Restaurateur Cecilia Chiang dies at 100, remembered as rare female owner in men-dominated industry


By Xia Lin

NEW YORK, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Cecilia Chiang, the famed restaurateur who helped introduce authentic Chinese food to America in the 1960s and died at 100 on Wednesday, has been a rare female owner in an industry dominated by men, NBC reported on Friday.

She gained acclaim as the owner of the Mandarin, a pioneering San Francisco restaurant she opened in 1961 that served many dishes that are now staples at Chinese restaurants across the United States, like pot stickers, moo shu pork and sizzling rice soup, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported her death and named her the "mother of Chinese food in America."

Chiang, who ran the Mandarin from 1961 to 1991 before selling it, was credited by food magazine Saveur in 2000 with "nothing less than introducing regional Chinese cooking to America."

"I think I changed what average people know about Chinese food," she told the Chronicle in 2007. "They didn't know China was such a big country."

Chiang was born in 1920 with the name Sun Yun as one of 12 children in Shanghai and grew up in Beijing. Around 1960, she started her restaurant business in San Francisco, then moved the restaurant to a larger space on the city's Ghirardelli Square in 1968 and later opened a second Mandarin in Beverly Hills, California in 1975. The original Mandarin closed in 2006.

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