Expats all over the world, regardless of nationality, are likely to experience some sense of need for a taste of home. Sometimes, that means literally a taste of home. A few American expats opted to open their Chinese American restaurant Fortune Cookie Shanghai in Shanghai rather than in the U.S. For those of us that have lived abroad or worked with expats for any period of time, that actually makes a lot of sense:
While dishes like these are familiar to American expats, they’re an anomaly in China. They were developed by Chinese immigrants from Canton to the U.S. during the 1800s, who adapted their cuisine due to a lack of ingredients from their homeland, as well as the need to cater to the American palate.
Chinese American food is, in a way, distinctly American. So it makes sense that expats would flock there. It offers just enough comfort while also offering elements of Chinese culture. It’s almost denial… “I need something American, but it’s not really American, is it? Well, kinda.
There are some comments in the article from a food critic that highlight some of the differences in the actual food. And these are followed by an expat relating just what we’ve described above:
…[The] nostalgic expats who flock here on weekends, [are] drawn in part by the fun atmosphere and interior design by Studio 1:1.
Hart Hagerty, a Shanghai-based American fashion designer and consultant, says she comes here when she needs some indulgent comfort food.
“It feels like a taste of home,” she said.
So it’s not just the food… it’s also the decor, the experience, and a little bit of comfort for those living thousands of miles from home.
I also like the comments that the local populations are also enjoying the food. So, Chinese people come to the U.S., blend their culture with American culture, and then this new creation is brought back to China. Exporting the “melting pot,” anyone? Love it.