Recognizing David Leongby Representative Billy Long
Posted on 2013-03-15
in the house of representatives
Friday, March 15, 2013
Mr. LONG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize long time family
friend David Leong, a truly unique American hero who has become a local
Springfield legend for his creation of Cashew Chicken.
Born in Guangdong, China, David immigrated to the United States in 1940 and later went on to serve his new country during World War II. He trained in Fort Lee, Virginia for 3 months before shipping out to Europe. He participated in the Normandy invasion where he hit Omaha Beach as part of the fourth wave of troops. By the war's end, he had served in England, France, Italy, and Belgium.
David and his late wife, Wong Shau Ngor, are the proud parents of seven: the late Wing Cheong Leong; Evelyne Leong Mousted; Wing Ling Leong; Wing Yee Leong; Yim Fong Leong; Wing Loke Leong; and Wing Wah Leong.
In November 1963, David opened Leong's Tea House, a 350 seat white tablecloth restaurant on the edge of town in what had been a cornfield in Springfield, Missouri. When he started the restaurant he knew that most people were not familiar with Chinese food, but they loved fried foods. He decided to come up with a recipe that combined both worlds together. He created a cashew gravy from soy and oyster sauce, added stock, and poured it over fried chicken, creating the immensely popular Cashew Chicken. There are now over 300 restaurants in the Springfield area that serve it.
He decided to close the original restaurant in December 31, 1997, following the death of his beloved wife. After falling ill in 2009, David decided he wanted to open a new restaurant to keep busy. Two years of success at the new Leong's Asian Diner inspired David to [[Page E316]] launch Leong Foods Incorporated, which specializes in David's original sauces and foods for retail sale in grocery stores. Today at age 92, he still comes in at 8 a.m. and leaves when it gets dark seven days a week.
Throughout David's life, he has served his country and city proudly. His story is an American story, and I am honored to recognize his service.