Retired attorney reveals how he visited 8,000 Chinese restaurants

A retired tax attorney revealed what he learned while eating at nearly 8,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States.

David R Chan, 72, from Los Angeles has at 7,812. ate dinner Chinese restaurants and counting, for over four decades, has kept a table detailing each one.

With a collection of thousands of restaurant business cards and menus, the third-generation Chinese-American said the journey began as a “search for identity.” but it also records how the culture of Chinese immigrants in the United States is changing.

He first created the table in the early 90s when he bought his first home computer, and despite his penchant for Asian cuisine, he admits that he still can’t use chopsticks and doesn’t classify himself as a foodie.

David R. Chan, 72, from Los Angeles has dined in 7,812 Chinese restaurants for over four decades, and the number is rising, and has kept a table detailing each one.

“When I started my professional life in the 1970s, it coincided with the advent of what we call authentic Chinese food in North America,” he told Menuism.

“So my goal was to try every authentic Chinese restaurant in the Los Angeles area at least once.”

He has visited restaurants across the country including New York, San Francisco, and Mississippi. Due to his legal career, he often traveled to Canada and Asia, where he also had the opportunity to try more of the kitchen.

He records dishes he has tried on his Instagram page, including XO fish, fried tilipia, Cantonese sponge cake, teppan tofu, and sesame dumplings.

Despite being the grandson of Chinese immigrants who moved to California from Guangdong, David didn’t eat Chinese food until he was an adult – and he was completely unfazed when he first ate it.

Speaking to the BBC about his first Chinese meal in the 1950s, he said: ” The food wasn’t sophisticated, we went to banquets, I ate soy sauce on rice and nothing else. ‘

He has visited restaurants across the country including New York, San Francisco, and Mississippi. Due to his legal career, he often traveled to Canada and Asia, where he also had the opportunity to try more of the kitchen. Pictured: Buffet at Spring Shabu Shabu in El Monte, California, featuring an assortment of prepared foods, including marinated pork feet.

At the time, there were very few Chinese immigrants in the United States – only 0.08 percent of the total population – many of them from one city.

“It was like all Americans in China came from a small town 100 miles outside of Los Angeles. Very underrepresented, ”he added, explaining that early American-Chinese food has been homogenized for the US palate.

However, the surge in immigrants from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong to the United States in the 1960s resulted in the food from China becoming much more diverse and the local cuisine becoming popular.

At the same time, the US civil rights movement, which David – a then a student – pleaded with to explore his own legacy through food, grew.

Pictured Bitro Na’s in Temple City’s signature okra dish, which was praised by David

“In the beginning it was just an identity search,” he added the BBC. “My interest in the history of the Chinese people in the US led me to eat Chinese food and see what it is like to be Chinese in different parts of the country.”

He added that he “had no idea” how diverse Chinese cuisine was before he started trying it.

David believes the best place to find varied authentic Chinese food in the US is in LA’s San Gabriel Valley – which has a thriving Chinese community.

“The Classic” Chicken Ramen is shown at Silverlake Ramen in Irvine, California

He told the BBC that dim sum was the best place to go for dim sum while he had also had “unexpectedly good” chow mein in Clarksdale, Mississippi, while his most disappointing meal was in Fargo, North Dakota.

“The fried rice was like boiled rice and someone poured soy sauce on it,” he said.

The eight main culinary cuisines are Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan and Zhejiang.

These foods vary widely due to China’s diverse agriculture and climate. Cantonese food offers plenty of fresh seafood as Guangdong is on the coast, while Fujian cuisine is influenced by its own mountainous terrain with popular ingredients like bamboo shoots and wild mushrooms.

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