Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date



Culinary offerings in New York represent a diverse spectrum of cultures. In the city, Flushing is known specifically for its Chinese and Korean restaurants and cafes. When faced with so many choices of what to eat in the neighborhood, we are curious as to why one may be preferred over the other. We suspect that individuals frequently make selections driven by their predispositions and preconceived ideas about the broader cultural associations linked to the cuisine. To better understand this, we conducted a cross-cultural and comparative ethnography of the Chinese and Korean food establishments, utilizing a combination of observations and open-ended interviews. Despite both being East Asian cuisines, the degree of acceptance they receive in the United States differs. Throughout our research, we unravel the nuanced dynamics of consumer perceptions surrounding Chinese and Korean cuisine, exploring historical trajectories, cultural narratives, and societal attitudes. The core of our paper covers three central themes: what food is meant for, how food has changed, and how food is now perceived. We aim to reveal the complicated conceptual and experiential milieu of the contemporary U.S. for producing particular attitudes towards Asian Americans. We highlight food’s role in preserving cultural identity, gentrification, authenticity as an imagined standard, and the way cuisines interact with the standards imposed upon them.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Julie Starr