Restaurant Kids (2017) is a visual project exploring the kids that grow up in Chinese restaurants. I met this family in central Pennsylvania. Originally from China, the owners moved to Pennsylvania from Albany, New York, with the hope their four children would have better opportunities for their future. They purchased the business from another Chinese immigrant, a friend, who actually wanted to leave the restaurant industry.
The popularity of American Chinese food has created a set of shared experiences among Chinese American children growing up in local Chinese restaurants. According to the book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee, there are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than there are McDonalds, Burger Kings, Wendy’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Huts combined. Instead of lounging at home with TVs and toys, many children growing up in these restaurants spend a considerable portion of their childhood working alongside their parents.
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