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the economist

2020-02-02 15:53  浏览数:130  来源:甜虾粥
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The apotheosis of Chinese cuisine in America
Its upward trajectory reflects the Chinese-American community s
Chinese restaurants began to open in America in the mid-19th
century, clustering on the west coast where the first immigrants landed. 
They mostly served an Americanised version of Cantonese cuisine—
chop suey, egg fu yung and the like. In that century and much of the
20th, the immigrants largely came from China s south-east, mainly
Guangdong province. After the immigration reforms of 1965 removed
ethnic quotas that limited non-European inflows, Chinese migrants
from other regions started to arrive. Restaurants began calling their
food “Hunan” and “Sichuan”, and though it rarely bore much
resemblance to what was actually eaten in those regions, it was
more diverse and boldly spiced than the sweet, fried stuff that defined
the earliest Chinese menus. By the 1990s adventurous diners in cities
with sizeable Chinese populations could choose from an array of
regional cuisines. A particular favourite was Sichuan food, with
its addictively numbing fire (the Sichuan peppercorn has a
slightly anaesthetising, tongue-buzzing effect).
Yet over the decades, as Chinese food became ubiquitous, it also
beyond the niche world of connoisseurs—came to be standardised.
There are almost three times as many Chinese restaurants in
America (41,000) as McDonald s. Virtually every small town has one
and, generally, the menus are consistent: pork dumplings (steamed
or fried); the same two soups (hot and sour, wonton); stir-fries listed
by main ingredient, with a pepper icon or star indicating a meagre
trace of chilli-flakes. Dishes over $10 are grouped under “chef s specials”. 
There are modest variations: in Boston, takeaways often come with bread
and feature a dark, molasses-sweetened sauce; a Chinese-Latino creole
cuisine developed in upper Manhattan. But mostly you can, as at
McDonald s, order the same thing in Minneapolis as in Fort Lauderdale.



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