Is Chop Suey Really a Chinese Dish?

One of America’s favorite Chinese dishes, Chop Suey, is not Chinese at all! Even though it is served in thousands of Chinese restaurants all over the country, this dish of meat, fish, bean sprouts, celery, onions, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms is definitely American in origin.

Chop Suey is said to have been created in a California mining camp in the late 1800s. A Chinese cook was supposed to have thrown together a pot full of left-overs.

When he was asked by the delighted miners what he called his dish, he replied, “Tsa Sue.” These Chinese words, meaning “various things,” came to be commonly called “Chop Suey.”