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Before ling, however, Chinese cooks learned how to modify thier dishes to make them more palatable to a wider American audience.In fact, most of the Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown proclaimed in their windows that they were Chinese-American, lest Occidental customers shy away for fear of being served duck feet and bird's nests.Americans not used to such economy were often dismayed by what they found in their rice bowl...Most of these eateries were primitive in design and atmosphere...As a result, most Chinese restaurants in the United States and Europe are Cantonese." ---The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap: New York] (p.15) "..1847, the first Chinese immigrants settled in San Francisco and were followed by thousands who helped to build the transcontinental railways.Canned pineapple, canned cherries, and even canned fruit cocktail; enourmous quantities of dehydrated garlic, barbecue or Worcestershire sauce; canned vegetables, corn starch, monosodiumglutamate, cooking sherry, and heavy doses of sugar are found in many of these bizarre creations.This fusion of pseudo-Cantonese and pseudo-Polynesian food can be traced to a renegade Cantonese chef at Trader Vic's in California.
The cookery in these new Chinatowns was basically stir-fired, rice-based Cantonese, whcih efficiently utilized every part of the animal...
Emphasis on basic meat and vegetables served in standard (sweet & sour, soy) sauces with fried rice became the norm. Some "classic" Chinese menu choices such as fortune cookies are not Chinese at all! Molly O'Neil's article "The Chop Suey Syndrome: Americanizing the Exotic," New York Times, July 26, 1989 (C1) explains the process.
In many authentic Asian restaurants, there were two menus: one for people of Asian descent and another for tourists. "When Europe began trading with the Orient, the seaport of Canton became the gateway to the West.
Better restaurants gained fame on San Francisco's Grant Avenue, on or near New York's Mott Street, in Los Angeles, and every other American city of consequence, and the developing tastes for genuine Chinese food resulted in a vogue for home delivery of such easily portable items as egg rolls and chicken chow mein in paper buckets.
But it wasn't until after World War II that Americans began consciously to augment their Oriental kitchen repertoires by attending classes in Chinese cooking and avidly sampling new tastes that became available in restaurants specializing in Mandarin, Hunan, Fukien, and Szechwan dishes in addition to those from Canton.