Home » Chop Suey » How Does American Chinese Food Differ from Native Oriental Cuisine?

How Does American Chinese Food Differ from Native Oriental Cuisine?

Share this on...

What’s the Difference?

American Chinese food is different from the native Oriental cuisine in many ways. Let’s compare and contrast the use of vegetables.  In the former, vegetables are used to decorate the food, whereas in the Chinese cuisines, vegetables are the main ingredients.

real chinese food

American Chinese food is generally less spicy than the native Chinese food. Usually, local ingredients common in America but no often used in China, are used to prepare the dishes. For example, the use of broccoli is very common in the Americanized version, while it is rarely used in the authentic cuisine, where bok choy, water chestnuts, and lotus root are extensively used.

American Chinese dishes are very easy to prepare and take less time in cooking (Now you know why it’s ALWAYS ready in 10 minutes!).   Many dishes are cooked very quickly with a lot of oil and salt. Generally, low-priced ingredients and the most common methods of cooking, such as stir-frying, pan-frying, and deep-frying are used.  All the cooking can be easily done with the help of a wok.

American Chinese food contains high amount of MSG which is used to add flavor to the food. But now, many restaurants serve ‘MSG Free’ or ‘NO MSG’ options, because some customers may be glutamate sensitive.  However, cautiously done scientific research has shown no such negative effects of glutamate.  But, the myth lives on.

American Chinese restaurants have menus written in English or having pictures, as they cater to non-Chinese consumers.   Some restaurants, like the ones that we love to dine in, and to review, have separate Chinese-language menus.   Some dishes, which may turn off American clients feature treats like liver, chicken feet or some other striking meat dishes.

In New York’s Chinatown, the restaurants are infamous for saying “no” to provide non-Chinese Americans the “secret” menu that features the genuine Chinese dishes.  But, if you read our reviews, and go to the Chinese restaurants that we recommend, you’ll be assured of an authentic Chinese meal.  To get an ordered list of our recommendations, check out our Official Chinese Quest Rankings.

Stay hungry my friends.

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

–Mee Magnum (“Chop!  Chop!”)

Share this on...


  1. I have always liked my food really spicy and get fairly disappointed when I go to Asian restaurants. I have a local Korean restaurant I go to and the cooks always look my food extremely spicy which is something I’m very happy with.

  2. Great Article, Brother Magnum!
    I learned a lot about the differences between “American” Chinese and “Chinese” Chinese. Can’t wait for the next meal.

    • Why thank you, Brother Tsu Yan!

      I have learned much about the different foods and spices, and learned even more from sharing the experiences with each othter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.