A history of America’s favorite Asian takeout dishes

Kung pao chicken, General Tso’s chicken, pad thai, sushi, banh mi, chicken tikka masala — dishes that are rooted in Asia and the Asian diaspora are now firmly a part of America’s multicultural cuisine. But how did that come to be the case?

“Asian American food is as complicated and diverse as Asian American people because the category itself, Asian American, is very broad,” said Robert Ji-Song Ku, associate professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University. “It’s hard to generalize about Asian Americans and how different cuisines become mainstream because they really all had different processes and different developments.”

No story can be told about Asian food in America without acknowledging the influence that Chinese immigrants and their descendants had, not just on Chinese American food, but on American food. Consider the fact that people of Chinese descent currently make up about 1.6% of the

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Justin Lee Is Using Food To Redefine What It Means To Be Asian American

“Because of these attacks on the AAPI community, we are not losing Asian culture. We are losing American culture,” says chef Justin Lee, owner of Fat Choy, the Chinese vegan restaurant that opened to much fanfare in New York smack-dab in the middle of the pandemic. That exact outlook — one defined by the power of globalization and the interconnectedness of various cultures — is what inspires Lee’s menu, which is particularly unique given Chinese cuisine’s usual reliance on all things meat.

In this Voices in Food story, as told to Anna Rahmanan, the 35-year-old Virginia-born chef of Chinese descent opens up about his decision to manage a vegan restaurant, the difficulties that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has had to face in recent months, how food can become the solution to at least part of the problem and what he wishes diners would do to

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Meet the Asian American chef behind Huntsville’s hottest food truck

Prepare to have your perception of hotdogs remixed and elevated. The tubular processed meat is primarily associated with dadbod summer cookout fare, and beer-absorbing ballast at stadium sports and arena concerts. In Albert Toh’s hands though, the hotdog is a vessel of culinary creativity and vision. And f—ing delicious.

Toh is the owner and chef behind New South Hotdog & Sushi, Huntsville’s hottest food truck. By transposing sushi’s flash presentation and vibrant supporting ingredients to hotdogs, plus offering well-executed sushi rolls too, New South does what the best food trucks tend to do: Give punters tasty and interesting food that no one else (or at least no one else in that market) does.

At local events they work, New South often commands camping-out-for-Stones-tickets-in-’89 length queues. Such was the case at Panoply Festival of the Arts back in April. Alas, other work stuff beckoned. A few weeks later, I

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These AAPI chefs are reclaiming the narrative of what Asian cuisine means

For chefs, food is often a personal journey — maybe even the journey of their ancestors — and a function of social, economic and political events. It’s nearly impossible to make any one chef or restaurant a representative for an entire culture. Every region has their own unique influences, history, ingredients and techniques. “It would take me multiple lifetimes to master Sri Lankan cuisine,” said chef Samantha Fore, “because there are that many regional nuances.” And when you add in that layer of diaspora, it’s even harder to define what authenticity even means.

When it comes to Asian cuisines, the story has often been simplified and told by people who aren’t part of the culture. Dishes that were once ridiculed only start being revered once they are promoted by white food personalities. But now, more than ever, chefs from different Asian cultures are seizing the moment to cook

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