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