A new cookbook chronicles the history of Asian restaurants in Minnesota. “Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota Since 1875” interviews the state’s food pioneers hailing from places from Japan to Sri Lanka.
It’s a trip browsing through the old photographs and stories of these early culinary settlers. The author, former Asian Pages food editor Phyllis Louise Harris, talks to the family behind the Joe Huie Cafe in Duluth — a 24-hour Chinese-American eatery that opened in 1951. Huie’s son Wing Ying Huie eventually opened the Chinese Lantern, famous for its beef prime ribs.
Joe Huie, center, stands with two of his sons who worked in his restaurant, Kwong and Ying. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society from “Asian Flavors” by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghvan Iyer published by MHS Press.)
Another son, Wing Young Huie, went on to become a prominent Twin Cities photographer.
The book does not mention many of my favorite Asian eateries today. But it’s a thorough reminder of how much the Asian food scene has changed — and just how long it’s been around. The state’s first Chinese restaurant, after all, opened on Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis in 1883.
Test your knowledge of Asian restaurants in the North Country with some trivia, most of which we gleaned from the book.