We always hear about how the Chinese restaurants we’re familiar with are too American, not authentic. But how did this come to be?
Basically, as Chinese Immigrants came to the USA to mine gold, their food came with them, and started becoming popular as it was inexpensive and delicious. However, once anti-chinese sentiment started to rise, their food was also greatly looked down upon and trashed. Early in the 1900s, Chinese food began becoming more sweet and boneless, straying towards the more American ideal of what food should be like. In the 1960s and 70s (about 20 years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted), more Chinese people started entering the country, and brought with them more kinds of food, which brought about more traditional/authentic types of Chinese food. In addition, President Nixon’s China visit in 1972 led to more people seeking out this more authentic cuisine. Despite this, though, the delicious Americanized fare of the early 1900s never really went away, becoming restaurants like Panda Express.