THERE were tears, there were hugs and there were last orders of king prawns and fried rice – then a much loved Chinese takeaway was calling it a day.
The New Hing Lung on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, was full of customers and Thank You cards last Sunday (February 27) as the family, headed by matriarch Xue, decided to finish for good on her retirement, aged 66. It’s been sold on.
Customer Howard Greaves, who with his wife Elsa has been a customer for over 20 years, was one of those saying goodbye. “The standard has always been very high and the prices incredible low,” he enthused.
Although he recommended it to friends they shuddered because the appearance outside belied the food inside.
The humble little takeaway is the latest in a line of well-known Chinese eateries to disappear recently. So has the red fronted Dim Sum on London Road, run by brother and sister Sang and Tina Wan. This was a place noted for its dim sum dishes as well as a conventional menu.
They opened the place, previously Mr Yun’s tiny sandwich shop, in 2003 and later expanded into neighbouring premises.
Sang arrived from Hong Kong aged 14 and was sent to High Storrs School, where, he says, the teachers simply ignored him. He left a year later and gained his education in a leading Manchester Chinese restaurant.
I was sorry to have missed a last meal there although knew the Wans were looking for a buyer. Sang, seeing the rise of New Era Square, had long predicted the demise of Chinese restaurants on the London Road axis.
Also gone, and I can’t tell you when, is the famous Zing Vaa restaurant on The Moor. The tiny entrance, now boarded up, led down some stairs to a large basement restaurant. We went a couple of years ago but the cavernous restaurant was cold, bare and empty so we left before ordering.
It was quite the place in its heyday. Founded by Sheffield-born Harry Yun in 1958, whose family ran the Yun Bun Laundry in Heeley, the restaurant had a long-standing rivalry with the Golden Dragon (now the Wong Ting) round the corner in Matilda Street.
Harry, who had a pronounced Sheffield accent, liked to stand at the foot of the stairs and surprise guests by saying, seemingly incongruously, “Oreyt owd lad?”
Times change. People move on. But all three of these premises were held in affection by local people. Most of the time they just disappear from local history without a fanfare. So this, in its way, is a last goodbye.