National Chop Suey Day

Next Thursday, 29 August 2024

National Chop Suey Day is observed every year on August 29 to celebrate the wonderful fusion of the American--Chinese cuisine. 

This day is dedicated to the dish that has crossed borders and has fascinated taste buds across the globe. 

Chop suey, with a mix of stir-fried meats and vegetables, has become a symbolic representation of culinary fusion. This dish shows how immigrant communities are creative and strong. They work hard all day to embrace their culture and accept new influences.

While several sources keep digging the history of when the first National Chop suey Day was celebrated, some state that it took place on August 29, 1896.

Ai generated image of chop suey

The Origin Story Of Chop Suey

There are many interesting theories and stories that revolve around the origin of Chop Suey. One story has it that it was first made in Tai shan, China where they called it “tsap seui” which translates to “miscellaneous leftovers”. 

Another story connects it to the Chinese-American cooks on the transcontinental railroad during the 19th century.

There is also another story about a chef trying to satisfy both American and Chinese tastes while Li Hongzhang, a Qing Dynasty diplomat and VIP, was visiting in 1896.

One more story suggests that chop suey's origin happened when Premier Li Hongzhang went to a local Chinese restaurant after the kitchen had closed. The chef was embarrassed about having nothing to offer and came up with a new dish using scraps of leftovers. However, scholar Renqui Yu said that according to his recent research, there are no historical evidence supporting the claim of Li Hongzhang eating chop suey in the United States. 

Yu thinks that since Li brought his own chefs, he did not have the need to eat at local restaurants or invent new dishes. Instead, Yu presumes that Li's visit was used by smart Chinese American restaurant owners as a marketing strategy to promote chop suey as his favorite dish.

There was also a myth about a Chinese cook in San Francisco in the 1860s who had to serve drunk miners who were coming back from work. He had nothing fresh available, so he created chop suey from leftover ingredients. Again, there is no solid evidence supporting the story. 

The first documented mention of Chop Suey was in an article written by Wong chin Foo in 1884 who called it the “National Dish of China”. It was described as a stir-fry mixed with vegetables, meats, and spices. 

Chop suey was quite frequently mentioned in several newspapers in 1896 and 1897 which made the popularity of the dish grow rapidly. 

Ling Qichao noticed that although Chinese restaurants in the United States were serving chop suey, local Chinese people were not eating it because the cooking style was not up to their standards. 

Previously in China, terms like “chap sui” in Cantonese and “za sui” in Mandarin were used, which translated to cooked animal organs or entrails. 

How to Celebrate National Chop Suey Day

The best way to celebrate National Chop Suey Day is by indulging into iconic variations of this dish. On this day, restaurants can offer special menus and offers on the dish, encouraging many people to delve into the delightful dish. 

You can also try to whip up a variation of chop suey on your own if you have some time on your hands and enjoy it with your loved ones. 

There are also several vegetarian and vegan versions of chop suey available now so that nobody misses out on this dish. 

Ai generated image of chop suey

Here is a very easy recipe that you can make at home:


  • 1 pound (453.59 g) chicken breast, thinly sliced (or protein of your choice).
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice or noodles for serving


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.

2. Add the sliced chicken breast and stir-fry until it's cooked through and lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

3. In the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed, then sauté the minced garlic and sliced onion until they're fragrant and softened.

4. Add the sliced bell pepper, mushrooms, bean sprouts, carrots, and chopped cabbage to the pan. Stir-fry the vegetables for a few minutes until they're tender-crisp.

5. Return the cooked chicken to the pan with the vegetables.

6. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and cornstarch dissolved in water. Pour this sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables in the pan.

7. Stir everything together well until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve the chop suey hot overcooked rice or noodles.

Enjoy your homemade chop suey!

If you enjoyed reading this, you will also enjoy reading National Junk Food Day.

National Chop Suey Day
National Chop Suey Day

National Chop Suey Day - Next years

Friday, 29 August 2025

Saturday, 29 August 2026

Sunday, 29 August 2027

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