The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
    and featured on The Colbert Report, Martha Stewart,, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose Tomorrow, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast. Also selected for Borders Original Voices and Book Sense. Follow me on Twitter! Fan me on Facebook.

  • Chop Suey

    American Chop Suey, Available at Whole Foods

    Sunday, June 27th, 2010

    Photo of American Chop Suey at Whole Foods sent to me by Elisa Mala. I’ve long been perplexed by this dish, which is essentially macaroni, ground beef and tomato paste (plus some other stuff thrown in). It’s a fairly popular dish, based on how many people cook it. How did this become American chop suey? […]

    Renqiu Yu’s From Chinese Food to Chinese American Food

    Monday, June 1st, 2009

    I’m putting a digital copy of Renqiu Yu’s “Chop Suey: From Chinese Food to Chinese American Food” [pdf] in Chinese America: History and Perspectives (1987) online for people who need it. Permission from the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco and Ren himself. I noticed it cited in a bunch of places, but […]

    Chinese-Mexican Food: The Chimale

    Saturday, May 16th, 2009

    This Associated Press article on the Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles mentioned something in passing that caught my eye: “Chimales,” Chinese-Mexican tamales stuffed with kung pao chicken or Chinese barbecue pork. They are topped off with a side of pico de gallo and sour cream. The chimales are made by, whose motto is […]

    What is a chop suey sundae?

    Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

    Sent to me by a Proquest executive. Proquest Historical Newspaper Archive is very useful for historical research. I would not have been able to do much on chop suey, Chinese restaurants, fortune cookie and General Tso’s chicken without it. She sent me an ad for a chop suey sundae…which piqued my curiosity

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles quoted on Chop Suey in the New Yorker Online

    Saturday, April 12th, 2008

    A few people had passed me this little item by Andrea Thompson that ran on the New Yorker’s web site on chop suey a few weeks ago, where my book is mentioned and quoted. Exciting. Born in the U.S.A. In this week’s Tables for Two, Ligaya Mishan reviews Chop Suey, whose tongue-in-cheek name has little […]

    Newsday says book smacks like chop suey: rich medley of flavors, odds and ends

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

    Newsday’s review is more mixed, generally positive with its main criticism (which is not unfair) being: “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” offers a rich medley of flavors that would be more delicious had the chef exercised some restraint: A clearer chronology and narrative line would allow each ingredient to sing. As it stands, Lee’s concoction, although […]

    Frozen Indian-Chinese food, at a Patel Brothers near you!

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

    I went shopping at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights with my friend Roopa the other day, and saw these frozen Indian-Chinese dishes to go! (sorry for the poor photo quality, I took it with my Treo and the lighting in the freezers was bad). Hakka noodles is to Indian-Chinese food what lo mein is to […]

    NYT: Why immigration reform affects your Chinese takeout

    Sunday, June 17th, 2007

    Tim and Nina Zagat of (yes as in those Zagats) have an interesting op-ed piece in The New York Times about why Chinese cuisine in the United States is stagnant — and they blame it (partially) on the difficulty with getting visas for Chinese chefs. This is something that I have thought long and hard […]