Americanized Chinese

'A Chinese-American from New York City, Lee had her interest in Chinese food piqued during a year spent studying in Beijing, where she was continuously reminded that the real cuisine was nothing like the deep-fried, sauce-coated dishes U.S. diners thought of as Chinese. Chinese food in China, she knew, was much healthier, with less sodium and grease (and more varied animal parts) than Americans imagine. "Mainstream Americans don't like to be reminded that the food on their plate once lived, breathed, swam, or walked," writes Lee. Neither do they pause to think of just how Americanized, in the U.S., Chinese food — or more accurately Chinese-style food — has become. Lee points out that there are 40,000 Chinese restaurants in America — more than the number of McDonalds, Burger Kings and KFCs combined. "Our benchmark for Americanness is apple pie," she points out. "But ask yourself: How often do you eat apple pie? How often do you eat Chinese food?"

- Ling Woo Liu; 'The Cookie Crumbles'.


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