Joe Jung's Indo-China

San Francisco, California, United States

The Indo-China -- which served everything from Moo Goo Gai Pan to barbecued pork chops -- had a colorful clientele ranging from politicians to beat cops to Chinese American families celebrating special occasions. Until it closed in the early '60s, it was one of the most popular places in town.

The restaurant decor hearkened back to Joe's time working at Zombie Village and Joe also offered tropical drinks as well.

Joe Jung was best known for introducing dual menus -- Western and Cantonese -- in exotic decors outside Chinatown. "The idea," according to his son, David, "was not only to introduce Westerners to Chinese food, but to offer favorite American dishes, like fried chicken and prime rib, to Asian diners in a setting in which they felt comfortable."

Joe started his career by working for the legendary Frank Fat in Sacramento. There he learned the art of Chinese restaurant cooking and became Fat's youngest chef.

In 1940 he began to work for the Zombie Village in Oakland, owned by Skipper Kent who, along with "Trader Vic" Bergeron, whose Hinky Dink's restaurant was in Oakland at the same time, pioneered the marriage of Polynesian motifs with Chinese/Western cuisine.

But it was actually black cooks -- men who worked for the railroads and on their days off cooked at Zombie Village -- who taught Mr. Jung the basics of preparing the dishes for which he was to become famous: fried chicken, biscuits, prime rib and Southern gravy.

In the 1960s, when the O'Farrell Street location was razed to make room for the Nikko Hotel, he moved the restaurant to Chinatown at the corner of Clay and Stockton streets, where it quickly became a favorite of succeeding generations, especially for buffet parties, weddings, baby parties, and birthday celebrations.

Mr. Jung died May 8, 1998. He was 82.

Bar & Restaurant
San Francisco, California, United States
Permanently Closed?


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Date Created
11 Nov 2022
Date Updated
11 Nov 2022
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