This week, we celebrated America’s birthday in the most American way we could — we ate at a Chinese restaurant.

We had a delicious luncheon of salt and pepper crab, BBQ ribs, garlicky Chinese asparagus, pork belly bao, Shen Jian baos and more at China Live in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Basically, Chinese street food at a sit-down restaurant. Authentic? Debateable. Delicious? Yes!

Go anywhere in the U.S. and chances are you’ll be able to find a Chinese restaurant. There are more Chinese restaurants than there are McDonalds, so you might have a strong argument in saying that Chinese restaurants are more American than that hamburger chain.

But the reason why might surprise you—but did you know they all started because of racist laws meant to ban Chinese immigrants?

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