The cuisine of New York City comprises many cuisines belonging to various ethnic groups that have entered the United States through the city. Almost all ethnic cuisines are well represented in New York City, both within and outside the various ethnic neighborhoods. New York City was also the founding city of New York Restaurant Week which has spread around the world due to the discounted prices that such a deal offers. In New York City there are over 12,000 bodegas, delis and groceries and many among them are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Much of the cuisine usually associated with New York City stems in part from its large community of Ashkenazi Jews and their descendants. The world famous New York institution of the "Delicatessen," commonly referred to as a "Deli," was originally an institution of the city's Jewry. Much of New York City's Jewish fare has become popular around the globe, especially bagels. (New York City's Jewish community is also famously fond of Chinese food, and many members of this community think of it as their second ethnic cuisine.)
Like the Askenazi-Jewish community, much of the cuisine usually associated with New York City stems in part from its large community of Italian-Americans and their descendants. Much of New York City's Italian fare has become popular around the globe, especially New York-style pizza.
Chino-Latino cuisine associated with New York City stems, by and large, to the earliest migration of Chinese migrants to Cuba in the mid-1800s. Due to a labor shortage and then the Chinese revolution in 1949, close to 125,000 indentured or contract Chinese Laborers arrived in Cuba between 1847 and 1874. The laborers or coolies were almost exclusively male, and most worked on sugar plantations alongside enslaved Africans. Tens of thousands of Chinese who survived indenture and remained on the island during the 1870s and 1880s now had more physical, occupational, and even social mobility. They joined gangs of agricultural laborers, grew vegetables in the countryside, peddled goods, and worked as artisans or at unskilled jobs in town. One of the oldest and largest Chinatowns is located in Havana, known as Barrio Chino de La Habana. Despite that fact Chino-Latino restaurants are rarely found in the Chinatown's of the United States. On the contrary, they tend to be concentrated in the Spanish-speaking areas of the five boroughs. Ten years after the Chinese revolution, came the Cuban Revolution, forcing Chinese merchant communities to relocate once again. Local national conditions that inspire the remigration of Chinese from other parts of Latin America, suffice it to say that political and economic instability in countries like Peru, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ecuador have played a key role in determining the flow of migration northward.
The distinct Cuban-Chinese or Latino Chino identity wasn’t found in New York City until the late 1960s and early 1970s when thousands of Chinese remigrated to the United States.
Cultural Significance of Chino-Latino cuisine
The occurrence of the Cuban and Chino fuse, had been established when the Chinese began to migrate to Cuba had been viewed as a unique immersion of a new and diverse part of culture. When arriving into the United States, a country in which binary racial categories had now been geared toward the racial segregation of Latinos and Asians which has slowly began to be accepted. Individuals that had previously owned restaurant locals in Cuba’s “Barrio Chino de la Habana”, initiated the adjustment to personal preference. Once these previous business owners arrived and settled in East Harlem, people began to establish new businesses based on the emersion within foods they have learned when cultured in Cuba, to honor their heritage and establish their economic stability. For incoming immigrants, these restaurants had a homelike feeling due to the authentic qualities and similarities between their settling area and their home country. It had been a minimal aspect of their home country such as, food that allows people to feel comfortable and adapt within their area of settlement. However, just as this concept had emerged in an accepting manner within present day these restaurants are considered to be disappearing this is due to the lack of the Chinese population migrating directly from Cuba in order to keep the tradition upheld. The last Chinese migration directly from Cuba had occurred in 1959, which has caused doubt on how much longer part of the Cuban and Chinese culture can progress. The process of acculturization allowed the younger generations to lose touch of their roots, compared to others who want to stand by where they come in order to keep heritage alive.
The core aspects of Cuban and Chinese food are similar in many ways such that a huge portion of their dishes revolve around white meats such as pork and starches such as rice. But, at the end of the day the Cuban-Chinese cuisine is the cultivation of the food culture of both countries within one restaurant. The Chinese aspect of this cuisine bringing in dishes such as fried rice, chow mien or even shrimp with black bean sauce. Whereas, the cuban cuisine bring in typical dishes such as ropa vieja or platanos maduros. Now when you think about ingredients each of the respective countries have ingredients that help distinguish their dishes. In Chinese cooking vegetables such bok choy, amaranth or broccoli play a big role in the development of popular Chinese dishes such as a stir fry. The Chinese style of cooking also relies a lot on oils, sauces and vinegars; including the most commonly known soy sauce as well as others such as rice vinegar, sesame oil and oyster sauce. The Cubans use a distinct handful of spices such as Garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and cilantro. While also using a good amount of vegetables in their cooking of which include onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. In Cuban cooking these vegetables and spices playing a role in building dishes into extremely flavor packed foods.