What’s Chinese takeout?

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Chinese takeout is a popular option for cheap and familiar food in the United States, with dishes like Chop Suey and Chow Mein being created to suit non-Chinese tastes. The tradition began in California in the mid-19th century and has since expanded to include a wide variety of options, including vegetarian and traditional dishes. Fortune cookies, invented in a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, are a popular way to end a Chinese takeout meal.

Chinese takeout is Western Chinese food that is picked up by customers or delivered to customers at their homes. The Chinese rectangular cardboard folding take-out box, with its thin wire handle, is recognizable in the United States as the take-out cardboard pizza box. The food is generally considered to be quite cheap, though not cheap. Some Chinese takeout establishments also have catering facilities.

The idea of ​​the Chinese takeout kitchen began in California in the mid-19th century. These early restaurants were very makeshift and were recognized by Cantonese workers by a yellow triangular piece of cloth attached to the outside of the kitchen. The cloth symbol lets Cantonese workers know that the place inside would have hot, cheap, and most importantly, familiar food.

As more and more non-Chinese people began frequenting these casual restaurants, dishes more suited to non-Chinese tastes began to be created. These included Chop Suey and Chow Mein and are still hugely popular Chinese takeout today. Chop Suey features chunks of meat, poultry and/or fish and vegetables in a brown gravy, and Chow Mein is a noodle dish with bean sprouts and other vegetables. Veggie or mushroom, Chow Mein doesn’t have meat or fish, but most other variations of Chow Mein include meat, shrimp, or chicken.

Typical take-out Chinese entrees include soups and egg rolls, and a larger establishment can offer many more options. There is usually a good selection of main courses of meat, poultry and fish as well as some vegetarian tofu dishes. Steamed rice is a common side dish as is fried rice, which is another American main course. Fried rice is made with egg, vegetables such as peas, and bits of cooked pork and/or mushrooms added to the rice.

Sit-down Chinese restaurants that also have a takeout option may offer more traditional dishes in their Chinese takeout selection. Even non-fried Chinese foods are often high in sodium, and those on a low-sodium diet may not be able to eat take-out Chinese foods as directed by their doctor. However, Chinese takeout is a favorite of many people. Fortune cookies, sweet cookies that contain a slip of paper containing a message, offer a fun way to end a Chinese take-out meal. Fortune cookies were also invented in California, in a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco.

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