D. Liu- Week Six- Cultural Boundaries or Consequences of Globalization

Prompt 1

In the United States and in many other parts of the world, cultural adoptions can be seen within restaurants and foods. Many Chinese Restaurants in the U.S. are more suited to American tastes, and are not common cuisines found in China. This is a kind of Cultural diffusion and hybridization of borrowing Chinese cuisine and altering the food to the local population. The Chinese in the 19th Century created dishes such as General Tso’s Chicken, Almond Chicken, and the Chop Suey that many people from China may not be familiar with. I had a roommate from Mainland China, and it was his first time in the U.S. and trying American Chinese restaurant food. He had never heard, eaten or seen General Tso, Almond Chicken, or many other foods there. Although there are still plenty of Chinese restaurants that serve authentic Chinese cuisine, it is surprising that only the Chinese in the states are familiar with these dishes. I have worked at a couple of American Chinese restaurant for about 4 years in high school and most of the customers we served were not of Chinese descent. However, American Chinese restaurants are beginning to be seen in China and gaining attraction there, as they are able to incorporate their own meats and vegetables in the product to suit the Chinese people. The cooks and servers are still usually Chinese and often times are Cantonese Chinese, which make up a large portion of the Chinese population in the U.S.. In the 19th century, after the railroad work was completed and there was less demand for Chinese miners, many Chinese moved to making and working in restaurants. The movement of Chinese people to find work was easier in Chinese restaurants, because of lack of English or skills in other areas. My family is of Chinese origin, and my parents work at a Chinese restaurant, and my aunts and uncles own some and my friend’s families work and own their own. Food has always been a way to connect cultures and people across borders. The U.S. is no stranger to Cultural permeability, there are also China Towns located all across the U.S. and in other countries, such as in New York or Chicago and even in Toronto. I have visited these three, and there is a lot of authentic Chinese restaurants and stores that are created to have a place for people to immerse themselves in the Culture and also to bring in tourists. The way people interact, speak, and barter prices can be seen in China Towns if one wishes to observe. Culture is moved by people and through the integration and diffusion of it, such as in American Chinese food. In many movies we may subconsciously see the typical American Chinese food takeout or delivery, or settings in China Towns or rituals and learn to appreciate them as they are seen assimilating into the culture. Many other countries also have Cultural diffusion and hybridization of American restaurants as well, such as McDonalds or KFC. In China, there are McDonalds that serve larger burgers and have a unique style of food compared to the U.S. menu. Through globalization of various cultures and its food, the local taste adapts it to fit the population’s current trends and needs either through food, people, or media.

2 thoughts on “D. Liu- Week Six- Cultural Boundaries or Consequences of Globalization

  1. I think it’s interesting that people in China haven’t heard of many of the most popular Chinese food dishes in the United States. I remember I was surprised when I learned that a favorite of mine, Orange Chicken from Panda Express was not really Chinese. I also once saw a documentary where they tried to determine the true origin of General Tso’s chicken and to find out if there ever was actually a General Tso. I believe they learned that General Tso’s chicken was invented in the United States just like you said, as a way of making a Chinese dish that was more suitable to the American palette. It’s not just Chinese food where this is the case. It seems to be that way with most popular international foods. What’s interesting is that most Americans have no idea that they are eating food that is vastly different from the actual food of various countries. For example, in the United States we eat tacos in hard corn shells, but in Mexico, tacos are traditionally eaten in soft corn tortillas. But most Americans have no idea that hard shell tacos aren’t authentic Mexican food.

  2. I think your posting is very interesting. When I came to America when I was 16 years old, I firstly knew that there is a kind of Chinese dishes named orange chicken, but I never tried that before in China. And when I tried to find the “New Orleans roast wings”, which is very popular in Chinese KFC menu, I could not find it on the American KFC menu neither. In an immigration era and within the globalization’s development, we have more chance to taste the food from all over the world. And the cultural exchange framed several “local customer menu” to cater to taste of local people. These kind of change would happen more and more in the future, like the regional limited edition, actually it represented the cultural adaption, and like you mentioned in your posting, not only in food, also this trend would have influence to people and media.

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