Tastes for New and Old: Fish Consumption in the Market Street Chinatown

Author(s): Ryan Kennedy

Year: 2016


The Market Street Chinatown was a bustling Chinese community in nineteenth-century San Jose, California, and its residents mixed the traditional and novel throughout their lives. This is especially the case in food practices, where Market Street’s residents consumed Chinese foods alongside new ingredients from North America. In this paper, I explore how fish consumption among Market Street’s residents was driven by notions of taste in nineteenth-century Southern China, where fish played a prominent role in cuisine. I examine how Southern Chinese food ideals were transplanted to North America, both through the importation of dried fish products and the treatment of local fish with Southern Chinese cooking methods. However, I also highlight how Market Street’s residents creatively balanced these ideals with the constraints and opportunities presented by life in California. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates the hybridity inherent in immigrant life through the lens of fish consumption in the Market Street Chinatown.

Cite this Record

Tastes for New and Old: Fish Consumption in the Market Street Chinatown. Ryan Kennedy. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434341)


Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 471