In Chop Suey Nation, author Ann Hui explores the ubiquitous Chinese-Canadian restaurant, the kind that serves Chinese food adapted to Western tastes. Think sweet and sour chicken balls or fried rice, or any dish you might have eaten in a small town Chinese restaurant that was covered in a thick sweet or savory sauce, a nod to Western “gravy.” Hui travelled from Victoria, BC to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, visiting many small town restaurants, searching out “good fake Chinese,” meeting the owners, immigrants who came to Canada looking for a better life. Often family-run, the restaurants pass from generation to generation, but the menu remains steadfast and regionally unique: ginger beef in Alberta but fried macaroni and beef in Quebec. Weaving together her own family history with the captivating stories of these entrepreneurial restaurateurs, Hui’s book takes us down a compelling road less travelled, yet uniquely Canadian and familiar.
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