Vol. 66 No. 1 (2018)

Of Authenticity and Assimilation: Names of American Chinese Restaurants

Published 2018-01-02


This study examines the naming practices of 423 American Chinese restaurants (ACR) in Los Angeles County. The results reveal that through the incorporation of region names, family names, and transliterated hanzi, ACR names not only serve as markers of restaurant type, they also showcase the diversity within the Chinese culinary tradition. As creations of immigrants, ACR names simultaneously reflect an embracing of cultural assimilation, through the adoption of English given names, collocation with terms that exude modern European sensibility, and the borrowing of American fast food (“express”) takeout concept. The results of this study can contribute to studies on naming practices of ethnic restaurants and, in general, to the field of food onomastics.


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