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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Chinese Restaurants

Chinese Restaurants

GRHC - March 20th, 2011

This episode shares the story of Chan Hoy and his quest to bring Chinese food to Grand Rapids for the first time ever in 1902.    



In September of 1902 Chan Hoy opened an elaborate Chinese restaurant, the Hong Far Lo, at Pearl and Canal Streets on the second floor. He brought a cook from San Francisco and an assistant cook from New York, and all the furnishings were imported from China. Besides Chop Suey, a favorite of Americans, the restaurant introduced diners to many previously unknown delicacies. His various Chinese noodle dishes were extremely popular. Chan Hoy, one of the wealthiest Chinese in Grand Rapids, owned another restaurant in the city and one in Grand Haven.

Mr. Pantlind noted the success of Chan Hoy’s restaurant just across Canal Street from his hotel. Never one to overlook an opportunity, he imported two Chinese brothers, cooks from San Francisco and Chicago. They received a separate kitchen of their own over the regular kitchen of the hotel and there all manner of Chinese dishes were prepared from soups to chop suey with all the trimmings, noodles, eggs and so on, including tea at 25-cents-a-cup.

The adventure was an experiment at the outset but became so popular that it was continued. The hotel’s head chef noted, “The dishes make a decided novelty to those who are not accustomed to them and there is no reason why that feature of the café should not be permanent. It has the merit of being very unusual in hotels of the Pantlind’s class, and many of the guests from the big cities have expressed their surprise and pleasure.”


Full Details

TitleChinese Restaurants
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, Chan Hoy, Chinese Food, restaurants, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringMarch 20th, 2011

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