~ Zhixiang (Andy) Z.
After we had lunch and purchased the ingredients we needed to make our recipe in Chinatown, we went to MOFAD, the Museum of Food and Drink. The museum was closed at that day, however, we had a scheduled tour. The museum’s theme was the history of Chinese food in America.
In the museum, there were Chinese-American restaurant menus dating back to 1910. These artifacts show the evolution of the Chinese cuisine in the USA. In the 19th century, Chinese people went to western America looking for gold. They did find gold originally, but after people work an area panning for gold, it eventually runs out; the supply does not replenish itself. When the gold in a certain area runs out, sometimes people tried to find other areas where there is a good supply. If they are not successful, they need to look for another source of income. For the Chinese, this was the railroad. With the development of the transcontinental railroad, there were a lot of jobs available for a short period of time. When the railroad was finished, the Chinese people again had difficulty finding work.
Imagine you and your friend go to another continent, and you can not eat the food you used to eat in your whole life? The desire of eating and the miss of home motivates Chinese to cook their own food in the USA. Some of them even started restaurants. At first, the restaurants did not work well because most of the food did not match the taste Americans were used to – European type food. In 1896, a Chinese man called Li Hong Zhang came to America and he brought many chefs with him. He cooked for famous people in New York once. In order to fulfill the taste of Americans, he mixed the food that locals eat and the Chinese sauce. People who tasted the food called it “CHOP SUEY”, it means the mix of fried food in Chinese. As time went by, Chinese food in America became more like a mixture of food. Nowadays, there are more Chinese restaurants than McDonald’s in America.