The Legitimacy and Legacy of Chinese Food in America

Presented by Louisa Chu and Monica Eng
Co-hosts, “Chewing” Podcast

“Chewing” podcast hosts Monica Eng, left, and Louisa Chu. (Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)

Links to mentions in podcast:
Chewing episode where Monica talks to Raymond Lee
How Chinese Restaurants Nearly Became Extinct across USA
What A Murder In My Family Reveals About Chicago’s Chinese Gangs
Why do Egg Rolls in Chicago Taste Like Peanut Butter?

Chicago Tribune food reporter Louisa Chu and WBEZ reporter Monica Eng talk about 150 years of Chinese food in America, how it was shaped by social, political, and legal circumstances plus how it shaped their own families and lives. The co-hosts of the Chewing podcast will document the Eng family restaurant dynasty in Chicago and how it reflected the food and culture of the times. They’ll explain how the Chinese restaurant business led to a West Side murder in Monica’s family and how the egg roll evolved over the years. Louisa will talk about what it’s actually like to work at a family Chinese restaurant—when you’re seven years old. And finally, they will discuss their differing views on the legitimacy and legacy of Chinese-American food.

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Louisa Chu is a Chicago Tribune Food & Dining reporter. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Chicago, she lived in Los Angeles, and Paris where she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. She staged at El Bulli in Spain and cooked in Alaska. Previously she was a correspondent for Gourmet magazine and a fixer for Anthony Bourdain.

Monica Eng is a reporter and producer for WBEZ Public Radio. Before joining WBEZ, Monica was a food, culture and watchdog-investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune

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Saturday, January 18, 2020
10 a.m. to noon
At Bethany Retirement Community

Auditorium, main floor
4950 N. Ashland Ave. (West of Clark St., North of Lawrence Ave.), Chicago

FREE PARKING on street and in Bethany’s lot.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Both CTA BUS #81, Lawrence, and #22 Clark, stop nearby.

Cost of the lecture program is $5, $3 for students and no charge for CHC members or Bethany residents and staff. To reserve, please e-mail your reservation: