Chinese American Cuisine is Finally Getting its Own Museum Exhibit

There will be a great wall of takeout boxes

vintage chinese menu
Vintage menus on display at Chow: The Making of Chinese American CuisineCourtesy of The Museum of Food and Drink

At a pivotal moment when Asian Americans are fighting for visibility and facing gross misrepresentation in mainstream media, New York City's Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is seeking funding for its first-ever cultural exhibition, Chow: The Making of Chinese American Cuisine, which explores the history of a cuisine 170 years in the making as well as the racism that the Chinese immigrant community overcame to create it.

Debuting on November 4th at the MOFAD Lab in Brooklyn, the educational (and edible) exhibits range from a beautiful archive of menus dating back the early 1900s to a fortune cookie-baking machine and a 15-foot wall of suspended Chinese takeout boxes—an artistic representation of the more than 50,000 Chinese American restaurants in America, designed by MOFAD's in-house design team. In the fashion of MOFAD’s previous exhibits, there will also be a series of cooking demonstrations offering wok-fired bites to highlight the difference between the earliest iterations of Chinese-American cooking and its modern counterparts.

The goal of the program, according to MOFAD executive director Peter Kim, is to showcase the contributions of Chinese immigrants to broader American culture and reframe Chinese American cuisine as a fundamentally American product. “Visitors will understand that Chinese American food is not ‘fake Chinese food,’ but its own cuisine, and, in a profound sense, as American as apple pie.”

The MOFAD is seeking $80,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to fund its final production costs. Donors are eligible for gifts including a Chow recipe booklet, annual museum membership, and access to a VIP premiere of the exhibition. Click here to donate and learn more about “Chow: The Making of Chinese American Cuisine.”

MOFAD Lab
62 Bayard Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222
718-387-2845