How did Chop Suey Get Its Name and What does the Term “Chop Suey” Mean?

The chop is English, in the sense of “chipped” or “cut,” but the suey is Chinese sui, “bits.”

chop suey

Like the term itself, the concoction or comestible is of mixed origin.

As explained to us, forty years ago, it was first devised by a Chinese operating a restaurant in Brooklyn, who composed it of bits of fried or stewed chicken or pork, rice, noodles, and sesame seeds or oil, and served the steamy mess in its own juice.

But we’ll accept as more authentic the statement by Herbert Asbury in Gangs of New York (1928) that it was the invention of a dishwasher in San Francisco about 1860.

Yes, you’re right; we’ve never asked for it a second time.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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