Why Utah (& Everyone Else) Loves Chinese Food During the Holidays

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Between 2010 and 2020, people of Asian descent became the fastest growing immigrant population in Utah, growing at a rate much faster than any other minority group. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the Asian population increased by as much as 50 percent in that 10-year period. The Asian population comes from China, Japan, India, Vietnam, Korea, and the Philippines. Today, 40 percent of people living in Utah are from a recognized minority group.

More Asians Living in Utah Means an Improved Availability of Chinese Food

Chinese descendants who lived in Utah prior to the great influx remember having to travel to California to eat their favorite foods. They also had to stock up on their favorite non-perishable food items while visiting their homeland and then bring the treats back to Utah. Those days are long gone. Not only can people craving Chinese food find it easily, but they can indulge in their favorite regional cuisines as well. Cantonese and Sichuan foods are particular favorites.

However, Utah is not the only place to grab an authentic international meal. Chinese restaurants and those from other Asian cultures are popular across the country. This is especially true on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other traditional American holidays.

Christmas Day is the Busiest Day of the Year for Chinese Restaurants

Not everyone celebrates the standard American holidays in the same way or celebrates them at all. Owners of Asian restaurants recognize this and desire to be inclusive to all customers. People appreciate the gesture, as evidenced by the approximate 150 percent increase in take-out and sit-down orders in Chinese restaurants over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Many people have discovered that ordering take-out or letting someone else do the dishes is a stress-free way to enjoy time with family and friends. GrubHub, a company that provides delivery service for hundreds of restaurants, states that the following 10 items are favorites to order at the holidays:

  • Crab Rangoon
  • Egg Rolls
  • Fried Rice
  • General Tso Chicken
  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Orange Chicken
  • Pot Stickers
  • Sesame Chicken
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Wonton Soup

Although people gather for the holidays over food, they typically place the most importance on just being together. They see no good reason not to try something different than the traditional Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham.

Chinese Immigrants Preferred Eating Food from Back Home on Christian Holidays

As a nation with strong Judeo-Christian roots, American citizens who hailed from other countries or identified with a different religion did not always have a lot of options for celebration in the past. Some ignored the holidays altogether, while others decided to gather with family and friends to enjoy the food and traditions they knew from their homeland. They soon discovered that most Chinese restaurants remained open on major American holidays when other types of restaurants closed for the day.

Generations of Chinese Americans who came after the original immigrants found that they enjoyed dining out or partaking in cultural traditions on traditional Christian holidays. The practice has become so popular that even people of European descent have decided to dine in or order take-out for their own holiday celebrations.

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I live and work in Utah, so my news will focus on this state. I am also very into finance, entrepreneurship, crypto, and small business. I'm an owner of several businesses, from a solar farm to a sports card shop. I write about my experiences running them.

American Fork, UT

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