Chinese Food in America
Chinese immigrants first came to America by way of San Francisco during the gold rush. Nearly all of them were from one part of the country: the rural districts of Toishan outside of the city of Guangdong (then known as Canton; hence, Cantonese food). Nearly all of them were men. And nearly none of them knew how to cook – something that, at the time, was primarily a woman’s job.
In 1849, the rumors of gold nuggets that drew thousands of East Coast get-rich-quick hopefuls out to California during the Gold Rush also resonated across the Pacific with the merchants of Canton in South China. For centuries, the rich Chinese port city had been a center of international trade and commerce, and its entrepreneurial classes immediately saw the opportunity that glittered in the San Francisco Bay. The first Chinese immigrants to this region of the United States went into the lucrative business of providing services for the miners as traders, grocers, merchants and restaurant owners. This initial group of migrants encouraged later waves of Chinese emigrants eager to mine the hills themselves or become pioneer agricultural laborers. All of these workers were undoubtedly also hungry for good Chinese cooking that reminded them of land they had left behind.
By the early 1900s, chop suey restaurants had spread across the country as America began its love affair with Chinese food.
In the heat of a They-Took-Our-Jobs mentality, the U.S. passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, and from 1882 to 1943, pretty much all of China was banned from stepping foot on American soil. It was the only law in U.S. history to exclude people specifically from one country.
In 1972 Chinese food was trendy once again, and now Americans couldn’t get enough of the new Szechuan and Hunan restaurants that had started opening up.
In the early 2000s, the rest of Asia became popular among adventurous eaters in urban areas. Vietnamese, Korean, Thai and Japanese restaurants started flooding major U.S.
(Credit by https://www.10best.com)