The interesting thing about most Chinese food served in the United States is that it’s only distantly related to traditional Chinese cuisine. Yet American style Chinese food has become so popular, not only in America but throughout the world, that many people feel like they’re missing something when they visit China. That’s the motivation behind a new restaurant in Shanghai, called, appropriately enough, The Fortune Cookie.
Two friends from the U.S. started the Fortune Cookie in order to give both locals and tourists in China’s largest city the chance to enjoy American style dishes like sesame shrimp and orange chicken. One of the partners, Fung Lam, is a Chinese-American whose family has prepared such dishes in the U.S. for many decades. As the name of the restaurant suggests, they also serve fortune cookies, another delicacy not usually found in China. The origin of fortune cookies is disputed. Some trace them back to Japan; another theory is that they were first served in San Francisco restaurants.
There are many differences between authentic Chinese and Westernized Chinese food. These include cooking methods (in China, foods are not fried as frequently as in the U.S.) and different ingredients. Yet, as cultures merge and people travel more and more, these differences are likely to get less pronounced. Restaurants such as The Fortune Cookie are one way the gap is being bridged.