My extended family recently met up for a traditional Chinese feast to celebrate a birthday. The birthday girl loves Chinese food, and we’re lucky to live near an exceptional Chinese establishment. I love any chance to celebrate Little Man’s birth culture, and we always say he gives us “street cred” at such venues.

Kwan’s is a long-standing family run restaurant and a Salem institution, widely considered the premier locale for authentic Chinese cuisine in the valley. Mr. Kwan himself still cooks in the kitchen, and routinely makes the rounds greeting his guests like the hospitable host he is.

Soon as you step through the doors you enter a labyrinth of exotic artifacts and aromas that echo the forbidden city in Beijing, beginning with a COLOSSAL wooden Buddha who warmly welcomes his patrons.

14 ft. of Northwest Redwood

Just like in China, we opted for family-style aboard the Lazy Susan– a great way to explore the menu.

note the mural behind us, hand-painted by Chef Kwan himself

Talk about transparency, they provide a wide window into their immaculate kitchen to observe the skillful chefs. 

We’ll be phoning them soon to request a homeschool field trip, rumor has it Chef Kwan can de-bone a chicken with a cleaver blindfolded! Salem is inarguably blessed by this hard-working immigrant, a generous pillar of our community. We might not have a proper Chinatown, but I’m still grateful to live in a diverse melting pot of many cultures.

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