Bury’s oldest Chinese takeaway celebrating 50th anniversary
A popular Chinese takeaway in Bury St Edmunds – which was the first to open in the town – will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
Golden House first opened its doors to the public in 1969 after founder Charles Chung saw an opportunity for a new business in the town.
Mr Chung, 73, had been running a restaurant in Chelmsford but first came to Bury in 1966 to help at Golden Palace – a partner’s restaurant in the town.
He then saw a market for takeaway Chinese food, and Golden House opened in Guildhall Street three years later.
“It was the first of its kind in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex,” he said. “Not London, it was already popular there.
“Because I’d spent a few years already in Bury, people already knew my face. They would say, ‘what is it like?’ and I would say ‘it’s takeaway food, which is good for a family when their fridge is out-of-stock or when you have unexpected visitors – we can be used’.
“Since then, it became quite popular but it took me about ten months to get the business going.”
Mr Chung said it didn’t take long for the concept to catch on in the town.
“Only about three years afterwards, everyone was saying. ‘Charlie is doing it well’, but they didn’t think about the time I had to struggle through.
“The next thing I hear is that three or four have opened in Essex and then in Norfolk.
“Probably less than three years and another one opened in Guildhall Street.”
Mr Chung, who also worked as a Chinese translator in the Suffolk court system, met his wife, Shanmatie, in Bury St Edmunds while she was working as a nurse at West Suffolk Hospital. The couple married in 1970 and have three children.
Mr Chung, who is the oldest of seven siblings, which includes St Edmundsbury deputy mayor Patrick Chung, retired 13 years ago.
The business, which has a five-star hygiene rating, was taken over by family friend Fong Ho.
“50 years and it is still going strong,” he added. “People still like takeaway food.”
A Chinese new year spectacular variety show will take place at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday, February 26, at 7.30pm.
The event will be hosted by Patrick Chung and will raise money for four charities – The Lions Club Bury St Edmunds, My WiSH Charity, St Nicholas Hospice Care, and The Samaritans.
For more information and tickets, visit www.theapex.co.uk