Photos from the Fung family’s restaurant 東方 Orient Express. I was keen to meet with members of Sheffield’s established Chinese community, to hear their perspective on the changes in the city over the years. After eating in Orient Express with Linna Wei, I spoke to the owners and found out that this family restaurant is run by the sons of Susan Fung, who herself has been living in Sheffield for over 50 years.
Mrs Fung migrated to England with her family when she was 9, they ran a laundry in Scarborough for several years before moving to Sheffield. Her father’s Uncle and his English wife set up the first Chinese restaurant in the city, from their front room in Attercliffe.
Mrs Fung started her own restaurant on London Road in 1962, and in 1965 moved to a 200-seater restaurant on Matilda Street ‘where people used to queue up on a Friday and Saturday night’. They kept this restaurant for 40 years, enjoying retirement for the best part of a decade before finding the premises for Orient Express. Mrs Fung’s sons are in charge of the restaurant although she is there most days; ‘if I’m at home I’ll just fall asleep’.
Mrs Fung’s family are Cantonese and she spoke to me here about the changes in language and cuisine that have resulted from the increased number of students from mainland China:
Mrs Fung with her son David, and grandson Reese.
It was fascinating to chat with Mrs Fung and to hear a little about her family history and although it’s just an introduction to the established community through one family, I felt it important to show. On a personal level it also firmed up some ideas I’ve had about extending this project in the future, working with different groups within the Chinese community, both in Sheffield and further afield.