As with any international food prepared in another country, Chinese food in the US is not generally going to be authentic Chinese food. Even within China, the region you are visiting will have different food just like in the US the South is known for fried chicken and BBQ, the Southwest TexMex and the Northeast for seafood.
A few common misconceptions from my time in China.
1. Fortune cookies are not given in ChinaI'm guessing this is a made up American tradition.
2. Many dishes you won't find in a Chinese restaurant in Beijing.1. General Tso's
2. Beef and Broccoli
3. Happy Family
4. Almond Boneless Chicken
5. Sweet and Sour Chicken
|Picture by veryliciousness on Flickr|
While very unique kinds of meats are used in China, I've personally never seen cat or dog offered on a menu. My husband has almost ordered dog off a menu a few years ago, so I do know they do use these meats, but I'm guessing it is more rural areas, or it isn't in the restaurants we've been frequenting.
3. Chinese eat a lot of rice.While this doesn't seem surprising to most people, I think the fact that most Chinese eat more rice and vegetables than anything else and only a tiny bit of meat (mostly because it is expensive I believe) will come as a surprise.
Bottom line, I'm sure Italians think Italian food in the US in horrible, just like Mexican food in Nebraska doesn't taste like Mexican food in Mexico, or Greek food in Greece is quite different from the Greek food found in Washington D.C. This is one reason, I for one, was happy to get my American Chinese food when I got home this summer.