La description

Part family memoir, part social history, and part culinary narrative, Chop Suey Nation explores the Chinese restaurants of small-town Canada.


  • Winner, Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction 2020
  • Winner, Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize - Best Book on Chinese Canadian History 2019
  • Winner, Taste Canada Award Winners: Culinary Narratives - Gold 2020
  • Winner, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards - Chinese cooking and food writing 2019
  • Long-listed, Toronto Book Awards 2019
  • Short-listed, IACP Cookbook Award - Literary/Historical Food Writing 2020
  • Winner, International Association of Culinary Professionals' Cookbook Awards: Literary/Historical Food Writing 2020


“With grace and extraordinary insight, Ann Hui weaves her own family’s history with the personal stories behind small-town Canada’s chop suey houses. You can’t help but feel as you’re reading that within these pages lies the history of an entire nation. A surprising, occasionally heartbreaking, and ultimately gorgeous read. ”

- Chris Nuttall-Smith, food writer, restaurant critic and Top Chef Canada judge

“...makes for great reading while you’re motoring through Canada.”

- Susan B. Cole, <i>Now Magazine</i>

“...Ultimately, read Chop Suey Nation not only for its window into this familiar cuisine, but also because reading it means understanding that these small, family-run restaurants are an integral part of Chinese immigration in this country. That these families, Hui’s included, survived and established a sense of community amidst racial tensions and cultural discomfort. That these small town and rural restaurants are at the heart of Canada’s relationship to itself, to its identity.”

- Lauren R. Korn. NB Media Co-op

“...a fascinating blend of history, cultural commentary, road trip, personal narrative and mouth-watering food depictions…. Her prose is distinguished by subtlety and restraint. She demonstrates a panoptic empathy for the owners of these small-town restaurants...a poignant excavation of her family’s hidden and fragmented past. Spinning binary narratives that traverse place and time, Hui alternates between the historical and socio-political backdrops of China and Canada…. Hui has a knack for discovering the quirkiest people and places.Chop Suey Nation is an astonishing cultural and important personal history. It is a complex mélange of invigorating stories, sympathetic real-life characters and nuanced reportage. Hui intricately weaves the real-life sacrifices of many Chinese immigrants into a deeply felt and resonating anthropological tapestry.”

- Lindsay Wong, <i>Globe and Mail</i>

“Part memoir, part history and part road trip, Ann Hui’s Chop Suey Nation is easy to love. The story weaves through families and countries, exploring culture and cuisine through restaurants across Canada—and in her own home. Guaranteed to charm you and make you hungry.”

- Mark Bittman, author of the How to Cook Everything series and former <i>New York Times</i> columnist

“This engaging tour of small-town Asian restaurants derives emotional heft from descriptions of the heroic struggles of immigrants—including, as the author discovers as an adult, her own parents—dishing up Canadian-friendly ‘Chinese’ dishes... .Her probe yields another important story illustrating how discriminatory policies devastated so many Chinese families.”

- Patricia Hluchy, <i>Maclean's Magazine</i>

 “Hui is a storyteller at heart and a very good one at that.”

- Imogene Lim, <i>The Ormsby Review</i>

“The book itself is a thoughtful chop suey, with chapters leaping through three moving odysseys.... Readers are welcomed into the dining rooms of eateries both humble and lavish. Thanks to Hui’s skill at connection, you’ll feel like you’re sitting with her as she meets the owners face-to-face, hearing their voices and stories, sacrifices and joys…. Hui writes with empathy, presenting these people as they are, and tying them to a bigger Canadian story.”

- Christopher Cheung, <i>The Tyee</i>

“ entertaining look at how Chinese food evolved to become quintessentially Canadian.... The author packs her pages full (in Chinese, ‘bao’) of interesting information charmingly related.... The straightforwardness of the writing is praiseworthy...much to enjoy in Hui’s narrative.”

- Dan K. Woo, <i>Quill and Quire</i>

Chop Suey Nation is a peek into the universal experience of immigrants making a life through food. ‘Why,’ asks journalist Ann Hui, ‘are there Chinese restaurants in small towns across Canada?’ An intriguing journey for answers becomes interspersed with a moving memoir of her father’s life. Now I crave chop suey.”

- Lucy Waverman, <i>Globe and Mail</i> food columnist and co-author of <i>The Flavour Principle</i>

Chop Suey Nation is an absorbing, eye-opening read for anyone...”

- Michael Scouler, <i>Montecristo Magazine</i>

“Terrific book”

- Leslie Wu,

“One of my favourite reads this year…”

- Sean Loughran,