[Washington, D.C.] Chinese Lantern Cafe. Native Style Menu.
[Washington, D.C.] Chinese Lantern Cafe. Native Style Menu.

[Washington, D.C.] Chinese Lantern Cafe. Native Style Menu.

C.1940s Chinese restaurant menu with lesson on chopsticks—“Order by Number”

Interesting Chinese restaurant menu from Washington, D.C. offering “Native Style” or authentic Chinese cuisine to Americans. The restaurant’s proprietor, S.J. Chan hoped:

...to introduce Chinese Culture to the American people. Hence it has spared no effort to secure the most competent Chinese chefs to prepare such Chinese delicacies as the scholar and official classes have for centuries relished and enjoyed. ... This is merely a humble attempt to promote a better Chinese and American understanding, by presenting one of the long neglected aspects of Chinese culture to our honored guests.

The menu presents an astonishing “...257 varieties of real Chinese dishes…,” including soup, poultry, beef, pork, seafood, eggs, rice, and pastry and noodles. The list comprises individual dishes as well as special dishes only available by pre-arrangement. Multi-course dinner specials and banquets for ten people were also available. All could be simply ordered by number.

Chan’s menu includes helpful diagrams on how to eat with chopsticks: “The Chinese use chopsticks because they consider the knife and fork barbaric. ‘We sit at table to eat, not to cut up carcasses,’ they say.”

The Chinese Lantern Cafe must have encouraged their patrons to take the menus home with them to plan future dinners. There is an extended section of menu choices which required prior ordering: “Order must be given two days in advance.”

The restaurant was located near Washington’s Union Station across from the Capitol. The menu suggests that the restaurant was popular with and good enough for the diplomatic corps, a group often assumed to be urbane and sophisticated: “The room upstairs, for special dinners and parties, is available to all, when it is not reserved fro Embassy members in Washington.”

Description: [Washington, D.C.] Chinese Lantern Cafe. Native Style Menu.

New York: Chinese Republic Publishing Co., Inc., c.1940s. [16]pp. 7½ x 4¼ inches. Illustrated, printed wrappers; stapled. Text in Chinese and English. Fine condition.



See all items by ,