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Ineedtwocats t1_jdhnlr3 wrote

you know, I never asked myself "why were so many Chinese people coming over at that time?"

>escaping the poverty and terrors of the war in the Sze Yup districts in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province in China.


_who_is_they_ t1_jdj984m wrote

The eternal struggle of people looking for better living conditions.


hook_b t1_jdji20p wrote

The grass is always greener on the other side, especially in China during 1800's


I_love_pillows t1_jdkrina wrote

Taiping Rebellion too. Chinese call 1850s to 1950s ‘Century of Shame’. It was truly a century of chaos.


Gagarin1961 t1_jdle1r6 wrote

Imagine dying in a giant war led by a guy you think is the younger brother of Jesus Christ and nobody even talks about it in the future.


I_love_pillows t1_jdliex3 wrote

We hereby dedicate the post to the unnamed Chinese soldiers who died fighting in the Taiping Rebellion.


KindAwareness3073 t1_jdhp0g4 wrote

Side note: Many US "Chinatowns" are near the train station. This is because when the 19th century railroads were completed workers were given a ticket to the end of the line, and once they arrived they set up a shanty town that developed into a neighborhood.


PoopMobile9000 t1_jdhu8ul wrote

Also because cities instituted America’s first zoning ordinances for the purpose of segregating Chinese to particular neighborhoods. Also the Chinese immigrant population was mostly male because the US made immigration rules to prevent Chinese women from arriving.


opiate_lifer t1_jdihbh1 wrote

As my username indicates I have an interest in drugs, its astounding the amount of outright racism Chinese labourers faced in the western USA. Some of the first instances of drug prohibition were moral panics about white women being lured to opium dens in Chinatowns.


moal09 t1_jdk5r0h wrote

The Chinese also had trouble finding work as employees, so many opened restaurants, etc.


[deleted] t1_jdhikok wrote

And MSG was used as a marketing weapon by U.S. companies trying to stop the Chinese food being popular.


Mishashule t1_jdhjwlb wrote

Too bad for them, Chinese food fuckin rules catch me outside any Chinese place


[deleted] t1_jdhk88w wrote

The irony that things like tomatoes are full of MSG....along with so many other foods.


[deleted] t1_jdhpnjh wrote



[deleted] t1_jdhqotm wrote

So tomatoes have MSG?

Back in the day the companies that were trying to denigrate Chinese food tried to claim all their food was full of MSG.

They tried very hard to make sure that Chinese food was the only food that used MSG.




NoFriends182 t1_jdlt9fk wrote

Well tomatoes don't technically have msg they have standard glutamates and when you salt them it converts to msg.


[deleted] t1_jdhulxb wrote



LikeWisedUp t1_jdi0aqu wrote

Yes! MSG was used as racist propaganda and said to give those that consumed it headaches and make them ill.

Sadly this disinformation lives on today, food safety classes required by food workers now are told that MSG is a common food allergy which is wholly untrue


NoFriends182 t1_jdlt6mw wrote

My mum literally tried to ban me from buying MSG to use in some stirfrys and such. Like I'm a 25 year old man not living at home? And then when I bought it she cried yelling how I'm going to get cancer. And didn't speak to me for a year.


Librosaurus t1_jdmmqbd wrote

I don't know if disinformation is a perfectly fair assessment of the milder, modern concerns around MSG (although I don't contest it being disinformation in the past)


lotsaquestionss t1_jdhyaks wrote

What's also interesting is that white American women could get their citizenship revoked if they married a Chinese man. The reverse of course, was not a problem.


10YearsANoob t1_jdjg6fl wrote

Sometimes Mexican women became "legally white" for a bit just so they can revoke their citizenship if they marry "an oriental." The includes filipinos


moal09 t1_jdk5tp1 wrote

Honestly, even now, I've met some filipinos who don't consider themselves asian.


pantsareoffrightnow t1_jdl0b3n wrote

Not sure why you’re downvoted because many Filipino people do consider themselves “Pacific Islander” and separate from Asian


10YearsANoob t1_jdl9lvk wrote

Because it's not a common viewpoint from the Philippines or immigrant Filipinos from not America. This is purely an American phenomenon. Same with still calling it Philippine Islands (PI). It's PH.


pantsareoffrightnow t1_jdmcxed wrote

I mean. It is a common viewpoint coming from someone in the Filipino community lol.


10YearsANoob t1_jdmhb9x wrote

> community

That clues me that you are american my friend. I said it's not a common viewpoint from immigrant filipinos not from america


10YearsANoob t1_jdl9tcr wrote

I've noticed this is purely an American phenomenon. Might be because of the insane amount of racism the asians got back then so they branded themselves as pacific islander and it just stuck through the generations and because immigrant populations rarely mix in with the general populace when there's too many of them, new immigrants just adopt the new label too.

Also calling it Philippine Islands (PI) is a purely American phenomenon too. It's PH not PI.


moal09 t1_jdlab5k wrote

Yeah, the filipinos I'm talking about are specifically filipino-americans.

I even personally had a filipino friend who I referred to as "asian" once, and he immediately corrected me and said he wasn't asian.


10YearsANoob t1_jdlagiq wrote

Yeah we just tend to ignore the smug fucks that look down on us until they make a stink on social media. Which is surprisingly frequent.


Johannes_P t1_jdkb6c6 wrote

The USA had laws allowing it to strip the citizenship of US women marrying with foreigner then ineligible to US naturalization (i.e. non-Whites and non-Blacks, including Asians).


ranyakumoschalkboard t1_jdi3hhc wrote

There's an awesome short story by Ken Liu (wonderful Chinese-American author, you might know him for having translated The Three Body Problem) which is about the introduction of Chinese food to America during the gold rush. It's called "All The Flavors", a story from his anthology "The Paper Menagerie".

The whole anthology is excellent, but All The Flavors is one of my favorite stories in it.


whynonamesopen t1_jdi7523 wrote

In a similar vein the documentary In Search of General Tso explores the history of Chinese immigration patterns to America.


Evening_Ad_1099 t1_jdifjr6 wrote

That was such a fun and insightful documentary. It gave me a deep appreciation for the immigrant experience.


britt_is_questioning t1_jdhqilj wrote

As in 'Merica, In Ecuador the Chinese people built the cities for the Spanish conquerors. The Chinese cooks didn't have access to their usual ingredients, so they used local vegetables. Their creation is called "Chifa", and is wonderful.


_Haverford_ t1_jdkfguc wrote

I've had chifa in Quito and New York. Tastes exactly like American Chinese food. What am I doing wrong??


britt_is_questioning t1_jdmyggo wrote

Nothing! For 6 mos. I thought Chifa meant Chinese food. Then a owner told us the story and history. I was amazed, I honestly couldn't tell the difference. Maybe nowadays they can get a larger amount of ingredients. Maybe if we had eaten Chifa 100 years ago we could notice.


_Haverford_ t1_jdn2pkz wrote

Honestly, I was kinda bummed. I was hoping for like, Sichuan plantanos. But stepping into a Quito Chinese restaurant and having it look EXACTLY like any Chinese restaurant in the US was quite a surreal experience. I even think there was an owner's kid doing homework in a booth!!


palaric8 t1_jdko1mc wrote

Same in peru. In lima there’s a chifa every couple of blocks or so.


Sdog1981 t1_jdhkp9p wrote

I got into an argument with some rubes on this site about this very fact. PF Chang has spent a lot of money making up the story that his mom brought Chinese food to the US.


Kagomefog t1_jdic05c wrote

Cecilia Chiang introduced non-Cantonese Chinese food to the US. She was a rich lady from Shanghai, grew up in a 52-room mansion and had many servants. She looked down on the poor Cantonese people in San Francisco and thought their food was slop. Basically major cultural and class differences.


firelock_ny t1_jdir57v wrote

> Cecilia Chiang introduced non-Cantonese Chinese food to the US.

Northern non-Cantonese Chinese food. My great-uncle introduced the US to Southwestern non-Cantonese Chinese food. ;-)

(OK, he probably wasn't the first...but Sichuan cuisine is quite different from Northern (Shandong?) cuisine.)


jointheredditarmy t1_jdhs4mh wrote

Was his mom an immortal vampire? Or one of those hopping Chinese zombies potentially?


Sdog1981 t1_jdhzl3g wrote

I wish it was that fun. It was she put out a cookbook in the 1960s.


ExcessiveBulldogery t1_jdhzfj2 wrote

The oldest continually-operating Chinese restaurant in the US is located in Butte, Montana.

I ate there once, and did not enjoy it. Everything tasted like cabbage, and the seating 'boxes' were more suitable for lapdances than dining.


des_stik25 t1_jdlbace wrote

Well it used to be a brothel... So yeah


ExcessiveBulldogery t1_jdmfky5 wrote

I thought I'd recalled something like that.

It's right near the city park dedicated to prostitutes.


solarmelange t1_jdhthe7 wrote

Chop suey was the go-to dish they sold to Americans, based on a dish that translates to "miscellaneous leftovers."


canalrhymeswithanal t1_jdhrx3c wrote

Hence Chinese dad saying, "Welcome to America, home of Chinese food."


ParmiCheez t1_jdkdn28 wrote

You know the one thing that brings us all together is Chinese food and the song we know how to play on the piano is Chopsticks.


zombiechewtoy t1_jdizg57 wrote

Here I am thinking western Chinese food came about due to Chinese railway workers having to make do with whatever western produce & meat was available and kind of shoehorning the new ingredients in to replace traditional ingredients they had no access to.


VonPursey t1_jdiiabk wrote

And a lot of what we would consider typical Chinese food was developed (or modified) in North America as a result. Ginger beef comes from Calgary, of all places


kappakai t1_jdje67x wrote

That’s how a lot of Chinese food is; techniques adapted for local ingredients and preferences. Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Mexico and the US all have their own versions of “Chinese” food that only have a tenuous relationship with their mainland versions. The French basically throw basil in everything. Even Sichuan food in Shanghai is watered down. And Taiwanese food is an amalgamation of many regional mainland cuisines, lightened up and sweetened with some added Japanese influence.

But it’s all also really good.


stickyWithWhiskey t1_jdju39m wrote

>Even Sichuan food in Shanghai is watered down.

That doesn't surprise me. I've only had mostly authentic Sichuan once in my life and it was something else. A guy I used to work with was a first gen immigrant who once gave me some leftovers his mom cooked and it was no joke. I love me some spicy food, but that was a little much for an every day kinda meal. On the bright side, my house is still vampire proof.


kappakai t1_jdjy749 wrote

Maaaaan I went to Chongqing years ago. Got in late and wandered out my hotel to find something to eat. Found this dark dirty grimy hole in the wall a block away and got some chicken. It was cooked in chili oil, smothered with chili sauce, covered with chilis and then another layer of peppercorns. I managed, but it was to my surprise. I think Thai spicy still beats it.

The peppercorns are really annoying. But I kind of miss them now.


john510runner t1_jdjx5b2 wrote

Not sure if this is still true... in the statement made in this Ted Talk...

There are more Chinese restaurants in the US than McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Wendy's combined.

Can't find it but Yelp put something out (prior to Covid shut downs) saying the number of Chinese restaurants are on the decline even though the over all number of restaurants are at all time highs.

One of the explanations offered is the kids of the parents who own restaurants have choices to not be self employed.

Also in southern California I've noticed Vietnamese people running Chinese restaurants. Might also have something to do with more paths to being middle class in China that new waves of Chinese immigrants not taking up restaurant work in the US.


Kagomefog t1_je3w10y wrote

The Vietnamese people you saw running Chinese restaurants are probably Hoa (Chinese Vietnamese). They’re ethnic Chinese who immigrated to Vietnam or lived there for several generations before being expelled by the Viet Cong.


SirGlenn t1_jdjw8q3 wrote

The California gold rush, gold, Chinese food, and Levis.


stevej3n t1_jdiog65 wrote

Probably the first thing they did too. I would imagine Chinese people can’t stomach the local gruel and vittles. No garlic or onions? Fuck that, I’m gonna go find some, create a makeshift a wok and stir fry the damn thing. Bet you they made some chopsticks right then and there too.


SpectralMagic t1_jdjjhtt wrote

Not entirely related, but something I've caught on to that's interesting to me. Supposedly it is illegal in China to use a pun as your business name, but Chinese food restaurants I've seen in Canada all have generic names that sort of follow this rule whether intentionally or not.

Not trying to be a goose, just looking at correlation cause I have nothing better to do


Luname t1_jdkfx3k wrote

Here in Montréal, we've got one named Ho Lee Chix. Not a joke.


SpectralMagic t1_jdkg904 wrote

Wtf, I hope that's just a coincidence with their surnames xD


little_poriferan t1_jdkj41m wrote

There’s a really great Gastropod episode about this!! It’s called the United States of Chinese Food. They reference this documentary that I saw someone else mention elsewhere in the comments called The Search for General Tso. I really want to try and watch it!


Downstackguy t1_jdmb015 wrote

I learned this in history class in like middle school


Librosaurus t1_jdmml8k wrote

Why does the fact they were male relate to the rest of the title?


Emergency_Mine_4455 t1_jdoviqj wrote

In some cultures men are not taught how to cook, and I believe that some subsets of traditional Chinese culture may have been that way. These men wouldn’t have known how to make their traditional dishes, so the restaurants would have given them that taste of home.


SlouchyGuy t1_jdhowcv wrote

So this is what we can blame for Americans seemingly thinking that the only edible grain is rice