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Restaurants & Bars 23

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

hyperbowler | Dec 24, 2014 09:17 AM

There's been some documentation of styles of Chinese cuisine that are finally making an appearance in this thread, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/990749 . I wanted to discuss other, or longer brewing trends, here.

Besides specific restaurants, are there new trends or dishes in the Dim Sum world? Any new dishes becoming standards across Chinese American restaurants? Any dishes disappearing?

Something that should come as no surprise is that Sichuan food is all over the place, both in terms of new restaurants and the expansion of Sichuan offerings in non-Sichuan restaurants. Just how popular? I scoured old threads earlier this year for discussions of Sichuan places and cross referenced them with y*lp data to see which places existed in which years.

The Bay Area currently has 49 Sichuan restaurants (four closed this year), and there were a total of 61 open at some time between 2005 and 2014. And that's excluding places marketing themselves as Hunan.

Until 2012, Sichuan restaurants were increasing in number at about the same rate as Shanghainese restaurants. That's changed. Compared to the high rate at which Sichuan restaurants are opening, Shanghai restaurants may be leveling off. We'll see if this pattern continues at the end of 2015.

Oh, some trivia...

The Bay Area currently has 30 Shanghainese restaurants, and there were a total of 55 open at some time between 2005 and 2014. 38 out of 55 use the word "Shanghai" in their names. Over 10 used a Chinese word, besides a common usage one or a person's name, in the restaurant's name.

About a third of the 61 Sichuan restaurants use the words Sichuan or Szechuan in their names, and a quarter refer to spices or chili. Only 7 used a Chinese word that's not in common (American) usage or which does not refer to a person.

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