Chinese Cuisine in America: Stories, Struggles and Successes

Highlighting the struggles, resiliency, and entrepreneurial spirit of Chinese Americans, the exhibition chronicles the complex and often conflicting nature of Chinese Americans in America tying in its immigration history to the popularization of Chinese cuisine from chop suey to dim sum to spicy hotpot.

Culinary experts will recognize locally-connected restaurants and chefs showcased such as Bob Chinn’s Crab House, Sun Wah BBQ, Tony Hu’s Group; long-time standbys, Orange Garden Restaurant/Jade Cafe, Tong’s Tea Garden, Mee Mah Restaurant, Triple Crown Restaurant, Friendship Chinese Restaurant; early pioneers, Guey Sam, Chiam, Chef Shangri-la, and King’s Restaurants; and noted author and chef, Ken Hom CBE.

Their stories show their ambassadorship of Chinese culture and food in the U.S, as well as their contribution to Chicago as a major culinary city – including one where the hundred-year-old Chinatown is still vibrant and known as the only one to be still growing in the States. The exhibition covers the immigration of Chinese to America and how they survived, the formation of Chinatowns, the Era of Opulence, the diversity of later Chinese immigrants bringing with them their regional cooking, and current trends in Chinese cuisine.

Three Eng sisters at Hoe Sai Gai Restaurant, 1960.