Lau Yee Chai, Honolulu 1930s
'''Me, PY Chong!" he brashly called himself. And so he was known far and wide, the original owner and chef of the world-famous Waikiki Lau Yee Chai restaurant, which opened in 1929, at the corner of Kuhio and Kalakaua Avenues. According to the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, "...its elaborate, classical Chinese architecture stood out in the Waikiki landscape, effectively attracting mainland tourists to its door".
"My dad was a waiter at the restaurant. His uniform consisted of a solid blue cheong sam and black satin Chinese cap with a flashy red button on top. There were times when he needed a fresh uniform and would call home for it. Then I would take the parcel of clothing to him, riding the streetcar all the way from downtown, where we lived, to Waikiki. The decor at the entryway was awesome. Past the ornate moon gate doorway was a red, fenced-in fish pond with carps and a rock garden taller than myself. A man-made waterfall greeted me. It was in this restful atmosphere that I would be served a steaming bowl of won ton mein made by my dad. I savored and slurped it slowly, making it last as long as possible. I know he loved me."
Gloria B. K. Tamashiro, Honolulu
from Honolulu Advertiser,Feb. 20, 2000
Courtesy Harley Spiller Collection.
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