aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

One from Column A, two from Column B

I ate at the local Chinese buffet today. Mmmmm. *slurp* And there, a thought I have often had regarding Chinese restaurants (and other Oriental establishments) occurred to me, to wit . . .

Ethnic groups flock to America, and they bring with them ethnic foods. It's an old story. But as those ethnic groups assimilate and prosper, they tend to lose some of their identity and become more "American" generation by generation. And their foods get re-invented, Americanized. Eventually, "their" foods are offered by mainline American restaurateurs and fast-food stores.

Some of this has happened to Chinese food (Chop Suey and even General Tso's Chicken are more Chinese-American than authentic Chinese, and many Chinese restaurants now offer some American foods like mac & cheese, fried potatoes, and heavier desserts). But the Americanization of Chinese cuisine seems to have been held back in comparison to other ethnic cuisines; not only that, but most Chinese restaurants are still operated by ethnic Chinese, who tend to speak Chinese with each other as they go about their work. Meanwhile, Italian food, German food, Mexican food (especially the hybrid Tex-Mex) is offered all over the place. Authenticity is replaced by market-tested "ambience." The local Irish pub in Bloomington has a manager who looks Filipino. Your favorite Italian restaurant may be called "Luigi's", but for all you know, it was founded and is run by a guy named Herb.

So why has this assimilation and Americanization been retarded in the case of the Chinese (and other Oriental) restaurants? Any ideas?

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