Jennifer 8. Lee talks about the spread of bastardized Chinese food around the world, and the origins of faux-Chinese items like the fortune cookie and General Tso’s chicken.
My favorite bit: Her theory how the non-centralized “spontaneous self-organization” of Chinese restaurants across the US has led to more basically-the-same Chinese restaurants as there are McDonalds, Burger Kings, Wendys and KFCs combined.
I wish she said more about why this phenomenon took place, and how Chinese restaurants in each country have localized in more or less the same way. Obviously, the sheer quantity of people and the strong self-identification of the Chinese played a help hand. But what else?