People of one ethnicity dining in restaurants of another ethnicity

I haven’t paid much attention to this, but it seems I have seen more Chinese people in Mexican restaurants than Mexican people in Chinese restaurants.

Are people of a certain ethnicity more or less likely to dine in restaurants of another ethnicity?

Is there anything to this?

Probably not.

How do you know that the people eating in the Mexican restaurants are Chinese and not Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, etc?

There aren’t many There aren’t many Thai people in these parts yet there are plenty of customers here (suburban Boston) to support several restaurants in a couple of square miles. Chinese places are popular all over small town USA. I doubt they are authentic but people love to eat their version of food. Mexican food is the same. You can find plenty of Mexican food in North Dakota for instance even if there is not a real Mexican for miles. I sometimes wonder if foreigners study a map to plan a strategic strike for food. Even Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show had a Chinese restaurant over 40 years ago for no special reason at all.

I’m a Caucasian American. I don’t think we’re supposed to have any ethnicity.

There’s a running joke my Jewish friends and I have about the deep abiding love that Canadian Jews have for ersatz Chinese food of the chop-suey and sweet-and-sour sauce variety.

I’m guessing a lot of this has to do with Chinese restaurants being the only places that stayed open for the big Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter.

That said, Toronto being as multicultural as it is, any given ethnic restaurant will be filled with a hodge-podge of cultures and races… can’t say I’ve ever noticed any specific patterns involving Chinese people and Mexican food, or vice-versa.

I don’t, generally. I also probably don’t know a Mexican from a Panamanian or Colombian just by looking. I phrased the question that way just for simplicity.

I raise the question because the last time I was in a Chinese restaurant, the place was fairly full, but all the customers were Asian except for my wife and me, who are white. I wondered why I saw no latin or black people. Then, I got to thinking that I have seen Asian and black people in Mexican restaurants.

My experience has been exactly the opposite. I don’t think you’ll find a one-size-fits-all explanation, it probably has to do with the particular demographics of where you live.

Now that I think about it more, the nearest residential neighborhood that is dominated by one ethnic minority is an Asian neighborhood several blocks away. The next nearest “ethnic minority” neighborhood is a black neighborhood perhaps a mile or two away. I think the nearest Latino dominant neighborhood may be even farther away.

So, I guess the people eating dinner in an Asian restaurant where the nearest minority residential neighborhood is Asian would probably tend to skew the numbers. It probably has nothing to do with a theory like, “Irishmen don’t eat pizza.”

When I lived in a mostly-Mexican town, the one Chinese place was always full of Mexicans. In San Fran, every place is full of every race, with an emphasis on east Asians.

Depends where you live, I guess…


Come to Dallas. Just about everybody working in the kitchen is Hispanic. (at chinese stores)
I’ve only noticed that the “All-you-can-eat-super-Chines-buffet” have a significant number of Hispanic customers.

This thread reminds me of this sketch from Goodness Gracious Me:

(Going out for an English)

Indian restaurants in UK tend to be full of white people. You rarely see Indians eating in them.

There are loads of Chinese restaurants in India, and nearly all of them are run by Indians. The customers are usually Indian.

Sometimes it’s almost impossible to get people of the same ethnicity as the owner eating in a restaurant due to the surrounding area:

In Baghdad, Chinese is takeout only