A History Of Cantonese Food In America

by Chang's | History, Food

Cantonese cooking originates from the Guangdong Province in China. This southern region has had a unique cultural impact on its food as a result of being a major hub for trade since the 18th century. As a result, the establishment, and the cultivation of Cantonese cooking from this region has become one of the most sought after and “cosmopolitan” cuisines of China.

Cantonese cooking is no stranger to the United States as well. Some of the early immigrants from China happened to be natives of the Guangdong region. Consequently, being some of the first generations of Chinese Americans, Guarding immigrants established Cantonese cuisine as one of the first Chinese styled cuisines brought to the U.S. Since then it has become ingrained as one of the staple Chinese cuisines in the States.

However, this history of Chinese cuisines, and more specifically, Cantonese cuisine was not the most “accepted” history. Many of the first waves of Chinese immigrants began migrating to the United States in the early 1800’s. Much of the expansion towards westward settlements and railroads was accomplished by Chinese immigrant labor. In these times of establishing lives in a new land, Chinese immigrants sought out food as a way to hold close their rich cultures. Buts, as non Chinese workers began to resent Chinese immigrants as “job competition” many Chinese had to look towards other means of business and labor.

In addition to this cultural boom of Chinese cuisine in the States, Cantonese cuisine has been able to differentiate itself from other Chinese cuisines as well. This has been due to the unique and simple flavors and ingredients that Cantonese food prides itself upon. Unlike other Chinese cuisines, Cantonese cuisine is defined by its simple dishes which focus on clean flavors. This represents itself in the form of vegetables like garlic, ginger, and scallion, and meats like pork, chicken, and fish. This unique and simple approach to food and unique methods of preparation like steaming, stir frying, and braising give Cantonese its special flavor and taste amongst other Chinese cuisine.