'Chinese' Food You Won’t Find in China (Slideshow)
November 26, 2013
Good luck finding egg foo young in Shanghai
General Tso’s Chicken
Although the flavors might be traditional to Hunanese cuisine, the dish isn’t; it was created by a Chinese chef in New York.
A completely American invention, the closest is comes to real Chinese food is the shape. In fact, cream cheese is essentially nonexistent in Asia.
Fortune cookies are actually modeled after a Japanese cookie called senbei. It is still unknown how they became labeled as Chinese, but the Japanese cookies have fortunes inside of them and have been around for a while.
Although "chop suey" very loosely translates to "odds and ends" in Cantonese, it didn't originate in China. The exact story is unknown, but it is thought by some that it came to existence when a Chinese-American chef put together scraps of leftover dishes and made it into a new dish.
Duck sauce is an Americanized version of Chinese plum sauce, or hoisin. It gets its orange tint from apricots, which are very uncommon in China.
Sweet and Sour Pork
This dish is a take on China’s sweet and sour fish, but the sauce is completely different: American sweet and sour sauce contains tomato paste, which isn’t used in China, and is much sweeter than anything you’ll find there. You probably won’t find those little nuggets of battered and fried pork there, either.
Egg Foo Young
The real version of egg foo young is actually an egg pancake with crispy, frilled edges, and it bears no resemblance to its American counterpart. It is believed that the version we see in restaurants was created by Chinese-American chefs who worked in logging or on railroads, and simply mixed together eggs and vegetables.
Beef with Broccoli
Broccoli is a Western vegetable that you won’t often find in Asia. In China dishes do exist that combine beef with Chinese broccoli, called gai lan, but the vegetable is completely different, as are the dishes’ flavor profiles.
Orange chicken is a spin-off of General Tso's, but sweeter. Although the Chinese have a dish called orange chicken, it’s completely different (not at all sticky and messy) from what we find in the States.
Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is the American take on a dish called egg flower soup, which is not found in many restaurants in China. The main difference between the two is that the American version of egg drop soup contains cornstarch.