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經濟學人:盤子上的移民--中餐在美國的發展(2)

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The comfort of strangers

陌生人的慰藉
Chinese restaurants began to open in America in the mid-19th century, clustering on the west coast where the first immigrants landed. They mostly served an Americanised version of Cantonese cuisine— chop suey, egg fu yung and the like. In that century and much of the 20th, the immigrants largely came from China’s south-east, mainly Guangdong province.
中餐館于19世紀中葉開始在美國出現,并集中在第一批移民登陸的西海岸。他們提供的大多是美式粵菜——炒雜碎、芙蓉蛋等等。在那個世紀和20世紀的大部分時間里,移民主要來自中國的東南部,主要是廣東省。
After the immigration reforms of 1965 removed ethnic quotas that limited non- European inflows, Chinese migrants from other regions started to arrive. Restaurants began calling their food “Hunan” and “Sichuan”, and though it rarely bore much resemblance to what was actually eaten in those regions, it was more diverse and boldly spiced than the sweet, fried stuff that defined the earliest Chinese menus. By the 1990s adventurous diners in cities with sizeable Chinese populations could choose from an array of regional cuisines. A particular favourite was Sichuan food, with its addictively numbing fire (the Sichuan peppercorn has a slightly anaesthetising, tongue- buzzing effect).
1965年的移民改革取消了限制非歐洲移民流入的種族配額后,來自其他地區的中國移民開始涌入。餐館開始稱他們的食物為“湖南”和“四川”,盡管它很少與這些地區的實際飲食有太多相似之處,但它比中國最早的菜單上的甜炸菜更多樣化,口味也更豐富。到上世紀90年代,在中國人口眾多的城市里,敢于冒險的食客們可以從一系列地方菜系中做出選擇。其中最受歡迎的是川菜,它讓人上癮的是讓人麻木的辣(花椒有輕微的麻醉和舌頭嗡嗡的效果)。

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Yet over the decades, as Chinese food became ubiquitous, it also—beyond the niche world of connoisseurs—came to be standardised. There are almost three times as many Chinese restaurants in America (41,000) as McDonald’s. Virtually every small town has one and, generally, the menus are consistent: pork dumplings (steamed or fried); the same two soups (hot and sour, wonton); stir-fries listed by main ingredient, with a pepper icon or star indicating a meagre trace of chilli-flakes. Dishes over $10 are grouped under “chef’s specials”. There are modest variations: in Boston, takeaways often come with bread and feature a dark, molasses-sweetened sauce; a Chinese-Latino creole cuisine developed in upper Manhattan. But mostly you can, as at McDonald’s, order the same thing in Minneapolis as in Fort Lauderdale.

然而,在過去的幾十年里,隨著中國食品變得無處不在,它也開始標準化——超越了鑒賞家的小眾世界。美國的中餐館(41000家)幾乎是麥當勞的三倍。幾乎每個小鎮都有中餐館,而且菜單通常都是一樣的:豬肉餃子(蒸餃或煎餃);同樣的兩種湯(酸辣湯和餛飩); 按主要成分列出的炒菜,用辣椒圖標或星星辣椒碎的含量。超過10美元的菜肴被歸為“廚師特色菜”。在波士頓,外賣通常會搭配面包,配上深色的糖蜜醬;一種中國-拉美克里奧爾菜系,在曼哈頓上城發展起來。但大多數情況下,你可以像在麥當勞那樣,在明尼阿波利斯點和勞德代爾堡一樣的東西。
Until recently, the prices varied as little as the menus—and they were low. Eddie Huang, a Taiwanese-American restaurateur turned author and presenter, recounts how his newly arrived father kept his prices down because “immigrants can’t sell anything full-price in America.”
直到最近,價格的變化幾乎和菜單一樣小,而且價格很低。黃艾迪是一名臺灣裔美國餐館老板,后來轉行當了作家和主持人,他講述了他新到美國的父親是如何壓低價格的,因為“移民在美國賣不出全價”。

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