Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Story Behind Chinese Food and Donuts Restaurants

July 20, 2010
By Rigoberto Hernandez
Mission Local (San Fancisco, California, USA)

If you are like me, you’ve probably wondered why some restaurants serve the bizarre combination of Chinese food and donuts.

Well, an article in the Atlantic found that “the initial impulse to sell two products was born of need.”

“Back in San Francisco, Jolly Chan, the owner of the Mission District’s popular Donuts and Chinese Food…. ‘The rent is too high,’ he told me, watching as customers queued for heaping plates of orange chicken and pot stickers. ‘It cannot be empty in the morning,’ he said. ‘I have donuts and coffee for morning customers and around 10 or 11 start working in food.’

“So why Chinese food and donuts? Chan had some answers, and it seemed that for many owners of such establishments, donuts came first. When he first emigrated from Cambodia in 1980, Chan, like many Cambodian immigrants, found a job in a donut shop. It was a trend begun by Ted Ngoy, who immigrated in 1975 and after learning the donut trade opened his own chain of shops. Ngoy went on to train the wave of Cambodian immigrants that followed. By the mid-’90s, 80 percent of California’s donut shops were Cambodian owned and operated. Chan says that when donuts stopped being sufficient to keep businesses running, many immigrants added Chinese food to their repertoires.”

Well, there you go. I personally always frequent J. George’s on 16th and Folsom Streets, which serves hamburgers, hot dogs, Chinese food and donuts.

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