Of Authenticity and Assimilation: Names of American Chinese Restaurants

Lindsey N.H. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the naming practices of 423 American Chinese restaurants (ACR) in Los Angeles County. The results reveal that through the incorporation of region names, family names, and transliterated hanzi, ACR names not only serve as markers of restaurant type, they also showcase the diversity within the Chinese culinary tradition. As creations of immigrants, ACR names simultaneously reflect an embracing of cultural assimilation, through the adoption of English given names, collocation with terms that exude modern European sensibility, and the borrowing of American fast food (“express”) takeout concept. The results of this study can contribute to studies on naming practices of ethnic restaurants and, in general, to the field of food onomastics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 2


  • American Chinese restaurants
  • Restaurant names
  • food onomastics
  • transliterated hanzi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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