The man who has eaten at 6,300 different Chinese restaurants across America

A Chinese food lover has eaten at 6,300 different restaurants and travelled across America feeding his obsession with Oriental cuisine.

But despite eating Chinese food all his life, David Chan still cannot use chopsticks.

Mr Chan's quest began in earnest after college when he tried to eat at every Chinese restaurant in his home city of Los Angeles.

His passion for the cuisine has since taken him to 50 states.

The 64-year-old accountant has charted every meal on an Excel spreadsheet and over the past 58 years, Mr Chan has tried a new Chinese restaurant on average every three days.

His incredible feat is even more remarkable as Mr Chan hated Chinese food when he was a child.

The third-generation Asian-American preferred spaghetti or meatloaf until he discovered the joys of Chinese food when he was at college.

Such is Mr Chan’s expertise on Chinese food that restaurant critics often ask him for suggestions on good places to try and he has also written about the country’s cuisine and history.

He said that he discovered Chinese food as a way of connecting with his culture.

When he got his first job, Mr Chan befriended a group of colleagues from Hong Kong and they set out on trying every restaurant they could find.

Mr Chan told The Los Angeles Times: 'I've always been a collector. I collected stamps and records.'

However, his love of Chinese food did not stem from childhood.

Koi Palace topped topped the list as Mr Chan praised it for its continuing excellence

Mr Chan has travelled around the U.S. sampling traditional and American-Chinese fusion food (file picture)


1) Koi Palace, Daly City, California: Mr Chan praised it for continuing excellence

2) Sea Harbour, Rosemead, California: He said it brought 'high quality dim sum' to the area

3) Elite Restaurant, Montery Park, California: Praised for its interesting range of dim sum

4) King Hua, Alhambra, California: Mr Chan said it has similar dim sum to Sea Harbour

5) Lunasia, Alhambra, California: The expert said it has an 'innovative' menu such as foie gras dim sum

6) Din Tai Fung, Arcadia, California: The only Shanghai style restaurant in the top 10

7) Yank Sing, San Francisco, California: Mr Chan praised the dim sum specialist for 'evolving'

8) Seafood Village, Monterey Park, California: The Hong Kong-style restaurant is 'highly regarded'

9) 101 Noodle Express, Alhambra, California: Mr Chan said the restaurant's star dish the Shandong beef roll has given it prominence

10) Jai Yun, San Francisco, California: Mr Chan said it is one of the 'quirkiest' Chinese restaurants in the U.S.

He said he was brought up as an American by his parents who wanted to ‘protect’ him from discrimination.

When he was younger the only Chinese restaurants were in Chinatown and in 1950 he was one of just 8,067 Chinese people living in Los Angeles.

Mr Chan told the Los Angeles Times: ‘Unless you lived in San Francisco, you were an oddity.’

Chinese immigration became more prevalent when he was studying at UCLA after the government relaxed laws that had only allowed 105 people each year to move from China to the U.S.

It was during his college years that Mr Chan began to connect with Chinese culture and took a course called Orientals in America.

Mr Chan said he one of the favorite parts of his hobby is seeing how the cuisine has evolved over the decades.

He says he finds American-Chinese fusions - such as the Chow Mein sandwich served with gravy that he found in New England - as interesting and enjoyable as traditional Chinese food.

While there is only one restaurant that he returns to, ABC Seafood, Mr Chan said the current number one Chinese restaurant is Koi Palace in Daly City, California, where they specialise in dim sum at lunch and Hong Kong-style seafood at dinner.

Mr Chan's son Eric believes his father's obsessions stems from him being a natural collector.
He said: 'If you collect enough of something, you can capture its essence. Maybe that's what he's trying to do with food.'