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johnny dollar's vault

retro pop culture and various local observations and ramblings.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
johnny dollar's vault resides in the basement of stately dollar maisonTM, amongst the wine cellar, tiki bar, and finicky electrical panel. from time to time i will unearth various artifacts from either there or from the random crevices of my mind.

please visit the new and improved pig cookin' post!

NOTE: this blog will NOT deal with any recent pop culture (i.e. since about 1990) or topical issues, so if you're looking for discussion about britney baracko jacko flacco, look elsewhere, lol

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

o chop suey, where art thou

baltimore snacker's post last week about chinese [american] food and its couterparts to actual chinese food from china got my braims working about a particular dish that you may or may not have ever chomped: chop suey.

my exposure to this dish is largely from three sources: the signs like the ones seen above and below while cruisin' around the 'hood in st louis; mentions of it in movies and books seemingly from the 1940's and 1950's era; and the "la choy" stuff in cans we used to buy to alternate from the mac-n-cheese and hamburger helper nites :D (apparently they still make this stuff)

chop suey is (or was) typically some kind of meat chopped up with veggies like (lots of) bean sprouts, cabbage, and celery, with a brownish starchy sauce. when you put it over rice it's chop suey, over noodles it's chow mein(?) it was apparently created in california by chinese immigrants in the mid to late 1800s to fit the tastes of the round eyes ~ basically it was the entry-level exotic cuisine for joe sixpack. this painting by edward hopper, 1929 is called "chop suey."

in the 60's people started getting hip to more authentic asian and other 'exotic' foods and 'chop suey' pretty much fell out of fashion. i did an informal survey of local chinese-american restaurants and found only two that had a dish called chop suey - the rest did not.

so here's the thing ~ i'm not recommending trying to find and consume chop suey, coz it it teh bland. i remember having to douse the hell out of it with soy sauce. i think it is a fascinating, trackable vestage of american cuisine ~ but do yourself a favor and get something good like crispy beef. flava!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I'm hungry!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently chop suey also made women really pale back in the day.

3:23 PM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

wk: want eggroll?

anghang (ong-hong?): LOL.,.,.

3:29 PM  
Blogger John said...

Chop suey is such an interesting part of American cuisine, isn't it? I'll probably stick with the orange chicken though! :D

10:44 AM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

b-snacker: word. i think i'll do something about the puu-puu platter sometime soon...

5:31 PM  
Blogger unknown said...

cool photos

1:44 PM  

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