Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants
Paperback, 312 Pages
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"Sweet and Sour" examines the history of Chinese family restaurants in the U. S. and Canada. Why did many Chinese immigrants enter this business around the end of the 19th century? What conditions made it possible for Chinese to open and succeed in operating restaurants after they emigrated to North America? How did Chinese restaurants manage to attract non-Chinese customers, given that they had little or no acquaintance with the Chinese style of food preparation and many had vicious hostility toward Chinese immigrants? The goal of "Sweet and Sour" is to understand how the small Chinese family restaurants functioned. Narratives provided by 10 Chinese who grew up in their family restaurants in all parts of the North America provide valuable insights on the role that this ethnic business had on their lives. Is there any future for this type of immigrant enterprise in the modern world of franchised and corporate owned eateries or will it soon, like the Chinese... More > laundry, be a relic of history?< Less
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Nov 12, 2011Praise for "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants" I greatly admired and enjoyed "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants" It does an excellent job of going over the historical background on early U. S. Chinese restaurants, unearthing lots of material new to me. And the interviews of Chinese restaurateurs opened up a whole new side to the story, of what it was like to work and live in these restaurants. Andrew Coe, "Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States" John Jung has taken us down another memory lane and this time we brought along our appetite. "Sweet & Sour" evoked hundreds of memories of Chinatowns, favorite soul food dishes, haunts of opulent and garish banquet halls and the more frequented and beloved hole-in-the walls. These are the collective memories shared by families and friends. Sweet & Sour is also an anthropological study. Chinese cooks across these United States and... More > Canada created an everlasting love for Chinese food enjoyed by all cultures. Find a “chop suey” house and generations upon generations will cite their favorites, be it chow mein, fried rice, beef brisket stew or even chicken feet. Without a doubt this is by far Jung’s best work and with the greatest universal appeal. Sylvia Sun Minnick, "Samfow: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy" John Jung again demonstrates a marvelous ability to blend archival data with fascinating first-person accounts to bring to life the family-operated Chinese eateries that are quickly disappearing from today’s society. Following solid historical groundwork, Jung uses narratives of 10 individuals who grew up in such places to take readers inside old-time chop suey houses. Their stories provide a candid telling of the personal, familial, and cultural significance of these familiar cafes. As with his earlier books on Chinese family-owned laundries and grocery stores, the author sheds a fresh and ample light on a subject even more familiar. And once again he does it so well from the inside out. Mel Brown, "Chinese Heart of Texas: The San Antonio Community 1875-1975." "Sweet And Sour" is a powerful historical exploration of an American institution: the family-owned Chinese restaurant. John Jung succeeds in bringing to life the exterior side of such Chinese eateries across the nation--their appearance, their location, and of course, their hybrid, Americanized menu offerings. In addition, by means of a variety of interviews and primary sources, he focuses attention as well on their little-known private side, the daily routines and harsh working conditions that made them run. Jung underlines the contributions of all family members, including children, that were necessary for success. Greg Robinson, Prof. of History, University of Quebec, Montreal. "A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America" "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants" tackles the long-neglected topic of Chinese food with a focus on Chinese restaurants. This well-researched, thoughtfully conceptualized monograph brings academic rigor and adds historical depth, as well as the perspectives of an insightful scholar and a second-generation Chinese American, to our understanding of the development of Chinese food in the realm of public consumption in the United States and Canada. It promises to elevate that understanding to a higher level... Through this book, I hope, consumers at the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants can also gain a deeper appreciation of historical forces and human experiences that have shaped the food they now enjoy. Yong Chen,Professor of History, University of California, Irvine. "San Francisco Chinese 1850-1943:A Trans-Pacific Community." "Sweet and Sour" covers many important aspects of the Chinese restaurant business and it is a great contribution to the study of Chinese food in America. This area really deserves more attention than it has had. Haiming Liu, Professor of Ethnic and Women's Studies, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. “Food, Culinary Identity, and Transnational Culture: Chinese Restaurant Business in Southern California,” Journal of Asian American Studies, (2009); "The Transnational History of a Chinese Family. Immigrant Letters, Family Business, and Reverse Migration,"2006. Jacqueline M. Newman, Flavor and Fortune, 2011:18(3), 17-18. "... This book, a memory-lane must-read volume, is about places and lives of the Chinese restaurant owners. It blends archival information, myriads of memories, and historical explorations about early Chinese family-owned family-operated restaurants, most in the south. ... Learn about their harsh working conditions, savor the interviews, put yourself in those primary source statements, and see the pictures--most never before seen. Glean contributions the many family members made. Garner the whys of their success. Get deep into the washing of dishes, wiping flatware and tabletops, even stir-frying chop suey and chow mein.,,," < Less
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- John Jung (Standard Copyright License)
- Yin and Yang Press
- March 31, 2010
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.16 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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