Being an owner and operator of a Chinese and Japanese restaurant, I've always wanted to understand why more people don't just cook it at home on their own.
I've been thinking about it a lot because I feel a lot of its spices, sauces, and practices can be even integrated into other foods. Here are some of my thoughts on why it's limited currently:
1) Menu. The typical Chinese menu has sometimes over 100 items, despite the fact that a lot of them are simple variations. At the same time, there are unique names even if the difference between two dishes is so very slight. Such a powerful brand has been built though, which makes it hard from Chinese restaurants to stray away from the menu structure. The sheer volume of menu items surely could cause people to be confused or timid.
2) Fancy Names. Similar to the previous paragraph, I think there are a lot of things out there with many and unique names - even just ingredients - that make it more difficult to grasp. For example, oshinko is a pickled yellow radish that is popular in Japanese dishes; tobiko is a caviar that's often on the outside of rolls on the rice (and usually orange). We were also guilty of this, but the menu was so big that it was difficult to explain each nuisance'd ingredient.
3) The Sauces. Probably one of the biggest parts of a recipe when cooking Asian food at home is the long list that comes before actually making the meal. You need specific ingredients, for example, fish sauce, five spice, chili oil, or things that many people wouldn't have in the pantry ordinarily.
Our goal is to build credibility and develop ways to better understand Asian food. I truly believe that if we do that, we'll be able to grow both Asian food and culture here in the U.S.