Chinese restaurant

"Chinese takeaway" redirects here. For the song by the band The Adicts, see Chinese Takeaway.
"Chinese takeout" redirects here. For the novel by Arthur Nersesian, see Chinese Takeout.
A buffet-style Chinese restaurant in the United States (Eat-all-you-can for a set price)

A Chinese Restaurant is an establishment that serves Chinese cuisine outside China. Some have distinctive styles, as with American Chinese cuisine and Canadian Chinese cuisine. Most of them are in the Cantonese restaurant style. Chinese takeouts (United States and Canada) or Chinese takeaways (United Kingdom and Commonwealth) are also found either as components of eat-in establishments or as separate establishments, and serve a take out version of Chinese cuisine


United States

Chinese restaurants in the United States began during the California gold rush, which brought twenty to thirty thousand immigrants across from the Canton (Guangdong) region of China. By 1850, there were 5 restaurants in San Francisco. Soon after, significant amounts of food were being imported from China to America's west coast. The trend spread eastward with the growth of the American railways, particularly to New York City.[1] In 1915, restaurant owners were eligible for merchant visas and this fueled the opening of Chinese restaurants as an immigration vehicle.[2] As of 2015 the United States had 46,700 Chinese restaurants.[3]

There has been a consequential component of Chinese emigration of illegal origin, most notably Fuzhou people from Fujian Province[4] and Wenzhounese from Zhejiang Province in Mainland China, specifically destined to work in Chinese restaurants in New York City, beginning in the 1980s but continuing today. Adapting Chinese cooking techniques to local produce and tastes has led to the development of American Chinese cuisine.

United Kingdom

In 1907, the first recorded Chinese restaurant in London, England was opened.[5] The rise in the number of Chinese restaurants in the UK only began after the Second World War, and has been attributed to returning service personnel.[6] The restaurants were operated by Hong Kongers who moved to the UK.[7]

In 2003, the first British Chinese restaurant achieved a Michelin star.[8] In the United Kingdom, the business employed a large percentage of Chinese immigrants in the 1980s (90% in 1985).[9] Opening a restaurant or takeaway gave a relatively low capital cost entry for Chinese families into self-employment.[10] Many takeaways served a pseudo-Chinese cuisine based around western tastes, and the limited cooking skills and experience of the shop owners.[10][11]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chinese style restaurants.
  1. Smith, Andrew F. (1 October 2009). Eating history: 30 turning points in the making of American cuisine. Columbia University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-231-14092-8. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  2. Godoy, Maria (23 February 2016). "Lo Mein Loophole: How U.S. Immigration Law Fueled A Chinese Restaurant Boom". NPR. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  3. Passy, Charles (2015-08-26). "Meet the Pilot Who Doubles as Block Island's Chinese-Food Delivery Guy". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. "Chinese Immigrants Chase Opportunity in America". NPR Morning Edition. November 19, 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  5. "Chinese diaspora in Britain" (PDF). British Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  6. "History of Chinese, Thai & other oriental restaurants in Britain". Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  7. "Chinese restaurants 1950." British Library. Retrieved on November 26, 2016.
  8. Cahal Milmo (17 January 2003). "Chinese restaurant takes away Michelin star". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  9. Elizabeth Sinn (1998). The last half century of Chinese overseas. Hong Kong University Press. p. 429.
  10. 1 2 J.A.G. Roberts (2004). China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West. Reaktion Books. pp. 175–181.
  11. Wai Kam Yu (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) (2000). Chinese older people: a need for social inclusion in two communities. The Policy Press. pp. 6–7.
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