Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 18:17:04 -0500
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Chop Suey
Just in time for Thanksgiving--chop suey! Oh, c'mon--"turkey" has been
I was cleaning out my files and realized that I hadn't posted (nor
published) this item. It's agreed that "chop suey" is an Americanism, but
there has been a New York Chinatown vs. San Francisco Chinatown "chop suey"
The Dictionary of Americanisms has:
1928 ASBURY _Gangs of New York_ 301 The tongs are as American as chop
suey--the latter is said to have been invented by an American dishwasher in a
San Francisco restaurant,....
1947 _Democrat_ 7 Aug. 8/1 Chop suey, unknown in China, was originated in
New York City by an American chef. The word chop suey in Chinese means
John Ayto's A GOURMET'S GUIDE: FOOD & DRINK FROM A TO Z has the OED
citation and states: "..._chop suey_ is first recorded (in the October 1888
issue of _Current Literature_, an American publication). It represents a
slightly mangled rendition of Cantonese Chinese _shap sui_, 'odds and ends',
literally 'miscellaneous bits'."
This is from the Brooklyn Times, 24 July 1886, pg. 3, col. 1:
NEW YORK'S CHINA-TOWN.
A DINNER IN MONG SING WAH'S RESTAURANT.
Not Altogether an Affair of Dogs and Bats
--The Joss of the Kitchen--How to Order
a Chinese Dinner--Tea in Oriental Style.
"Chow chop suey, chop seow, laonra an, san sui-goy, no ma das," glibly
ordered my friend, and the white-robed attendant trotted off and began to
chant down a dumbwaiter. It sounded as if he was intoning a service to some
mysterious downstairs Joss of the kitchen, but he wasn't, he was ordering our