Right you are! Growing up, my family always loved Chinese food and we would go out a lot for it. Chop suey, almond pressed duck, sweet and sour dishes were our favorites. When I got old enough to drive down to Chinatown and go to places like Mon Kee, I was surprised how many dishes I knew were not on the menu. As things developed here, the regional places pretty much eliminated the mom and pop Chinese-American places. In a bid for nostalgia, last year I went on a search for the pressed duck. Finally, I found on Yelp comments about a place that did not have it on the menu but made it upon request. I have been a few times now and it is great. However, I still go to my favorite places, the latest being a Taiwanese noodle shop. I also have a great place for Hong Kong style dim sum, with carts that go round the dining room. The Chinese for years were very adept in catering to the non-Asians, coming up with dishes they could call "Chinese" but, like General Tso's chicken and egg foo young, basically pandering to American tastes. You have to hand it to them------they were great at creating dishes in the US, passing them off as "Chinese", and making them something that most Americans thought was authentic. This thread is proof of that----a lot of us might not have had those dishes for a while, but I bet everyone thinks fondly of them when they are mentioned.
Not very often any more here in California. Chop suey was created in the US and is not even found in China. You can still find it in some old style places that make Chinese-American food, but for the most part we have a much more authentic range of places, partially due to the large amount of Chinese people in certain areas of California. We do have sweet and sour chicken, but it is made from chunks of chicken and not shaped into balls. Again, it is a dish oriented towards the non-Chinese diners.
Many, many "chinese dishes" that appear in the U.S. aren't available in China! General Tsao's Chicken, the egg rolls that appear here, and yes, even sweet and sour chicken!! Oh, and fortune cookies. They are Japanese!!
PS-------if you have a chance, everyone should look up the history of the fortune cookie. It's a really interesting story and a tribute to some enterprising immigrants.
post edited by EdSails - 2013/02/08 16:04:37