Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Joy Fong and memories of Chinese food past



I have this thing for kitschy Chinese restaurant design, so this picture from 1971 made my day. Joy Fong Chow Mein was located on Avenue J and Coney Island Avenue in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn nearby Di Fara's Pizza and the old Midwood movie theater (which closed in the early 80s). Joy Fong is also long gone, including this massive sign.

Writer Pete Cherches has a wonderful recollection of the restaurant and eating Chinese food in Brooklyn in the 1960s. He says of Joy Fong: "a now-defunct place that retains an almost holy status in the memories of Brooklyn Jews of a certain age. I wouldn’t be surprised if people visit the site of the former restaurant and wail against the wall."

Photo courtesy Flickr/Bridgeport Mike

5 comments:

  1. They had the BEST food. I was friendly with one of the owners daughters. During the off hours the owners and the waiters used to make the wontons.

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  2. We moved into the neighborhood in 1949 when I was 2 1/2. Our apartment was on Avenue K between 14th & 15th. Joy Fong was my introduction to Chinese food, and for years it was the only Chinese restaurant I knew. My favorite was shrimp and lobster sauce. My mom always ordered moo goo guy pan. Spare ribs and pepper steak were other favorites. We went there a lot, but it was always a special treat. Even when we moved in 1952 we were still in the neighborhood so we kept going there. Their son went to my school (P.S. 99). I think his name was Joe.
    When I was about 4 my dad set up an aquarium in our apartment and I got very interested in tropical fish. I think Joy Fong must have had a nice aquarium because I associate them with that.
    Nice to see that photo. It really brings back memories.

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  3. `When I was a kid in the 40' and 50', we used to go there for dinner one Sunday a month. Remember very friendly owner. Eating Chinese food was such a Jewish ritual in Brooklyn.

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    1. I used to go there in the 1940s. I remember once they were rationing sugar because of the war and my parents brought in their own sugar for the tea. My father knew the owner, Joe, a very friendly man, and he told my father that he had two wives, one in China and one in the US. Joy Fong was my introduction to Chinese food and I have never forgotten it.

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  4. Arlene Friedman CashMay 18, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    We didn't eat pork at home but going out to Joy Fong was our excuse to be able to eat it. I remember a John's Bargin Store across the street.

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