Photos: Local Asian American restaurateurs honor Lunar New Year with feasts

in Event

Lunar New Year starts on Jan. 22 and is widely known to revolve around communal celebrations involving fireworks, lion dances and a dragon snaking through a colorful festival procession. An integral part of the 15-day holiday goes relatively unseen in the public eye. It’s the New Year’s Eve feast, or “reunion dinner,” that is comparable to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Local Asian restaurateurs have been paramount to Sonoma County residents’ understanding of the holiday as well as serve up traditional Asian cuisines.

Local Chinese historian, Jam Kee Restaurant owner Song Wong Bourbeau

Song Wong Bourbeau and her husband Charles Bourbeau owned Jam Kee Restaurant, an establishment that was considered to be the best Chinese restaurant in Santa Rosa for over half a century. Wong Bourbeau’s grandfather Poy Jam originally opened the eatery and then passed the business on to Wong Bourbeau in the 1920s when he retired. Jam Kee Restaurant would remain open until Charles’ death in 1988.

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