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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE“David Leong was a Springfield treasure, exhibiting the great work ethic of our baby boom generation. His ‘Springfield-style cashew chicken’ was not only a culinary delight, but also a symbol of a changing Springfield,” said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. “It is with heartfelt gratitude that the City of Springfield and the City Council remember David Leong for all the contributions he made, not only to Springfield, but also to this country.”
David Leong came to Springfield, in 1955, at the urging of a Springfield neurosurgeon, John L.K. Tsang, who was also a native of China. When Springfieldians continued to request fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy at the restaurant where he worked, he decided to create a variation that substituted rice for the potatoes. The rest is history. Throughout the 1970s, other Asian families immigrated to Springfield. First came other Chinese, then a large influx of Vietnamese. Many opened Chinese restaurants. It is estimated that more than 80 Chinese restaurants in Springfield serve cashew chicken and other authentic Chinese cuisine.
David immigrated to the United States in 1940 from Guangdong, China. He became a naturalized citizen, then served his adopted country during World War II. (During the Normandy invasion, he was in the fourth wave of troops to hit Omaha Beach.) After the war, he worked in many restaurants from Philadelphia to New Orleans to Pensacola, Fla.
# # #For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, City of Springfield, Missouri at 417-380-3352 or CScott@springfieldmo.gov.