Chinese Influences on America through Cuisine
Since the 20th century, Chinese food has had an influence on American cuisine, with over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the country. There are more Chinese restaurants in America than all of the McDonald’s, Burger Kings, and KFC’s combined! The Chinese have taken over the American food kingdom.
The history of Chinese food started in the 1800s, when the Chinese came over to the United States during the Gold Rush. But the Chinese didn’t really eat what was considered “normal” food. They ate cats, rats, and sometimes dogs for meals. The Americans considered the Chinese as “aliens” because of their difference in culture. 34 years later, the Chinese were banned from coming overseas to Měiguó --- the “beautiful land” we call America--- with the Chinese Exclusion Acts.
Once the act was repealed in 1943, the Chinese started to pour in. Once settled, they started to make traditional Chinese food for the hard-working Cantonese laborers. Then, when forced into tedious jobs like restaurant work, the Chinese “Americanized” the traditional Chinese food they were always used to, and thus Chinese food was born. Chinese food was popularized across the nation and is now one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in America.
In America, General Tso’s chicken is known everywhere in America. However, in China, General Tso’s chicken isn’t even recognizable. The actual descendants of General Tso don’t even recognize it and haven’t heard of such a dish. The creator of General Tso’s chicken himself doesn’t recognize what he has created. This is because in 1973, two Chinese-American chefs, David Keh) and chef T.T Wang (who were rivals) searched Taiwan for inspiration and to enlist new chefs, and they found themselves at Chef Peng’s restaurant—the man who created the internationally known General Tso’s chicken—and they took his recipes with them. But they weren’t going to just copy all of his recipes....
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