Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Photo by John Sequeira

Cantonese restaurants have declined in the United States amid a corresponding rise of what is often referred to as Mainland Chinese food. In the San Gabriel Valley outside of Los Angeles, Cantonese restaurants represent only about 10 percent of total new Chinese restaurant openings over the past five years. The story is the same throughout the country, where coast to coast, non-Cantonese restaurant openings are surging compared to Cantonese restaurants. Historically Cantonese Chinatowns such as New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia now have numerous non-Cantonese restaurants in their midst. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, perhaps demographically the most Cantonese/Toishanese remaining Chinese community in the United States today, Sichuan and other Mainland-style restaurants, including two branches of Z & Y Sichuan, Pot & Noodle, Chong Qing Xiao Mian, House of Xian Dumpling, Spicy King, and Bund Shanghai have diversified the Chinese dining scene with regional Chinese cooking styles. Even in Phoenix, whose old Cantonese Chinatown disappeared decades ago, food writer Lauren Saria recently lamented the seeming disappearance of Cantonese food. (more…)

Posted by on April 9th, 2018

Last weekend, I got a bit hungry in the middle of the day while running errands and decided to go to my local Carl’s Jr. drive-thru for a quick snack. While scanning the menu, I noticed a special offer: Double Charbroiled Sliders for $1 from 2-5 p.m., down from the regular price of $1.50.

Happy hour pricing is a trend that’s popping up more often at major fast-food chains. Taco Bell, for example, offers medium soft drinks and other specialty beverages for $1 from 2-5 p.m., while Sonic offers 50% off its drinks and slushes from 2-4 p.m. (more…)

Posted by on March 26th, 2018

In Back To The Future Part II, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 and enters a restaurant called Cafe 80s. He’s greeted by two television versions of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev upselling menu items. Another TV shows Michael Jackson going through the menu with a customer. A bottle of “Pepsi Perfect” rises up from a clear plastic tube within the counter.

While the restaurants of 2018 haven’t quite manifested this 1989 prediction, we may not be that far off. (more…)

Posted by on March 5th, 2018

I have documented the continuous change in Chinese food in America, particularly since the 1960s when changes to American immigration laws triggered the diversification of Chinese food in America, a trend that is accelerating now. As such, a corresponding evolution in American Chinese restaurant names reflects the changing times. A restaurant named Golden Dragon or China Inn would have been the norm decades ago, but less generic names like Sea Harbour or Sichuan Impression are better suited for today’s restaurant scene.

I have noticed a thoroughly puzzling proliferation of one restaurant name: Fuleen. To add to the mystery, all of the Fuleen restaurants that have sprung up are located east of the Mississippi River. What forces could possibly be at work here? (more…)

Posted by on February 26th, 2018

I know this is going to sound egotistical, but I just can’t help myself: I love being right!

At the end of every year in just about every major consumer goods industry, experts offer predictions of the trends you can expect to see in the following year. So in my last blog of 2017, I wrote about five trends, one of which was value menus: (more…)

Posted by on January 22nd, 2018

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