For 45 years, Hon's Wun-Tun House has been serving Cantonese comfort food in the heart of Chinatown and the closure of the historic restaurant will mark the end of an era, say locals and patrons.
There are several Hon's locations across Metro Vancouver, but the original location on Keefer Street is closing Saturday, the restaurant confirms.
June Chow, with the Youth Collaborative for Chinatown. said the restaurant owners are not renewing their lease and so it's unclear what's in store for the location.
"When we posted the news on our Facebook page, people just erupted with a whole bunch of different emotions and a lot of memories," said Chow.
Employees at Hon's declined to comment.
The mark of an era
Chow said Hon's popular noodles, dumplings and wonton were a staple in the Chinatown community for decades.
"An entire generation grew up with coming to Hon's as a tradition in their families," she said.
Chow organized a dinner with a group of other advocates earlier this week, to come together for what could be their last meal at Hon's in Chinatown. Jeffrey Wong, from Wong's Benevolent Association, was at the dinner and reminisced about eating at the restaurant as a child with his grandparents.
"When my grandmother used to bring me to kung fu, or when I went to art school at the cultural centre, Hon's was the place to go for lunch," he said. "Or back in the day, coming down to Chinatown late at night, Hon's was one of the few places that was open at night."
Changes in Chinatown
Closing Hon's would be the loss of yet another historic business in Chinatown, Wong said, and will hit some residents hard.
"There are still many, many low income Chinese seniors that live in the area," he said. "They are not going to bus down to, say, Victoria Drive or Richmond to grab a bowl of noodles. This is the cheapest place they could go to in the area."
Baldwin Hum was also at a farewell dinner on Wednesday night.
"I'm not concerned about Hon's specifically—I mean, it's too bad that it's going away, but it's only one restaurant. It's more the rest of the infrastructure and culture that is also changing that is a little bit concerning."
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio link below:
With files from On The Coast and Vivian Luk.