Richard Auffrey looks into claims that the chop-suey sandwich was invented in Massachusetts, possibly at Salem Willows and declares the claim unlikely after finding ads for places across the country serving the sandwich around the same time.
My Dad always spoke of his love of a Chop Suey sandwich when he was a kid. He said he would get them on Hancock St., Everett. As kids, we would always gag at the thought of chop suey on bread.
He did take my children to Salem Willows for his beloved sandwich. They would order something else. Thanks for the memory.
When I moved here in the 90s, there was an old school cafeteria place on Stuart St, near the Arlington St. intersection. It was something out of a Robert B Parker novel or something. Anyways, I'd bet they had a chop suey sandwiches.
That's the old Boston I do miss, along with random stuff like Super Socks.
Edit: I was thinking American chop suey (macaroni w/ meat sauce) not the bean sprout topped sandwich.
In every Chinese Food Shop from Grove Hall to the South End in the 70s. Never knew anyone who actually ate them though.
What is Chop Suey?
"Chop Suey" is kind of like a red meat sauce with squiggly noodles, right? Or is that a different thing, "American Chop Suey?" Whereas "Chop Suey" is a non-tomatoey gooey thing with lots of bean sprouts?
Which one is it someone puts on a bun and calls a sandwich? Either way, yuck.
They're referring to the Chinese American dish here, not the Italian American one.
Ironically, I believe that "American Chop Suey" (or at least that name) *is* a New England (or Massachusetts) specific thing.
I also wrote an article last year, exploring the origins of American Chop Suey, and it wasn't invented in New England either.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Auffrey has an article about American Chop Suey, as well - also not exclusive to New England, either as a dish or by that name.
(I grew up knowing it as "goulash" because that's what my maternal grandmother, originally from Buffalo, called it, and the dish was one of her specialties. I had heard of "American chop suey" but had no idea it was the same dish until I started at Girls' Latin and encountered it as a frequent item on the cafeteria lunch menu there.)
My wife (from CT) calls it "goulash", too.
Great comfort food. I'm going to make some soon.
Also, wrong link?
I always wondered what "goulash" was. By the way, haven't heard the name "Girl's Latin" for years, since the days I went to Boston Latin when it was still all boys. I remember American chop suey in the cafeteria there also, but I avoided it "like the plague" as we used to say back when we could be casual about such things.
On the South Coast too. They also have Chow Mein sandwiches.
Examples in New Bedford
My dad grew up in Salem/Peabody in the '20s and '30s and spoke fondly of chop suey sandwiches at Salem Willows
Is the System of a Down song about American or classic chop-suey?
No mention of the St. Paul Sandwich?
Not sure why there would be mention of the St. Paul sandwich - it's not a chop suey sandwich, and it's not found anywhere around here, AFAIK. (That said, I love egg foo yung and it sounds awesome.)
Interesting to read about the origins of the Chop Suey sandwich; having grown up on the main road that leads to and from 'the Line' (as the Willows was known by locals), I can tell you that the amount of time to consume said sandwich in a moving car was just long enough to toss the remaining waxed paper, sticky sauce and plastic fork in my front yard! I would easily pick up 10-15 a day on the average weekend!
It just seems odd that there's no mention of the St. Paul sandwich. I can't shake it.
The St. Paul Sandwich deserved its own article, which I've now completed.
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