Eating America #4 – American Chinese
Chow mein, BBQ pork (left), and orange chicken (right)
Chow mein, BBQ pork (left), and orange chicken (right)

One of my absolute favorite foods in the world has to be American Chinese. “Orange chicken” ranks in my top five for sure and “BBQ Pork” is not far behind. This grease dripping calorie bomb should not be eaten often as it is incredibly unhealthy. Like most things in life though, it tastes as good as it is bad for you. Just in case you didn’t know (cough: mom), American Chinese food is absolutely nothing like food you would find in China. Despite the lady at the restaurant being Chinese (most of the time), pretty much everything else has been changed to be appetizing to our American palate. On top of that, China has a very diversified cuisine which is regionally dominated, so it would be difficult to pin point what is actually “Chinese.”

American Chinese food is not hard to find at all as famous franchises like “Panda Express” and “Pick up Stix” have sprung up in just about any mall or shopping center. However, for the best stuff, I would avoid these overpriced, under flavored, and less than generous proportions. Your average mom and pop shop with names like “The Golden Dragon” and “China Express” are far superior in every way.

A typical meal comes with rice and chow mein. Chow mein is actually not popular in China (it might not even exist there at all), but resembles ‘lo mein” in texture and taste. You also get your choice of one, two, or three meats with typical choices including orange chicken, BBQ pork, teriyaki (actually Japanese and used very loosely in America) chicken, beef broccoli, and mushroom chicken. Who can forget the traditional ‘fortune cookie’ (popularized in San Francisco’s by the Japanese) that often gives you worldly advice on how to be a good person, in the most broken English possible.

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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