More American than Apple Pie…

Now for something a little lighter, Stephen Colbert interviews Jennifer 8 Lee, author of the new book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the world of Chinese Food.

It’s all in good fun, and as a historian, I (Jeremiah) was pleased to see Zuo Zongtang get his props as something more than “The Chicken Guy” (as my students occasionally refer to him).

Colbert quote: “Is Chinese food safer to eat than Chinese toys?”

The Discussion: 19 Comments

Definitely it is safer to eat Chinese food than Chinese toys.

Toys plastic stuff is not so tasty and very bad for the stomach.
That is what I remember when I was a kid.


March 6, 2008 @ 12:06 am | Comment

I watched the interview last night, Jennifer 8 (LOL, yeah, that’s her real name) was brilliant.

And she’s absolutely right on about the Chinese American food.. Love her Mandarin too.

And Panda express has the worst chinese food you can get.

March 6, 2008 @ 4:14 am | Comment

Yeah, the US could do with a ” da niang shui jiao” chain.

March 6, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Comment

damn, her mandarin was crap

March 6, 2008 @ 11:44 am | Comment

I like Panda Express alright. I don’t delude myself into thinking that it is authentic Chinese food, as anyone could see. However, I am not looking for authenticity on my lunch break. Had plenty of that already. My wife, raised on Chinese foods, similarly enjoys Panda Express.

I’m just disappointed that they don’t have a flaming pu-pu platter (bao bao pan). I imagine that would not go well in a fast food container.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

One can certainly get Zuo Zong Tang Ji in Taiwan, just not so recognizable from the American experience….

March 6, 2008 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

Zuo Gong Ji is a dish created by Chinese-American immigrants, and has nothing to do with Zuo Zongtang.

Zuo Zongtang came from Hunan, and Hunan dishes are known for being extremely spicy instead of sweet.

March 6, 2008 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Chinese food in China has a lot of oil.

March 6, 2008 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

“Chinese food in China has a lot of oil.”

Another reason for the current high price of oil barrel….. 😉

March 6, 2008 @ 6:46 pm | Comment

“Chinese food” ?

There’s Cantonese food, not spicy hot, not oily; Ke Jia food, not spicy, not oily;
there’s Hunan food (La bu ma) often w/fresh chili while Sichuan food is often (ma – La ) w/dried chili and numb-pepper corn and oily; then there’s DongBei ( N orthEastern China) food – mostly soap noodles, Jiao Zi, meat on bone..not oily; then there’s the Chinese muslim LanZhou la-mian, mutton and beef dishes…

March 7, 2008 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Ah, thanks for the reminder, YG. I’d almost forgotten how much I like Ke Jia food; I have several Hakka friends I used to eat out with frequently, but haven’t gone for a while.

March 7, 2008 @ 9:54 am | Comment

It’s funny that the only situation in which youguys would question the ontological status of the term “Chinese” is in a discussion of food, with the intention of demonstrating non-oily-ness.

March 7, 2008 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

My experience of Hakka food in Taiwan is that it is as oily as everything else here. I’d be curious to read work on how or if it has changed from being here.

I have a foreign friend who looks forward to the coming Anschluss; he says the influx of Chinese food into Taiwan will dramatically improve the local food culture.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:32 pm | Comment

Chinese food in China has a lot of oil. Another reason for the current high price of oil barrel….. 😉
Ha ha ha, very funny…

I had soy bean beverage and rice porridge for breakfast yesterday; for lunch I had
steamed rice with vegie and steamed fish and for dinner I had mushroom -chicken jiao zi and noodle soup. This morning I had 2 steamed vegie buns and green tea…very Oily you say? Some people are just ….just…funny I guess.

March 7, 2008 @ 3:32 pm | Comment


What are soap noodles? Sounds like a really interesting dish.

March 7, 2008 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

Yes it is a ( a bit expensive) yummy seafood noodle dish: s.o.a.p. noodles. Stir fried Onions, Abalone & Prawn noodles.

March 7, 2008 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

Ah, Lanzhou la mian. My hopeless addiction in China. I died and went to culinary heaven in Gansu and Xinjiang, that’s for sure.

March 8, 2008 @ 2:16 am | Comment

My local BJ friend says that when he was a child (late 70’s) the food was not oily at all, not enough oil to go around or just too expensive. According to him this ‘oiliness’ is a recent thing. Is this true?

March 8, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Comment


Not true, my parents always like cooking with a lot of oil in the dish.

In the old days when oil was expensive, people would still use a lot during the holidays…

March 11, 2008 @ 6:29 am | Comment

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