The Worldwide Influence Of Chop Suey

Did you know that Chop Suey literally means “mixed small bits” or “odds and ends”? In the culinary world, chop suey just refers to a type of stew made of various ingredients mixed together. Chop suey is not just a dish that is known to Filipinos. It is a popular Chinese dish that has spread throughout the world.

There are conflicting stories of the origins of this popular dish. One of the beliefs is that chop suey was invented in America by the Chinese who migrated to the western U.S. from a town called Toishan in the South China coast. In the 1870s, they suffered racial violence which made them migrate to cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and New York.

It was in New York where a group of artists and writers called the Bohemians discovered Chop Suey (it was then called “chow-chop-suey”) when they went to a certain Chinese restaurant on Mott Street. To their surprise, they loved the food so much. Soon after, thousands of non-Chinese were regularly making the trip to Mott Street to eat chop suey.

From that time on, chop suey was known as a stew of various meats cooked with bean sprouts, onions, celery, and bamboo shoots. In the 1920s, chop suey spread across the U.S., becoming as popular as hot dogs and apple pie.
The rest is history.

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