Mental Floss

How American Chinese Food Became Its Own Cuisine

Michele Debczak
Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock
Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

Over the past 150 years, American Chinese food has grown into one of the most popular cuisines in the country. Dishes like egg rolls, chop suey, and beef and broccoli aren't widely consumed in China, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve respect. The histories behind the dishes tell the story of the Chinese immigrant experience in the United States, from the Gold Rush to the Chinese Exclusion Act and beyond.

In the latest episode of Food History, we explore the complex history of Chinese food outside of China. If you've ever wondered how cream cheese ended up in crab rangoon, or if General Tso was a real person, check out the video below. It may leave you with a greater appreciation for the leftover takeout containers in your fridge.

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