Los Angeles attorney David Chan is a third-generation Chinese-American who grew up not liking Chinese food. But in 1984, one tasty lunch changed him around. He started eating in Chinese restaurants as a way to connect with his heritage. Now, at age 64, Chan has eaten at 6,297 different Chinese restaurants, all documented on a spreadsheet. He's become the go-to guy for food critics and travelers. But he's not all that picky -and he still hasn't learned to use chopsticks.
Chan had always wanted to travel to all 50 states, and Chinese food gave him an excuse. In places he would have never imagined, he found Chinese people with their own version of Chinese food.
In New England, he encountered a chow mein sandwich topped with gravy. In St. Paul, Minn., he found a burger with egg foo young for a patty. Throughout the South, he came across a sweet, stir-fry dish called Honey Chicken.
"It doesn't have to be authentic Chinese. If it's Chinese American, it's all the more interesting," Chan said.