Chop Suey Supper Club: A Mixtape on Afro-Asia and “Chinese American” Cuisine
August 20 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm online zoom link will be emailed day of the event
In collaboration with the Afro-Asia Group and Junzi 君子 Kitchen, MOFAD is excited to invite you to participate in the Chop Suey Supper Club, an online (Zoom) event, featuring a conversation, mixtape, and cooking demo exploring the crossroads of Black diaspora and Asian diaspora cuisines.
FEE $20, Get tickets at
Chinese food is often stereotyped as greasy and inexpensive in the United States, and this hides a deeper interracial history of labor and Asian migration. There is a forgotten history of African diasporic and Asian diasporic people who labored on the same plantations across the Western hemisphere from Cuba to Louisiana to Jamaica to Peru to Mississippi.
A mixture of protein (chicken, beef, shrimp, conch) and vegetables (bean sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, peas) stir-fried with a cornstarch-thickened sauce and sometimes served with rice, chop suey sustained the United States during the Great Depression. It was invented during the Gold Rush by Chinese men who migrated from the Pearl River Delta and cooked with locally available ingredients in California. The dish was subsequently remixed and has faced scrutiny for a century and a half about whether it is “authentically” Chinese or not.
During the 1930s, middle-class white women dined out at Chinese restaurants on “chop suey dates” as the dish became all the fashion across the U.S. Chop suey joints could be found from Harlem to St. Louis to San Francisco. As Dr. Goffe will explore, the mysterious dish is not only found in the United States but also in Jamaica, the Netherlands, and the Philippines; a product of south Chinese labor migration of men, many of whom were indentured laborers.
Author of the essay “Chop Suey Surplus: Chinese Food, Sex, and the Political Economy of Afro-Asia” Dr. Tao Leigh Goffe, a professor of literature and history at Cornell University, will present a mini-lecture on the political economy of how Chinese American food is essential to the American experience through the lens of the (now) obscure Chinese American dish Chop Suey. Also a DJ, or “PhDJ,” Dr. Goffe will debut her “Chop Suey visual mixtape” to show the history of the elusive dish and how tracing it is a useful way to understand Afro-Asian history and racial mixture.
Join us on August 20th at 8pm EST for a virtual conversation, mixtape and cooking demo that will explore the intersections between these Black and Chinese cultures that came together out of necessity and created a cuisine of reinvention across the Americas.
During this demo Dr. Goffe and chef Lucas Sin will be making:
Li Hongzhang Chop Suey
Jamaican Chop Suey
Recipes will be mailed to ticket holders in advance so attendees can cook along at home. This event will celebrate ingenuity, remixing, and Afro-Asian solidarity and coalition in cuisine. Please help us elevate the conversation around these incredible traditions in an evening of celebration.