As Chef Shangri-la Restaurant in North Riverside prepares for its 33rd anniversary the weekend of July 25 and 26, it also is cause for celebration for the restaurant’s owner Sue Fong.
Her career in the restaurant business goes back many years when she worked with her family (and closely with her mother) at the Cantonese Chef Restaurant in Chinatown. Following her mother’s death, she continued for a time at the Chinatown restaurant before deciding to venture on her own. With somewhat of a language barrier but with the help of an interpreter, she purchased the North Riverside location where her business has prospered.
Born in the Canton region of China, Fong is also one-quarter Hawaiian, although she regretfully states she has never been to Hawaii, the influence is present in the decor of the restaurant.
She describes herself as “tough, like a boy” when she was a youngster but still would follow the traditional Chinese way of life for women. Her strong desire to be in business for herself and the presence of her mother were the driving forces in her life.
While she rarely cooks now, she is quick to add she can cook anything. She has been known to take a turn in the kitchen to prepare a meal for those she calls “special people.” Her favorite food? She says she likes vegetables.
Come and meet Sue Fong at the two-day celebration, which will include music, entertainment, food and a Hawaiian-style pig roast on Sunday. Admission is free but reservations may be a good idea and can be made by calling 442-7080. Sue Fong is a restaurateur who says she is “happy to help people” and has been doing just that for many years.