Nina and Tim Zagat suggest that immigration restrictions are preventing Americans from enjoying more authentic Chinese cooking, rather than sweet Chinese American dishes. Dan Drezner questions the immigration hypothesis on the grounds that the Zagats specifically contrast the Chinese food situation with that affecting other Asian cuisines. Tyler Cowen, likewise, is dubious:

Dan Drezner poses the query, and considers immigration restrictions as a factor, though without endorsing that hypothesis. Immigration can't be the key reason, since I can learn to cook the stuff (really), there is plenty of excellent Chinese food in Tanzania (really), and most French food in America is cooked by Mexicans (that you already knew), albeit with instructions.

I'm going to have to agree with Tyler. The key point, for both of us, is that if you go somewhere in the United States where the restaurants are primarily catering to a Chinese ancestry clientel -- Flushing, Queens (pictured above; the homeland of my mother's side of the family and the spiritual homeland of Mets fans everywhere, now a vast see of immigration) is the salient example in my life -- all of a sudden things get very different. Hence Tyler's contention that "consumer demand" is the strongest factor.

Photo by Flickr user Barry Wallis used under a Creative Commons license

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