses and frameworks that include archival, historical, ethnographic, and literary methodologies. This new book not only adds to the growing body of work around Asian American and Asian diasporic food studies, its intervention into the discourse of food culture by focusing upon Chinese and Japanese restaurants, their business practices, and the influences of these businesses in “glocal” settings provides much needed material to comprehend the significance that Chinese and Japanese restaurants have had on American culture and society.”
—Nina Ha

Food and Foodways is a series from the University of Arkansas Press that explores historical and contemporary topics in global food studies. We are committed to representing a diverse set of voices that tell lesser known food stories and to provoking new avenues of interdisciplinary research. Our strengths are works in the humanities and social sciences that use food as a critical lens to examine broader cultural, environmental, and ethical issues. In addition to scholarly books, we publish creative nonfiction that explores these topics with a focus on food’s sensory dimensions.

Introduction: Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in the United States – Bruce Makoto Arnold and Tanfer Emin Tunç

1. Dining at the “Oriental Garden”: The Cultural Politics of American Chinese Restaurant Menus, 1940s–1970s – Tanfer Emin Tunç

2. Importing and Exporting the Ethnic: Thoughts on American Chinese Cuisine, Globalization, and the Dinner Plate – Annessa Ann Babic

3. General Tso’s Chicken, Panda Express and the Identity Politics of Chinese Food and Restaurants in America – Tony Tai-Ting Liu

4. How Chop Suey Came to Oshkosh, Wisconsin – Susan Boslego Carter

5. From the Art of Dim Sum to the Art of Sculpture: Master Chef Kai Tai Chan and His Dough Evolution in New York – Clarence Chan and Ting Man Tsao

6. When Little Island Cuisine Encountered Chinese Food: The Evolution of Taiwanese Cuisine in New York City’s Flushing Neighborhood, 1970−Present – Chunghao Kuo

7. Chop Suey: A Personal Legacy of Cantonese Chinatown Cuisine – Raymond Douglas Chong

8. The Sour Side of Chinese Restaurants – John Jung

9. “Foreign, Brackish, and Exotic”: Japanese Food in the American Press, 1853–1918 – Frank Jacob

10. The Problem with Persistence: The Rise of Tucson’s Japanese Cuisine and the Fall of its Nikkei Community – Bruce Makoto Arnold

11. From Asian Fusion to Asian Hipster Cuisine: Consuming Cosmopolitanism and Authenticity – Shoon Lio and Megan Bott

12. “Stirring the Pot”: Asian Foodways in American Eating Places – Carmen Birkle

13. “As American as Chop Suey”: The Chop Suey Joint in Classical Hollywood Film – Andrée Lafontaine

14. Intergalactic Gastronomy: Orientalist Representations of Asian Food, Chefs, and Restaurants within Science Fiction Films – Ingrid E. Castro

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