1922 Menu

Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by Haversack, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

    Clipperton Island
    While engaged in some research, I recently came across online the menu from 1922 for a Chinese-American restaurant in downtown Sacramento. It can be seen at:


    There are several things about it which I think might be of interest to some of us here. First, although Prohibition, (Ack. Ptui!), had been in effect for a couple of years, wine, beer, and cocktails were openly listed. (Including even Guinness and Mumm’s).

    Second, the relative prices between dishes give us look at how things were different between then/there and here/now. That poultry is much more expensive is pretty well known. What surprised me however is the Chinese dishes are equivalent in price if not more than American dishes. For instance, beefsteak plain, (which comes with bread, butter, and one cup of coffee), costs 25 cents. Beef Chop Suey without anything else costs 30 cents. Growing up out here in the West, I’m aware that Chinese cooking and American palates adapted to each other pretty early on. I find it interesting though that it had parity in price. It wasn’t necessarily ‘cheap ethnic food’. (Nowadays the once ubiquitous Chinese American restaurants are getting scarce as more authentic and regional Chinese dishes has become the norm. Used to be, just about every town that had a bit of mining or railroading in its past had a Chinese American eatery. (Well, except for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. But that’s a story best left for later.)

  2. RetroToday

    RetroToday A-List Customer

    Toronto, Canada
    A very interesting menu, thanks for sharing the link. :eusa_clap

    I especially like the drunken angel on the front cover, a good visual metaphor for so many things that happened during prohibition.

    A huge amount of menus were usually printed at once and then modified years later for prices that changed. Maybe this menu was printed before prohibition and then escaped being updated?
  3. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

    Very interesting, thanks for posting it.

    The date "Nov 3 1916" is penciled in the lower right corner, which makes the liquor listings more understandable. Perhaps the 1922 date is just a cataloging error.

  4. Mr. 'H'

    Mr. 'H' Call Me a Cab

    Dublin, Ireland, Ireland
    Yes, I was wondering why the printer would have their name on the menu if it was during Prohibition.
  5. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Saskatoon, SK CANADA
  6. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

    Shining City on a hill
    Chop Suey! Chop Suey! Now you have gotten me singing that from Flower Drum Song.lol
  7. Retro66

    Retro66 New in Town

    Hollywoood, Calif
    Vary interesting menu..

    But, I will pass on one item being offered on the Chinese side of the menu....

    Under the noodles section, dish #1 (Gay Seoman) .........;)

    I'll take the number 14 tho.:)
  8. just_me

    just_me Practically Family

    In the early '70s, I lived near Chinatown in NYC and ate there often. The prices weren't that much higher than those on that menu. If you ate at a Chinese restaurant out in the boroughs, though, the prices were a lot higher.
  9. Cricket

    Cricket Practically Family

    I love looking at older menus, especially right before lunch. ;)
    I think it is funny how "order by number" was on there. I always purchase the sweet and sour chicken meal with fried rice. It is number 23 here at our local Chinese restaurant. If it works don't fix it, right?:)

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