Sweet-and-sour sauce that's starchy or sugary
"Sweet-and-sour is also an authentic Chinese preparation, so this is one that comes to taste. If it's saccharine and sweet, it's definitely an Americanized Chinese place. They do say that sugar is the secret ingredient in Chinese food, but it's to add balance to salt or savory. It shouldn't overpower [the other flavors]. It's lightly salty and lightly sweet, but not like when you get a sweet tooth.
"A lot of it is prepackaged anyway, so it's been engineered for an American palate. If it looks thick like molasses, then it's probably Americanized. It can be made on the fly too, it's usually just sugar, vinegar, and other ingredients poured onto the chicken. But if you need a machete to cut through it..."
Egg foo young is on the menu
"Sometimes authentic places will have this on the menu, but it's really an American invention, and it can be disgusting. It's like a savory pancake that's an amalgamation of vegetables, batter, and shrimp that's deep-fried and topped with gravy. It loses all the texture when you put gravy on it, and it just becomes mush on mush."
Kung pao chicken is front and center
"This is actually a Chinese dish, so it kind of depends. It could be a gateway dish, but if they showcase it, more than likely it's an Americanized Chinese place."