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Jul 26, 2007 10:25 AM

American Chop Suey

Anyone know where I can get a good big plate of this in the city or Cambridge?

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  1. My house! Because I love to make it now that I am in a place where people know what I'm talking about. I grew up in New England, and when I was six I moved to Nebraska, courtesy of the US Army. Talk about culture shock - I lived in constant fear of tornadoes and locusts, and was horrified that no one knew what American Chop Suey was or where I was going when I said "down cellar".

    Man, am I glad to be back.

    They used to have this at Zathmary's in Brookline - I imagine a similar place with prepared foods will have it also. Can you make bad American Chop Suey?

    4 Replies
    1. re: jsjs09812

      LOL! I am from Michigan and never heard of American Chop Suey until I married a guy from Haverhill. How did that dish get such a name?

      It is often at the food bar at various Whole Foods but expect mushy macaroni.

      1. re: three of us

        I grew up in Michigan, too, where we called it "goulash" :)

        1. re: Prav

          I grew up here in Boston, but only encountered the name "American chop suey" in high school - the dish was my favorite school cafeteria lunch. In my family we also called it goulash - I've always assumed my grandmother, raised in Buffalo, picked up the name there. Oddly enough, BFP, whose parents were both Texans, alse knew it as goulash.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Yeah, ACS I pretty much only saw in school cafeterias (and now at my work one). All of them around these parts. I didn't see it in school cafes before we moved here, nor at the cafeterias/etc when in college.

            A coworker of mine a few years back was making dinner for some of us and was serving "goulash". I was very excited as I love a good goulash. To my surprise he brought out ACS. Now, I happen to like ACS so I didn't really mind, but I always wondered HTF that was being called goulash. Now I know.

    2. If memory serves, they sometimes have this at Florentina in Cambridge. Note though that it's a dumpy little lunch place that serves stuff out of steam-table type metal trays -- the whole thing might remind you of your college dorm cafeteria.

      1. I've seen it at the prepared foods bar at Whole Foods on Cambridge Street.

        1. Recently saw American Chop Suey on the menu board at La Ronga in Somerville.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bachslunch

            I have never seen it outside of my elementary school cafeteria, WF my own kitchen. The is almost eerie, bc I had a craving for it last night. I make my own, WF's version is mushy.

            1. re: bachslunch

              I, too, have seen it at LaRonga Bakery on Somerville Ave. so it may be a pretty regular item on their menu.

            2. American Chop Suey was my childhood nemesis! My entire family loved it except for me.

              Looking back though, the combination of ingredients doesn't sound so bad, it may have just been my mom's recipe. My mother also made an awful meatloaf, but other versions I've had have been good. Does anyone have a GOOD american chop suey recipe?

              4 Replies
              1. re: heWho

                I think this is fantastic, and yes, with the tomato soup and all!!


                1. re: jules127

                  That recipe sounds 100x better than the stuff my mom used to make. Thanks!

                  1. re: heWho

                    Coming from California, I've never heard of it, but the sound of it reminds me of Hamburger Helper :P

                    1. re: marilees

                      Well...yeah. It's the same principle: a one-pot meal based on ground beef, tomatoes and elbow macaroni.

                      As Allstonian says, we grew up in very different places, but we both grew up knowing this dish as goulash. She makes her mom's version, which includes green peppers and celery. I make my mom's version, which only has the onions and garlic. We each secretly prefer our own, although we're happy to see either version show up on the table.

                      For what it's worth, I saw ACS in the steamer table at the Allston Shaw's the other day. Frankly, it looked extremely nasty.