Taiwanese Immigrants Spark a Golden Age for Chinese Food: Restaurateurs transform New York City food culture from the 1970s through the 1990s

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Abstract

Until the 1970s, most of the Chinese restaurants in New York City served Cantonese food. Starting in the ’70s, however, New York’s Chinese restaurants began serving more diverse regional cuisines. This study illustrates that Taiwanese immigrant restaurateurs were largely responsible for this change. In the 1950s, Taiwanese began immigrating to the United States. Some of the immigrants were of high socioeconomic status and worked in white-collar professions, but many, like the Cantonese immigrants that preceded them, worked in lower-status jobs or opened small businesses, like groceries, tailor shops, and restaurants. These Taiwanese restaurateurs changed New York’s Chinese food landscape. They opened restaurants throughout the city, broadened our knowledge of Chinese regional cuisine, and made important innovations in New York’s restaurant business, pioneering photographic menus and food delivery.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNYFOODSTORY: The Journal of the Culinary Historians of New York
Issue number2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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