La Choy Food Products
One of the companies that pioneered the mass production of Chinese food for home consumption in the early 1920s in the United States. La Choy Food Products used America’s obsession with “Orientalism” to carve out an economic niche in the American ethnic food market. The company's marketing played a role in assimilating Chinese food for American consumers with 1980s slogans such as “La Choy makes Chinese food swing American”. This attempt to familiarize and bring to the American home Chinese food and recipes began to slightly soften the anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States
Chinese food products, especially meat products, were thought of suspiciously throughout the early 19th century in the United States. The image of the rat-eating Chinese immigrant was very pressistant in the public imagination and was fueled by prejudiced reviews of different chinatowns in the press and in commercial and political ads. The usage of language in these 1927 La Choy advertisements is pointed out in this gallery. Statements such as “genuine Chinese prepared at your home”, and the emphasis on how these products were prepared and sold in “ sealed sanitary containers”, could be seen as push back against all the earlier negative portrayal of sanitary conditions in Chinese restaurants.
Choi, A. (2016). ‘“La Choy Chinese Food Swings American?:”’ Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurship and American Orientalism Before World War II. Cultural and Social History, 13(4), 521-538.
Roberts, J. (2002). China to Chinatown : Chinese food in the West (Globalities). London: Reaktion.