Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 19:25 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 19:25 | SYDNEY

Diverse appetites


Sam Roggeveen


10 March 2008 15:26

The funnest fact from this new book about Chinese food in the US is that there are more Chinese restaurants in America (40,000) than there are McDonald's, KFCs and Burger Kings combined. As the book argues, these aren't authentically Chinese restaurants, but Americanised versions, and much the same could be said of such restaurants here.

Still, that statistic puts a pretty big hole in the thesis that the growth of American fast food leads to cultural homogenisation. In fact, in Australia, and I dare say other Western countries, the opposite is true. My observation would be that the growth of fast food chains in Australia, far from suppressing other kinds of cuisine, has coincided with a boom in demand for ethnic foods — the choices available in the food court of an average suburban shopping centre would look much more culturally diverse today than twenty years ago.