Chinatown’s new store, Jade Chocolates, will serve local chocolates, tea,
Chop suey sundaes? This mostly forgotten but once popular dessert is one of the old-school dishes chocolate maker and entrepreneur Mindy Fong hopes to resurrect at her new Grant Avenue boutique, Jade Chocolates. (Hint: it’s not meat or bean sprouts.)
The new store will feature Fong’s artisan chocolates infused with teas, spices and tropical fruits, as well as pastries and an “apothecary bar” of soft drinks – all with a focus on flavors from Asia and from the Pacific Islands who draw inspiration from his Filipino and Chinese American origins. heritage,” Fong tells Hoodline.
Formerly an architectural designer, Fong prepared the location at 607 Grant Ave. (formerly an art gallery) with what it calls an aesthetic inspired by Chinese temples, drawing figures on the walls, renovating a wooden chest into a hand-painted marvel. , and the repurposing of walnut shelves that once held yoga mats in a display for tea and treats. She expects to open the doors for a soft opening before the start of April.
Jade Chocolates previously had an outlet on Geary Street. Fong, a fifth-generation Chinese-American and fifth-generation San Franciscan, said the opening of the expanded Chinatown teahouse feels like a homecoming of sorts: her great-grandfather was born in 1888 in Waverly Place and owned a tea room on Maiden Lane.
“In the late 1800s when my family came here, we were forced to live [in Chinatown] because of segregation,” says Fong. “I feel it is my duty to keep the family history alive. We have a long history here in Chinatown.”
Fong was inspired by the aesthetic of a Chinese temple for her shop. Photo: Jade Chocolates
“Creating these chocolates is a way for me to maintain my identity and share it with people,” Fong says. This mission goes beyond staff, however, Fong pointed out, saying she hopes she can help attract more people to the district, which she says has struggled to attract buyers – a fact she attributed both to the pandemic and to “negative opinions”. on Chinese and Asians in general” during COVID.
Fong renovated the old art gallery on Grant Ave. to prepare his tea room for the opening. Photo: Jade Chocolates
In the first few weeks after opening, customers of the new store can expect to find Fong’s Artisan Candy ($3 each or in mixed boxes of 7, 12, 24, or 45) and confections. These mix evocative nostalgia with a modern twist. Fong’s “rice paddies,” which she describes as “premium rice krispies” made with dark chocolate, almonds, and mangoes instead of marshmallow, turn a childhood treat into a thoroughly adult indulgence.
Meanwhile, Fong says his Gold Mountain Salted Caramels collection celebrates why Chinese immigrants came to California in the mid-1800s. “Coming to ‘Gold Mountain’ gave the Chinese people hope for a better future. “, she says.
Gold Mountain Salted Caramels Photo: Jade Chocolates
Customers can also order original creations at the apothecary bar, which will serve cold drinks based on fruits, herbs and teas. The offerings may include drinks like the ones Fong’s team invented last summer: carbonated matcha with salt and vinegar sakura blossoms encapsulated in ice cubes, rimmed with strawberry powder and topped with freeze-dried strawberries.
Then in May, Fong said the shop would begin serving afternoon tea with a rotating menu built around the seasons and themes of Asian and Pacific Islander culture. In creating these menus, Fong plans to “bring back some of the dishes that once existed” – dishes like coffee crunch cake or apple custard pie, which she says were common in Asian bakeries in the city during his childhood but have since largely disappeared.
A matcha drink creation topped with strawberries by Fong’s team Photo: Jade Chocolates
What about those chop suey sundaes? Dark Atlas explains that it was a popular dish during the heyday of the American soda fountain, and Fong says his research indicates that, although the recipe varied from region to region of the United States, it usually consisted of nuts and caramelized fruit over ice cream. (Star chef Brandon Jew is said to have created his own incarnation with tea jelly, black sesame sago and almond cookies for Mamahuhu on Clement Street, according to SF eater.)
When Fong releases his version, we’ll be ready to give it a whirl.
Jade Chocolates will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.