Joy Tsin Lau

Asian food has become a popular choice of cuisine for the American population over the years. Many Asian restaurants in America have had to broaden their cuisine to satisfy the multiple tastes of their culturally diverse population, in order to maintain a successful business. One such restaurant is Joy Tsin Lau, located in Chinatown on 11th and Race Street.

Joy Tsin Lau was opened in 1983, when the owners moved from Hong Kong to America. They decided to move to be closer to relatives in New York. Since the only employment options for immigrants consisted of opening laundry shops or restaurants, the family decided to start their food business with Cantonese cuisine from Hong Kong. The original owners faced several struggles during the start of their career. The majority of the people in the area were either Caucasian or African-American, and not many people appreciated the Asian cuisine. So, business was slow for a while. After a few years, an influx of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees provided the restaurant with more business. Joy Tsin Lau became the place to go for a wedding dinner, birthday dinner, and other catered events. They have been extremely successful ever since. Today all types of people appreciate their food.

Manager Kevin Ma attributes their success to three important causes. He pinpoints the exceptional food they provide, the attractive décor inside, and the good morale of their team. The restaurant has been known to have the best Asian dining in the area, with head chefs from famous Hong Kong restaurants creating exquisite cuisines for their patrons. Customers flock to Joy Tsin Lau for their dim sum, which is a traditional brunch of Hong Kong, Macau, and Southern Chinese culture. The traditional furnishings of the restaurant allow them to create an authentic atmosphere for their customers, while embracing and acknowledging their culture and where they came from. Being family owned, the staff of the restaurant are a family and work well together. The biggest point of success, according to Ma, is the attitude the staff has towards their customers. The staff are friendly, welcoming, and respectful of all customers, no matter age, race, or income. By treating all their customers equally and taking care of them as though they are part of the family, Joy Tsin Lau keeps a high number of returning patrons.

The restaurant has had to adapt to changes in the neighborhood around them over the years. Thirty something years ago, the majority of the customers had been from the Canton region, and were satisfied with the familiar Cantonese food that Joy Tsin Lau offered. As the years passed, the variety of culture around the neighborhood increased, with more people arriving from all around the world. Joy Tsin Lau continues to create new combinations of dishes to appeal to the varying tastes of their consumers, resulting in a loyal following of customers and a rapid and still growing success.


  • Interview Transcript with Kevin Ma




11th and Race St.

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