Strange enough but the so-called Chinese food in the USA has very little in common with genuine Chinese cuisine. The fact is that American Chinese food has been modified to cater the tastes of costumers.
Since the 19th century, when the first American Chinese food restaurants were opened, the western version of Chinese food has considerably changed. Originally such American Chinese food restaurants catered to railroad workers, then they were established in towns and were much popularized among ordinary people. If at the beginning the selection of American Chinese food dishes wasn’t too large, very soon chefs replenished menus with such famous western inventions as General Tso’s Chicken and Chop Suey.
In addition, American Chinese food restaurants became a real refuge for Chinese immigrants who often suffered from unemployment for their lack of language fluency. This way, a new style of Chinese food was developed – the style that doesn’t, actually, have any analogues in China.
As it was said above, American Chinese food differs much from native Chinese cuisine. For instance, genuine Chinese dishes feature live seafood and fresh meat, as well as various vegetables like gai-lan or bok-choy, while American Chinese cuisine uses vegetables as a garnish. As a result, American version is less pungent, that is why MSG is often added to enhance the flavor. However, some people are MSG-allergic, so today Asian restaurants have to offer MSG free menus.
Besides that, American Chinese food is prepared with a large amount of salt. All dishes are cooked very fast using inexpensive ingredients. Some Chinese food nutrition experts claim that such meal has many calories and can’t be healthy – in contrast to original Chinese food which is concentrated on leafy vegetables and requires less oil.
Is it true or not, but today American Chinese food has ever-growing popularity, and more and more people enjoy the top 5 of western Chinese dishes, including Sesame Chicken, Chop suey, Egg foo young, Wonton soup and General Tso’s Chicken.