Sep 07, 2016 Translated by

Editor’s Note: What do Chinese think of Chinese food in the United States? Most Chinese people would not recognize any of the dishes found at a Panda Express or a local American Chinese restaurant. The author of this article gives their perspective on American Chinese food and the culture surrounding it.

If you’ve spent time in the United States, you quickly realize that authentic Chinese restaurants often have two menus: one for Chinese diners and one for Americans. The dishes listed on the Chinese menu are traditional Chinese items, while the Americanized menu offers dishes like General Tso’s Chicken and Sesame Beef. None of the dishes on the American menu are real Chinese dishes and are only found in the United States. Many of them are fried and then dipped in heavy sauce.

The Chinese fast-food chain Panda Express is popular in the United States. Panda Expresses are usually found in mall food courts. The food looks very greasy and tastes heavy and fried. It tastes more like American fast food than authentic Chinese food.

Even in the most remote corners in the United States, travelers can find Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurants in American are generally small family restaurants opened by Chinese immigrants. Early Chinese immigrants attempted to recreate Chinese dishes with American ingredients in a much less globalized world than we live in today. The dishes were gradually adjusted to the tastes of Americans and survive as their own cuisine: America’s interpretation of Chinese food.

Here are some examples of Chinese food only found in the United States:

1) Chop Suey: Chop Suey is a popular dish in the United States and consists of strands of pork, beef or chicken mixed with vegetables like bean sprouts, celery, bamboo shoots, green peppers, onions, cabbage and snow peas.

2) General Tso’s Chicken: Most Chinese people have never heard of this dish unless they have visited the United States. General Tso’s Chicken is the most famous American Chinese food dish. Chefs fry chunks of skinless chicken in batter and cover them with sweet and sour chili sauce. The chicken is usually served with broccoli cooked in the same sauce.

3) Sweet and Sour Chicken: Americans love sweet and sour sauce. This dish evolved from traditional Chinese sweet and sour dishes. Americans fry chicken in batter and dip it in sweet and sour sauce before they eat it.

4) Kung Pao Chicken: This is a take on China’s gong bao jiding, but often tastes very different when served in the United States. The chicken is fried in soy sauce and mixed with chili sauce and peanuts. The taste is a bit strange for Chinese people: it is a bit saltier and spicier than the Chinese version. Americans love seafood and also serve Kung Pao versions of shrimp, scallops and other fish.

5) Beef with Broccoli: Another American specialty: U.S. beef marinated and stir-fried in soy sauce with broccoli. The two ingredient dish is very popular in the United States.

6) Egg Foo Young: Egg foo young is an omelette dish with eggs and meat or shrimp. Green beans and fried onions are mixed in.

7) Fortune Cookies: Chinese immigrants to the United States invented the fortune cookie as a little trick to get Americans more excited about eating Chinese good. The folded cookies are very crisp and sweet, but very plain. Inside, there is a small piece of paper with lucky numbers or a Chinese food. The paper also has a “fortune” that tells the eater’s future.

Source: DW News

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Keywords: American Chinese food Chinese food in the United States

9 Comments Add your comment



Panda Express, Pei Wei and crap like that are NOT real food. They are McDonald's style garbage. People here have such an idiotic way of looking at things. You want real Chinese in the US. Go to Chinatown in Frisco or either Chinatown or Flushing in New York.

Sep 07, 2016 15:02 Report Abuse



But then that wouldn't be anti-foreigner.

Sep 07, 2016 22:23 Report Abuse



Yeah but Mexicans make the food in those "real chinese" restaurants in the US...

Sep 08, 2016 06:48 Report Abuse



I'm from NY. I don't remember seeing Mexicans ever in Flushing. I live two areas over in Woodside. Go into the City to Chinatown, that happens. Which is why I didn't go to Chinatown much.

Sep 17, 2016 21:19 Report Abuse



I liked the article.It brings out the point that this is a complete cuisine of it's own.

Sep 08, 2016 06:51 Report Abuse



all you can eat, too, until they shut you off and kick you out...

Sep 08, 2016 15:10 Report Abuse



All mentioned above is true and those foods don't compare to real Chinese food for sure. That being said, before we bash others for changing Chinese food, lets remind all that western foods such as pizza in China also have been seriously altered. Good pizza should be salty, crispy, cheesy, and have tomato sauce. Pizza Huts in China serve rubbish that would be more classified as cakes or whatever, not authentic recipes. When Pizza Hut first entered China, you could get Chinese style pizzas and still get deep dish, pan, and supremes cooked in the authentic way. Now everything has corn, pineapples, strange seafood, broccoli, and meat that tastes like candy or jelly beans, all served over pound cake dough crust. The cheese is so rubbery it could be used as erasers on top of pencils and if you ask for tomato sauce they give you candy flavored catsup. When you ask them for real tomato sauce, they say it doesn't exist or say its not allowed to give customers. If you explain that you paid an arm and a leg for a 12" Pizza Hut pizza and want the brand food, not this strange concoction they don't appear willing to accept your ideas. And thats just pizza. They don't serve real quality beef at steak restaurants due to the local belief of supporting local farmers over quality imported beef. Their western style pasta dish sauces are basic at best and hardly worth the overpriced "western" fees they charge when anyone with basic skills can do it at home in China. Many western dishes are so over priced due to the theme that it would be unfair to compare to their Chinese counterparts in America which are still cheaper in price. At least Chinese restaurants in America have menus for Chinese that actually serve authentic food. This article is just another "bash the laowai" attempt using culinary ideals as the excuse. That being said, real Chinese food tastes better than what are on the menu abroad.

Sep 09, 2016 07:09 Report Abuse



One of my all time favorite Chinese dishes in America is Moo Shu (beef, chicken or shrimp; of course, there is pork too, but I don't eat pork): The meat is cooked with shredded or stringy veggies, like cabbage, carrots, onions,and beans sprouts; the are thin wraps to place the main food, and a black bean sauce, plus more shredded green onion to top off the wrap. Popular in the California Chinese restaurants I once frequented. Many Westerners tend to love spring rolls (or, egg rolls). Oh, they are here in China too, but rather hard to find, except insome larger supermarkets, packaged in the frozen food section! Often, pork, yet some brands offer vegetable filling of mushrooms and thin noodles mixed with a combination of carrot and other veggies. I often contend that American Chinese food is better. And, in the States, I I always lived near and frequently ate Asian foods. Outside of big hotel restaurants in China, sorry to say, I always feel that local Chinese food seems like garbage - I've been in China a long time, and I am more and more picky about where and what I eat here!!!

Sep 10, 2016 16:53 Report Abuse



In my experience "real" Chinese food pretty much was hot pot and barbecue...7/10 that was where u went out to eat...and then it was always just a random hodge Podge of food being thrown together and cooked or boiled...when it came to restaurant menus...beef noodle soup...whoopee!....but it was a was a mainstay...nothing too remarkable...then there is the bones in all the birdmeat ..f@ck that garbage...that is sh@t you eat when starving in the's no pinnacle of culinary meal I ate was Paigu...all that is is barbecued ribs...and hell, yes Americans do that a whole lot better than the chinese.

Sep 14, 2016 04:35 Report Abuse