Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"No Chinatown? No Problem!" writes James Chan on Pittsburgh's Chinese food offerings.

"No Chinatown? No Problem!" writes critic James Chan in a round-up of Chinese restaurants in Oakland and Squirrel Hill. The reason Pittsburgh has an increasing number of authentic Chinese restaurants in spite of lacking an ethnic Chinese enclave is its growing Chinese student population:
The answer to the 21st century emergence of authentic Chinese food in Pittsburgh is actually related to another phenomenon I recently chronicled: the appearance of authentic Chinese restaurants in college towns. The surge in mainland Chinese college students has brought authentic Chinese food to dozens of towns like Storrs, CT, Tallahassee, FL, and Lawrence, KS, for the first time ever. Today’s Chinese foreign students from mainland China are more numerous, more well-heeled, and less inclined to compromise their eating habits than prior generations of international Chinese students from Hong Kong and Taiwan. While Pittsburgh is not a college town in the traditional sense, it is home to major universities like the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and Carnegie Mellon, which have brought thousands of mainland Chinese students into Pittsburgh in search of education… and authentic Chinese food.
For other recent articles on the topic of authentic Chinese and Asian food in Pittsburgh, see the Pitt News's November 19 piece "Hungry for more: Competition heats up among Oakland’s Asian restaurants" and a piece by Post-Gazette food critic Melissa McCart for Saveur, "America's Next Great Chinatown Takes Root in Pittsburgh".