Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chinese American Food

I am a Chinese Malaysian growing up with Chinese food. When I was in the United States, naturally I frequented Chinese American restaurants. In fact, I had my first dinner on American soil in a Chinese American restaurant.

Note that they are called “Chinese American restaurants”, not “Chinese restaurants”. This is because they serve Chinese American food, which is slightly different from what we have here in Asia.

Some of the most common Chinese American dishes are:

beef and broccoli

kong poh chicken

General Zuo’s chicken (左宗棠鸡)

egg foo yong

chap suey

Beef and broccoli is served in nearly every Chinese American restaurant, and it clearly shows the American influence – Americans are heavy beef eaters, and broccoli is the most popular vegetable in the States.

Of course, no meal in Chinese American restaurant is complete without the ubiquitous fortune cookies.

Did I miss anything? Yes, I couldn’t find any Chinese American restaurant which served fried fish or steamed fish.

Now, I know many people will complain that Chinese American food is not authentic. But who cares? After all, Chinese Malaysians have also invented Malayan Scenery (马来风光), Hainanese chicken rice and bak kut teh (肉骨茶).


  1. Why must they have the fortune cookies? I'm sure Chinese American food don't taste as good as authentic Chinese food.

  2. The fortune in the cookies are fun to read anyway. :P

  3. Hey, and i tot on the top of the list should be sweet and sour pork!! ^_^

  4. foongpc
    I can't tell you why fortune cookies is a must. Chinese mainlanders may also don't like Malayan Scenery.

    On the other side of the paper is your lucky Lotto number :P

    I think Sweet and Sour Chicken is more common. In any case, Beef and Broccoli is top of the list. Americans love beef.

  5. Never seen fortune cookies in Malaysia...

  6. i have never gotten fortune cookies with my meals before.

  7. day-dreamer, xin
    You can buy Fortune Cookies in Malaysia during the CNY season...

  8. my host family favorite are pancake, dumpling, fried rice, and stir fry. :D

  9. thought i saw some fortune cookies before in malaysia :D

    anyway, where you are studying your mba?

  10. kikey
    You cook for them?

    Yes, they are sold during the CNY season.
    I study MBA in UTAR.

  11. Got fried rice?

  12. What is "chap suey"?

  13. kyh

    I think "chap suey" is "mixed and minced" 杂碎.

  14. I've often puzzled over fortune cookies. What's the history? Guess it has to be on Wikipedia. And who said the messages had to be so lame?

  15. nope.
    every time go to Chinese restaurant, they ordered those.. :P

  16. I love Chinese food, whether it's mainland China food or Chinese Malaysian, Taiwanese etc.

    But I hate Chinese food in North America. Too greasy, too salty and so not Chinese... I mean, most of the restaurants serve food the way Americans like it and well, it's not my taste.

    As for fortune cookies.... it's a mystery.

  17. Chinese food got a lot of ways to cook. Chinese American food takes the simplest and the fastest method.

  18. peter
    From what I know, Fortune Cookies were actually invented by Japanese, but somehow made famous by Chinese American restaurants.

    You have tried Chinese Malaysian food???

    Maybe you're right. Chinese American food, while can be found throughout the country, isn't as famous as Japanese sushi.

  19. There is this Panda Express fast food chain, that I tried at the Denver Airport.

    I ate like a pig, nothing beats Asian food, no matter how they cook it.

    And ya, I ordered gong bao ji ding!

    Asian food, but US portion (gigantic). =p

  20. shingo
    Yes, US portion is big. So I guess one can get obese even when eating Asian food.

  21. i like yr last statement :)