BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

Chop Suey Nation: The Surprising History and Vibrant Present of Small-Town Chinese Restaurants from Victoria, BC, to Fogo Island, NL – Ann Hui

Thoughts: My friend Jonathan recommended this book to me, and I’m glad he did: I really enjoyed it, finishing it in less than a day. Chop Suey Nation combines the story of Hui’s multi-week trip across Canada to visit Chinese restaurants to gather stories with the story of Hui’s own parents’ immigration from China to Canada and their experience running a restaurant there. I found it interesting that the opening of the first restaurant in a region was often marked by initial innovation, with the owners quickly adapting traditional Chinese meals to fit Canadians’ sensibilities, but that this initial innovation was frequently followed by replication of a successful formula in nearby restaurants that opened later. The book left me hungry to go out and eat at independent restaurants.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering.)

Hui, Ann. 2019. Chop Suey Nation: The Surprising History and Vibrant Present of Small-Town Chinese Restaurants from Victoria, BC, to Fogo Island, NL. Douglas and MacIntyre.

Posted: Apr 20, 2021. Last updated: Apr 20, 2021.