The Blog In The High Castle

Mystery Solved: Chinese Food & Donuts in California

Posted in The Real World by CMO on Wednesday, March 17

Having lived in California for the past 7 years, something that has always intrigued me is how many Donut & Chinese Food places there are around! There is nothing more comforting than finishing off a raspberry filled powdered donut and knowing that you could have some beef with brocolli or some chicken chow mein for desert.

But where did this odd pairing come from?  Katie Robbins asked that same question in a recent article for The Atlantic:

So why Chinese food and donuts? Chan had some answers, and it seemed that for many owners of such establishments, donuts came first. When he first emigrated from Cambodia in 1980, Chan, like many Cambodian immigrants, found a job in a donut shop. It was a trend begun by Ted Ngoy, who immigrated in 1975 and after learning the donut trade opened his own chain of shops. Ngoy went on to train the wave of Cambodian immigrants that followed. By the mid-’90s, 80 percent of California’s donut shops were Cambodian owned and operated. Chan says that when donuts stopped being sufficient to keep businesses running, many immigrants added Chinese food to their repertoires.


Makes sense. A quick scan of my neighborhood shows the chinese food as an interloper, sometimes crammed onto a temporary sign next to the permanent donuts sign. Sometimes they don’t even bother to change the sign from a previous business either.

Read on Chinese and Donuts: A California Mystery

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