Chop Suey Sandwich

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I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this in today’s email!!! I grew up coming here with family from the area. My father and grandfather and his sibling all went to “the willows” for food, ice cream and games. The arcade has a lot of new and old (very old) games, they have a place called Hobbs popcorn that is seriously the best on the planet, there is saltwater taffy made on a machine that’s got to be over a century old and tastes the same as it always did.
There’s ice cream, and other treats and of course the chop Suey sandwich! From the same place there is also the “tender steak” which is bits of tender (alleged) beef in a brown gravy on a hamburger bun. Oh it’s a messy delight for sure. As far as the willows you either “get it” or you don’t. It’s local yokel it’s rinky dink, it’s old timey, it’s beautiful and loved by many. Don’t go expecting six flags because it ain’t. There is an old carousel and rides that are 70+ years old and still operate. The grounds are beautiful and it’s very affordable. Thank you for sharing this!!


I recall spotting the elusive Chop Suey Sandwich on a sign in an old image of Nathan’s on Coney Island. I was so intrigued I wrote the company, which responded that while it was still on the menu there, sadly, they had no plans to roll out their Chop Suey Sandwich nationwide.

It’s this kind of obstructionist thinking that holds back both Nathan’s and Coney Island from returning to their former greatness.


I grew up near Salem Willows and 50 years ago I ate countless chop suey sandwiches. Messy to be sure, but affordable and tasty.


When I was about 13 or so, I ate Chop Suey sandwiches at Woolworth on 59th street off Third Avenue. (Bloomingdale’s was across the street ) Oh by the way the cost was .20


Grew up in Salem & probably had my first one circa 1950. We make the annual pilgrimage to Salem Lowe every year on our way to Maine from Houston. Wouldn’t miss it. My wife a true southerner doesn’t get chop suey, but that’s her only fault! I always get a chop suey & a pepper steak. YUM!!

Reading this article reminded me of the wonderful summers I spent at a camp in Casco Maine.
Every Wednesday was “trip day,” (not we didn’t get buzzed back then) where buses took us to
various fun places in Maine and New Hampshire for the day. We visited Old Orchard Beach, a
vacation destination featuring a pier and amusement park. I remember a giant slide which you road down to the bottom on rugs made from hemp. At the bottom of the slide was a small chop suey sandwich kiosk.
Equally famous is the Mee Sum restaurant in Fall River, MA which has been serving chop suey sandwiches for over 50 years. Fall River is also home to the Oriental Chow Mein Company which sells large packages of crispy fried noodles - an essential ingredient - along with the Hoo-Mee
brand of packaged chop suey kits.
The sandwich came about as Chinese immigrants from our west coast and abroad came to these
New England cities to fill jobs in factories.
For more information about this sandwiches origins and history, you may want to speak with
Imogene Lim, an ethnoarchaeologist professor living in Vancouver BC. While a student a Brown
University, she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the chop suey sandwich. She also maintains an
incredible collection of old American menus. Submitted for your enjoyment - N. Carter