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Monosodium Glutamate and "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:56 pm
by pianoman
A surprisingly good five-minute video about the paranoia around MSG in Chinese restaurants was just published here:

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Original video taken down, here is another video from YouTube that makes similar points (they go to the same Chinese restaurant in NYC, so I think they must be related somehow:

Interesting points the video brings up:

--Although there are different ways to produce MSG, most MSG today is produced by bacterial fermentation (similar to yogurt or vinegar), so it's probably more "natural" than high-fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
--At one point American MSG manufacturers tried to advertise MSG as the "third shaker," after salt and pepper.
--It was actually a Chinese-American doctor who started the idea of "Chinese restaurant syndrome" in 1968 when he wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine listing his symptoms after eating Chinese food.
--An FDA study conducted in the 90s concluded that people could be allergic to MSG, but that for most people MSG did not cause any symptoms.
--MSG is used widely in all kinds of common American food.

Since this post does not have any pictures yet, here are some of the everyday American foods that contain MSG:

Soup Stock

Flavored Chips

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Outback Steakhouse


Salad Dressing

Veggie Burgers and Vegan Chicken

Re: Monosodium Glutamate and "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:25 pm
by pianoman
In 2018, a study was published by the Duke Law Journal about the history of Chinese restaurants in America called "The War Against Chinese Restaurants." Link to the article and abstract is here:

The War Against Chinese Restaurants

Gabriel J. Chin
John Ormonde


Chinese restaurants are a cultural fixture—as American as cherry pie. Startlingly, however, there was once a national movement to eliminate Chinese restaurants, using innovative legal methods to drive them out. Chinese restaurants were objectionable for two reasons. First, Chinese restaurants competed with “American” restaurants, thus threatening the livelihoods of white owners, cooks, and servers and motivating unions to fight them. Second, Chinese restaurants threatened white women, who were subject to seduction by Chinese men taking advantage of intrinsic female weakness and nefarious techniques such as opium addiction.

The efforts were creative. Chicago used anti-Chinese zoning, Los Angeles restricted restaurant jobs to citizens, Boston authorities denied Chinese restaurants licenses, and the New York Police Department simply ordered whites out of Chinatown. Perhaps the most interesting technique was a law, endorsed by the American Federation of Labor for adoption in all jurisdictions, prohibiting white women from working in Asian restaurants. Most measures failed or were struck down. The unions, of course, did not eliminate Chinese restaurants, but Asians still lost because unions achieved their more important goal by extending the federal immigration policy of excluding Chinese immigrants to all Asian immigrants. The campaign is of more than historical interest today. As current anti-immigration sentiments and efforts show, even now the idea that white Americans should have a privileged place in the economy, or that nonwhites are culturally incongruous, persists among some.

NPR did a piece about the study which can be found here: ... in-the-u-s