Great story Honky Tonk!
Great story Honky Tonk!
Thanks for all the kind words!
Danny, you seem to know alot about the community. Did you know my family personally? Where did you get the Chicago detail? I was told that my great-great-grandfather arrived in Detroit in the late 1800's and that his son, Joe Chin, arrived there in 1910. My grandfather arrived there in 1928 straight from China. There was a Cleveland connection, but that's it.
Lt. Dan - sorry to hear about the car. unfortunately, that was quite common. We lost a lot of customers that way. But that was Detroit. And the city was not responding to all the crime reports.
Honky Tonk - do you know when that happened and were you around? I have a vague memory of that myself.
Detroit Planner - I wish. I often think of coming back and restarting up the restaurant, but I only worked in the dining room, so I'd need to find a good head cook. Plus I sort of have my life out here in Los Angeles. But, man, that would be so much fun to re-open Chung's there.
just dawned on me, I've never been satisfied with another egg roll since this place closed...they spoiled me for a lifetime!
some have come close, but never better
if you could get anyone in the family to reveal that secret...you could successfully reopen the joint
Ha ha, I already got the recipe from my mom. Working on writing down a few more of my favorite dishes there, too.
Someone else just emailed me and said the restaurant was mentioned in this true crime book called Masquerade. It's about some famous murder in Detroit and it was written by a Detroit News Reporter, Lowell Cauffiel. I am going to track down a copy of the book to see if it's true and what he has to say.
Thanks, Danny. Is that your Youtube Channel? Also, what's your connection to Chinatown?
I never had a Chungs egg roll. Or was too young too appreciate it at the time... I surely have missed out. As a rule I never eat the ones I get from the usual Chinese 'Take-aways' as I find them, burnt, greasy and nasty....
All this talk of egg rolls has made me hungry. I've convinced my sister to try and make it over the Christmas Holiday when I visit her in the Bay Area! Hope culinary skills runs in the family!
With the China-based investors buying up Detroit land, hopefully there will be more of a call for folks to come here to relocate and develop small and large businesses.
Definitely a very interesting article. Thanks for the link. It made me want to go out and get some almond chicken immediately (which I'm resisting, until at least... tomorrow). I so well remember the taste of that dish from your family's restaurant, as well as some old time east side Chinese restaurants like the Pekin Pavilion (the original one, on Jefferson near Townsend, with the enclosed booths), and the White Sun down by my grandmother's house on Chalmers.
As much as I love actual, authentic Chinese cuisine, I still have a soft spot for some of the delicious Americanized Chinese food of my youth, like almond boneless chicken. I never knew that this dish was basically local to this part of the country, until I moved to the east coast for several years and could never find the stuff. I would see something similar on menus, and order it, only to be disappointed time and again.
Now that "Midtown" is kinda "happening", any family thoughts about opening up the restaurant again?
While Chung's was indeed a cherished institution on Cass, there was a small but excellent Cantonese restaurant on Second, a few blocks north of the Fisher Building, called the China Doll, in a house which had an addition built out to the lot line. I went there through the mid-seventies but moved from the area in '77. I looked for it years later to no avail. Much New Center business in the daytime and from the many apartments north of the blvd. evenings and weekends.
I'd love to re-open the place, but professionally right now, it would be really hard. Maybe some day!
I seriously miss the days of a good sit down Chinese restaurant. They were nice, friendly and staffed by family that cared. Now it just seems like a lot of the Chinese food in Detroit is quick carry-out windows or small chain places. I miss the ambiance and how special it was to actually dine at a place like Chung's.
Thanks for the props, Thruster315. If you have any specific memories or stories about Chung's or even Chinatown (new and old), please feel free to share. I'm trying to collect them together.
Wow, this brings back memories...but not for Chung's, as I'm not sure that I ever ate there, but Wong's in the second picture. My aunt and uncle used to live in the area of Lincoln near Forest (a part of Lincoln that no longer exists, Wayne State ate it for lunch) and he being Asian (Filipino) that choice had at least some resemblance to his native foods. I only remember Wong's being delicious but I can't remember what I used to want - probably something pretty mundane like chicken chop suey. I was probably only five or six years old, if not younger, when I was introduced to Chinese food, probably at that place, but my true first experiences are unknown, probably before my memory kicks in.
I think these earliest memories go back to about 1952.
So I've enjoyed Chinese food as long as I can remember, despite being entirely Anglo. It wasn't until the Seventies that I was fortunate enough to experience other Asian cuisines in restaurants besides Chinese, but our uncle often fixed Filipino food for us. I still think about his ABALONE SOUP, which was to die for - also with some eggs in it, seaweed, etc. I haven't even seen canned abalone in ASIAN grocery stores in years and years...
I certainly never thought I'd see a picture of Wong's again...and it's so long ago that I surely don't remember what it looked like at all.
My favorite international cuisine, now, would be Indian.
Last edited by frankfrank; January-31-14 at 07:46 PM.
I heard through the grapevine that both properties on Cass and Peterboro sold this past week. I am not sure what the new owners plan to do with the property, but they say they want to keep some of the elements like the pagodas. I guess we'll have to see.
Not a bad idea at all. It's an opening as there is no competition. The famous name of Chung's would resonate with us of the older set while, assuming the previous quality was restored, it would soon be a hit with the new arriviste younger set.
A few from my Archives...
Another Chinese restaurant up the Corridor, sort of across from the Bronx Bar, was the Ho Ho Inn. It should have been called the 'So So' Inn as its fare was unremarkable.
Chung's set the standard and therefore was pricier. Not having a lot of money back in those days Chung's was a special event restaurant for me while the more modesty-priced Golden Dragon was my lower-priced yet good-quality place. I remember the family owners would dine together at the end of serving hours and lay out these amazing spreads, not on the menu, and my thinking I want that!
BTW, Happy New Year of the Horse to all my Chinese friends around the world!
Wow, thanks for the plug on the main page. Will keep you all posted as to what I hear. But for now several of the properties have just sold/are closing within the past two weeks. Hopefully these people don't just sit on them as speculators, but will do something.
I LOVED CHUNGS! i used to go there for lunch weekly while at worked at FWS (Franklin-Wright Settlements, Inc). Reasonable and great food. loved the sweet and sour pork and the won ton soup with a dollop of spicy mustard. Cleared my sinuses and soothed my palette.