What Is American Chopsuey History?

American Chopsuey is a dish that has been a part of the American culinary landscape for decades. It is a popular item on the menus of Chinese restaurants across the United States.

Despite its name, American Chopsuey is not an authentic Chinese dish. It is actually an Americanized version of Chinese cuisine that has been adapted to suit American tastes.

The Origins of American Chopsuey

The origins of American Chopsuey can be traced back to the late 19th century in San Francisco, California. At that time, there was a large population of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco who were looking for ways to make a living. Many of them opened up restaurants and started catering to American customers.

To appeal to their customers’ tastes, these Chinese restaurateurs began creating dishes that were flavored with ingredients familiar to Americans, such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

One such dish was American Chopsuey. It is believed that the dish was created by Chinese immigrants who had worked as cooks on the transcontinental railroad. They took inspiration from the Chinese stir-fry dish called “tsap seui” and added their own twist to it by serving it over crispy noodles.

The Evolution of American Chopsuey

Over time, American Chopsuey evolved and became more popular across the United States. Different regions put their own spin on the dish, adding or substituting ingredients depending on local tastes.

Today, there are many variations of American Chopsuey available in restaurants across America. Some versions use spaghetti instead of crispy noodles while others include vegetables like carrots and celery.

How to Make American Chopsuey

If you’re interested in making your own version of this classic Chinese-American dish at home, here’s a simple recipe:

  • 1 pound ground beef or chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked noodles or rice for serving


  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef or chicken over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve over cooked noodles or rice.

The Bottom Line

American Chopsuey may not be an authentic Chinese dish, but it has become a beloved part of American cuisine. Its origins in San Francisco speak to the rich cultural history of Chinese immigrants in America. So why not try making this classic dish at home and enjoy a little taste of history?