Chop Suey Sandwich - Gastro Obscura

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Chop Suey Sandwich

In the 19th century, Chinese immigrants developed an early New England fusion sandwich that is divisive as it is salty.

Some say summer in Salem, Massachusetts, doesn’t start until you’ve had your first chop suey sandwich. Others have called it “literally a slimy bean-sprout pile on a soggy bun.” Wherever you stand, the chop suey sandwich isn’t going anywhere.

According to the New England Historical Society, the sandwich was developed by Chinese immigrants around 1875 to infuse local snack forms with the flavors of home. It consists of roast chicken or pork sautéed with celery, onions, and bean-sprouts in a soy-gravy and is served between two hamburger buns, often with a fork. The cheap, filling snack gained a loyal local following among mill workers, students, and park visitors. While the sandwich spread throughout the 20th century to reach as far as Coney Island, New York, it’s largely disappeared. In its native home, just one Chinese take-out stand, Salem Lowe, still carries on the local tradition.

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