While Chinese-Americans made their early mark in rural and small-town America through agricultural, mining and construction activities, for the most part they are identified with urban living. Indeed, the largest historic core Chinatown locations are almost synonymous with America’s largest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Even today’s new emerging Chinese American communities are identified with the large population centers, such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Las Vegas. So with this background, how does one explain that there are as many, if not more authentic Chinese restaurants in Champaign, Illinois (population 82,000) than in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles (population 1.5 million), which represents half of the geographic area and population of the city of Los Angeles (but where good Chinese food is narrowly concentrated)? Read the rest of this entry »
Over 90% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, and pizzerias make up 20% of all restaurants in America. It is small wonder, then, that the humble Italian pizza pie is now a $38 billion industry in its adopted country of America.
New trends in the way pizza is made have only made it more popular. No longer mere fast food, pizza has gone gourmet. Here are six interesting, sometimes excessive, and often delectable pizza trends: Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I was running some errands when I saw a sign at Carl’s Jr. advertising any size soft drink for $1.
And even though I wasn’t far from home and had cold soda waiting for me in my fridge, I went through the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru and purchased a large Diet Dr. Pepper (and a spicy chicken sandwich to boot!). Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Goodnight originally invented the chuck wagon to feed cowboys during a cattle drive between Texas and New Mexico, so it is only fitting that the chuck wagon’s modern-day descendants have rolled into Santa Fe dispensing gourmet food. These are six of Santa Fe’s best food trucks: Read the rest of this entry »
The first three subjects in our series, Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami were all cities without historic Chinese communities or a downtown Chinatown. Technically, Houston does not fit either part of this definition since Houston once had a historic Chinese community as one of the stops on the Southern Pacific railroad, and it still has a downtown Chinatown of sorts. Furthermore, it now has a suburban area widely referred to as Chinatown. However, Houston fits more into the Atlanta/Dallas/Miami model as compared to cities with historic Chinese communities and core center Chinatowns like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. For one, Houston’s Chinese community lacks historic continuity as the original Chinese community disappeared, to be replaced by a newer one starting in the 1940s. In this regard, Houston may be unique among Chinese American communities as its current Chinese community developed while the laws prohibiting the immigration of Chinese to the United States were still in effect. Many of these Chinese relocated to Houston from the Mississippi Delta area, though my own family moved from Los Angeles to Houston in the mid-1930s. Read the rest of this entry »