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How Chinese restaurants nearly became extinct across U.S.

How Chinese restaurants nearly became extinct across U.S.

In a country with three times more Chinese restaurants than McDonald’s, it’s hard to believe that Chinese eateries almost went extinct a century ago.

The threat came from legislation passed in Chicago — and around the country — aimed, ostensibly, at protecting young white women from the supposed dangers of chop suey houses.

The folks leading this charge included a unexpected mix of restaurant labor unions, Chicago aldermen and legislators across the nation. Strangely enough, it even included articles in the Chicago Tribune (including the following, that used a racial slur).

A 1910 Tribune investigation charged: “The laws of morality and health, police regulations, and...

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