Celebrate Lunar New Year with Wing Lam and family at Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Wing Lam, Youlen Chan (Phoenix Bakery and friend of Lam’s) and the Lee family at Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 8 beginning at 6 p.m.

Museum members are invited to join the reception with tea, desserts and wine. Sweet treats are provided by Phoenix Bakery. RSVP to 949.675.3952.

Celebrate Lunar New Year Lams

Courtesy of Balboa Island Museum of Newport Beach

(L-R) Wing Lam’s parents Lee Cheong Kwong and Lee So Ching with Wing Lam

Throughout the month of February, the Museum will display the Lunar New Year Exhibit, honoring restaurateurs Wing Lam, Cheong Lee and their family. Cheong Lee opened Shanghai Pine Gardens on Balboa Island in 1969; Wing and his brothers founded the Wahoo’s Fish Taco chain.

The Lunar New Year Exhibit will showcase the history of the family, who immigrated to Balboa Island from Mainland China.

Wing was born in Brazil, one of five sons of Lee Cheong Kwong (Cheong Lee) and Lee So Ching, where his father and mother ran a Chinese restaurant in the 1950s. In 1964, his father and eldest brother Yong Lee (now deceased) immigrated to America, and the rest of the family – Lee So Ching, and brothers Yong, Wing, Ed and Mingo – followed in 1975. They opened a restaurant in Newport Beach, Shanghai Pine Garden, where everyone in the family helped. 

Wing’s parents wanted their children to go to college to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. Although Wing majored in engineering at San Diego State University, he preferred the party atmosphere and chose a different direction, eventually majoring in finance. 

In 1988, he and his two younger brothers, Ed and Mingo, co-founded Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Costa Mesa, and the rest is history. The entrepreneurial spirit and restaurant savvy garnered from their father and mother proved to be the recipe for success. The flavors of Wahoo’s incorporated a mixture of traditional Chinese and Brazilian flavors with the tastes of Mexican cuisine experienced during their travels to Mexico. 

Wing is a dedicated family man, a community philanthropist, a frequent guest speaker and an avid surfer. According to Wing, “With 60 locations across the U.S. and Japan, we hope to continue our mission to nourish our communities with food and experiences and contribute to charitable initiatives focused on ending hunger, caring for the environment and educational opportunities for children.”