As reflected in NYPL data, dishes such as chow mein, Kung Pao chicken, bittersweet soup, egg rolls, beef with broccoli and General Tso's chicken are the most common in American Chinese cuisine. Chinese American cuisine is a cuisine derived from Chinese cuisine that was developed by Chinese Americans. The dishes served in many Chinese restaurants in North America are adapted to American tastes and often differ significantly from those found in China. Restaurants in smaller cities (mostly owned by Chinese immigrants) served food based on what their customers ordered, from pork chop sandwiches and apple pie to beans and eggs.
In addition, both Chinese and non-Chinese food in Boston and the surrounding area are innovative dishes that incorporate chow mein and chop suey, as well as locally grown products and seafood from the region. In fact, I would say that Chinese-American food is as authentic and worthy of reverence as any other regional Chinese cuisine. Anderson noted in his book, The Food of China, that cheese, in particular, is simply not considered to be a pleasant flavor or texture for many Chinese. Chinese immigrants, excluded from most jobs due to virulent discrimination, found work in cities, mainly working as servants, in laundries or opening restaurants that offered home and takeaway food.
Hawaiian-Chinese food developed somewhat differently than Chinese cuisine in the continental United States. Over time, I began to realize that, although my own family loved Chinese-American food and considered it ours, my fellow Chinese American citizens didn't always see it that way. Anyone who sells food to the public wants their food to be popular, but it's also important to work with easily available ingredients. Of course, the long-standing concern has always been that Americans assume that all Chinese food is like Chinese-American food.
Kosher Chinese food is often prepared in New York City, as well as in other large cities with Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, under strict rabbinical supervision as a prerequisite for kosher certification. For some, Chinese-American food is and has always been a culinary reverence to American, or at least Western, culture. There was even a song, “Chop Suey”, in the popular movie “Flower Drum Song”, about Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, about the culture clash between American and Chinese values. In DC proper, there are Chinese-owned restaurants that specialize in both Chinese-American and authentic Chinese cuisine.
Along the way, cooks adapted dishes from South China and developed a style of Chinese food not found in China, such as chop suey. It casts a long shadow over other Chinese cuisines, which supposedly mislead non-Chinese people into believing that all Chinese food is like that.