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American Chinese dishes

In the nineteenth century, Chinese restaurateurs developed American Chinese cuisine when they modified their food for Caucasian American tastes[citation needed]. First catering to railroad workers, restaurants were established in towns where Chinese food was completely unknown. These restaurant workers adapted to using local ingredients and catered to their customers’ tastes. Dishes on the menu were often given numbers, and often a roll and butter was offered on the side.

In the process, chefs invented dishes such as chop suey and General Tso’s Chicken. As a result, they developed a style of Chinese food not found in China. Restaurants (along with Chinese laundries) provided an ethnic niche for small businesses at a time when Chinese were excluded from most jobs in the wage economy by racial discrimination or lack of language fluency.

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Dishes that often appear on American Chinese menus include:

* General Tso’s Chicken— chunks of chicken that are deep-fried, with broccoli and seasoned with ginger, garlic, sesame oil, scallions, and hot chili peppers.
* Sesame Chicken— boned, battered, and deep-fried chicken which is then dressed with a translucent but dark red, sweet, slightly sour, mildly spicy, semi-thick, Chinese soy sauce made from corn starch, vinegar, chicken broth, and sugar, and often served with steamed broccoli.
* Chinese chicken salad — Salad, in the form of uncooked leafy greens, does not exist in traditional Chinese cuisine for sanitary reasons, since manure and human feces were China’s primary fertilizer through most of its history.[citation needed] It usually contains crispy noodle (fried wonton skin) and sesame dressing. Some restaurants serve the salad with mandarin oranges.
* Chop suey — connotes “leftovers” in Chinese. It is usually a mix of vegetables and meat in a brown sauce but can also be served in a white sauce.
* Chow mein — literally means ‘stir-fried noodles.’ Chow mein consists of fried noodles with bits of meat and vegetables. It can come with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp.
* Crab rangoon — Fried wonton skins stuffed with artificial crab meat (surimi) and cream cheese.
* Fortune cookie — Invented in San Francisco by East Asian immigrants, fortune cookies have become sweetened and found their way to many American Chinese restaurants. Fortune cookies have become so popular that even some authentic Chinese restaurants serve them at the end of the meal as dessert and may feature Chinese translations of the English fortunes.
* Fried rice — Pan-fried rice, usually with chunks of meat, vegetables, and often egg.

Regional American Chinese dishes:

* Chow mein sandwich— Sandwich of chow mein and gravy (Southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island).
* Chop suey sandwich — Sandwich of chicken chop suey on a hamburger bun (North Shore of Massachusetts — the only known remaining restaurants serving this specialty are “Genghis Salem” and “Salem Lowe.” Both are located at Salem Willows Park, Salem, Massachusetts. This sandwich is traditionally wrapped in a napkin cone and eaten with a fork).
* St. Paul sandwich — Egg foo young patty in plain white sandwich bread (St. Louis, Missouri).

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