Copyright © 2012 San Yan Wong
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Welcome to the official website of “A Chinese Kaleidoscope, An American Mosaic” (中國點點, 美國滴滴).
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Before the 1960s, the career choices for Chinese immigrants to the United States were very narrow. In order to survive about 50% of them, regardless of their original occupation at home, joined the restaurant trade. At that time Chinese restaurant in U.S. cities and suburbs often had "Chow Main" or "Chop Suey" as their signature dish.
When they first came to Seattle, and then move to Portland, communities of several hundreds Chinese slowly evolved into Chinatowns. The majority of Chinese immigrants came from Guangdong, therefore the vegetables used in many Chinese restaurants for chow main are still sprouts, Tianjin cabbage, onions and other vegetables, cooked and then served on top of crispy fried noodles. If there is no crispy fried noodles, it is called chop suey. Other popular dishes of the American-style Chinese food are green pepper beef, egg foo young, sweet and sour pork, egg fried rice, spring rolls, barbecued pork, ribs, moo goo gai pan. The American-style Chinese dishes are not traditional Chinese dishes, but Americans, especially Jewish, really like them.
This way it provided work opportunities for many early immigrants. Although their income were meager, it not only provided them a basic living, but they were also able to save money earned from their hard toils to subsidize their families back in distant home. Chinese immigrants never mentioned their tough life to their relatives back home, whom therefore thought that they made a fortune across the vast ocean, only God knows.