Chop Suey, Pasta Primavera, and Other Ethnic Dishes That Really Aren't

Contributor
We love them, but they’re not what they say they are
Thinkstock

Pasta Primavera was invented in New York.

There are many ethnic foods that are not actually from the countries that they seem to be from. Some of these won’t surprise us at all, but others, well, let’s just say they really fooled us. Here are nine “ethnic” dishes that have surprisingly non-exotic origins.

Chop Suey, Pasta Primavera, and Other Fake Ethnic Dishes (Slideshow)

While a lot of these faux ethnic foods originated in the United States, many other cuisines have adopted ethnic dishes that aren’t native to that country. Take chicken tikka masala, for example. The British love chicken tikka masala, often affectionately abbreviated as “CTM,” so much that Marks & Spencer sells about 19 tons of their frozen CTM meals a week. But chicken tikka masala is not Indian; it is said to have been invented in Glasgow. In fact, in 1999, the United Kingdom began to export chicken tikka masala to India and Bangladesh.

Often, fake ethnic foods are products of immigrant communities in various countries, as in the case of Cuban sandwiches in Florida, or chop suey, which was made by Chinese immigrants, well, pretty much everywhere that Chinese people settled. That’s where things start to get confusing. For example, “American chop suey” is a Chinese-Indian dish that does not exist in America. What is Chinese chop suey? Click through our slideshow to find out.

We looked through and expanded on our list of foods you didn’t know were all-American in order to form this list, and learned a few surprising things from our list of things you didn’t know about American-Chinese food. Did you know it was popularized by West Coast hipsters? Neither did we.

Know of any other fake ethnic foods? Let us know by tweeting @thedailymeal.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad was invented in Tijuana, Mexico.

Not only is Caesar salad not Italian, it’s not American, either. In fact, it’s Mexican. It was invented in 1924 by Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini, who made the salad when he had to entertain friends but was low on supplies. He tossed together whatever he could find in his kitchen, and, pleased with the results, began serving it at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, which is still in operation today.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is actually British.

The question of who owns chicken tikka masala is hotly contested, reports Roads & Kingdoms. Many believe vociferously enough that it was invented by a Bangladeshi restaurant owner in Glasgow that Parliament motioned to for Glasgow to be given EU Protected Designation of Origin for it. Nevertheless, Marks & Spencer sells 19 tons of their frozen CTM meals a week, and there are more curry houses in London than there are in Delhi or Mumbai. That might be enough to call it a British dish.  

Related Links
Best Ethnic Food Neighborhoods in America10 Most Underrated Cuisines of the World11 Countries to Visit If You Love Spicy Food There’s a Scientific Explanation for Our Love of Indian Food