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National Chop Suey Day

Wok a Day!

Happy National Chop Suey Day! According to legend, today was the day in 1896 that a panicked chef tried to find something to serve to both the Chinese and American dignitaries and ended up chucking a load of leftovers in a wok and creating culinary history. Though, like all legends, this is probably rubbish. The dish had been knocking around for years, consisting of meat (anything from chicken, fish, beef, prawns or pork) plus eggs and a smattering of vegetables (usually bean sprouts, cabbage and celery) in a sauce and served with rice.

The name translates as ‘assorted pieces’ and is probably closely related to a native Chinese dish called tsap seui or ‘miscellaneous leftovers’. Yes, that’s what you’re dealing with. Scraps. Anything that’s still infiltrating the kitchen when all the good stuff has been noshed. In fact, another legend states that the dish originated when an angry Chinese chef serving his patrons bin pickings in a sauce as revenge which was later described as ‘chopped sewage’ but mispronounced as chop suey. Again, probably not true. But a good story.