On Changes in Chinese-American Food

“The reason why there was so long where there wasn’t mapo mac — or whatever the innovation — was because the first-generation immigration experience was really largely hinging on survival: Let’s do what works and let’s do what we know the clientele likes. We didn’t have the luxury of gambling on mapo mac,” said Mike Lee, founder of the Future Market, a food futurist lab, and the son of Chinese restaurant owners who emigrated from Hong Kong in the 1960s. “Because my parents were, so to speak, good soldiers, they weren’t trying to rock the boat to innovate. They built up this amazing foundation to send me to college, and then I had this ‘luxury’ to think more creatively. OG chefs like my parents don’t have an itch to reinvent the wheel. It’s coming from the Lucas Sins of the world, the David Changs of the world. That started the itch among diners like me who have been trained to expect new, different, novel things.”


Havent read the article but the excerpt you included is a fantastic point. Thanks for sharing

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i routinely combine chili & mac & cheese, so the concept of a mapo mac & cheese makes momofuku-ish sense to me. zhajiang sauce to me is the chinese version of bolognese, so why not serve it on a pasta that goes with bolognese like maybe a rigatoni. go with silken tofu instead of ricotta with tomato & basil. a cross over of a dong zi with tamale fillings would probably go over well in LA; the meldings have to be organic to the cultures of the potential clientele.