A Historical Memoir

A San Francisco Chinatown Pioneer

Mr. Chinatown is the engaging story of San Francisco Chinatown entrepreneur and community leader H.K. Wong. Nicknamed “Mr. Chinatown” by popular news columnist, Herb Caen, H.K. was posthumously selected as one of the 101 most memorable San Franciscans over the past 100 years as part of the San Francisco Examiner centennial celebration in 1987. A fascinating historical account of early California and San Francisco Chinatown and its politics, business, arts, sports, and culture, this is the story of how one delightful, influential man changed the face of Chinatown forever.

Cover price for the book is $24.95, plus tax and shipping. See note below on buying from Amazon.com.

Cover Artwork by: Allison M. Wong
Book Design by: Sonja Gerard

“H.K. Wong’s contributions to Chinatown, to San Francisco and to the State of California will be remembered for years to come.” 

– United States Senator Dianne Feinstein

H.K’s Radio Interview
with Harvey Wong
Video Slideshow
(selected photos from book)

“H.K. Wong was truly a Renaissance man. His involvement in major milestone events and activities that transformed Chinatown from an insular, overlooked, neglected community to a vibrant part of San Francisco was truly extraordinary. Involvement by Chinese Americans in local, national and even international events, has become the norm.  Projects like the construction of Ping Yuen, Portsmouth Square Garage, Empress of China, establishing the annual Chinese New Year parade, formation of the San Francisco-Shanghai sister city committee, bringing exhibitions from China to S.F. emphatically demonstrated the scope and breadth of Chinese American capabilities to promote San Francisco.  He was also generous in giving credit to the many unsung Chinese American heroes who worked with him to make meaningful and effective involvement in these endeavors.”

Sue Lee
Chinese Historical Society of America, Executive Director, 2004-2017

Book Talk & Signing

Empress By Boon Restaurant
838 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA

Wednesday May 4, 2022
5:00 – 7:00 pm PDT

In-person Book Signing at the new restaurant reimagined by Chef Ho Chee Boon, Empress by Boon is San Francisco’s newest, must-visit epicurean destination in the heart of Chinatown.

There is no charge for the event. Books will be available for purchase. Drinks and appetizers may be purchased at the bar. Dinner is not included in the book signing event.

Empress of China Recipe Booklet

My dad was a consummate marketer. At every opportunity, he promoted the Empress of China through newspaper and magazine articles, radio talk shows, and TV appearances. In 1972, the California State Exposition (CalExpo) included a Chinese heritage show with exhibits of artifacts from the Chinese Historical Society, artwork from Taiwan, and a special table display from the Empress of China. H.K. designed the display in the style of the restaurant’s Emperor’s Chamber, with two dining tables arranged with ornate Chinese tableware. He created a brochure and postcard for the restaurant and a recipe booklet of 20 of the Empress’s famous dishes for Expo visitors. The booklet included recipes such as Empress Egg Roll, Fresh Lemon Duck, and my favorite dessert, Peking Honey Apples.

We have incorporated the original recipe booklet into a chapter in the book. As a convenience to preparing the recipes, we have converted that chapter into a new recipe booklet that can be downloaded and printed. The Empress of China featured the distinctive cuisine of all of China. Each dish contained a deft mingling of complementary flavors and textures, cooked to perfection, and represented the delicacies of many regions. Every selection on the menu had its own fragrance and appeal and was a treasured dish of past dynasties. It would give H.K. great pleasure to know that readers will be making a few of them in their own kitchens.

Recipe Booklet: Screen version

Recipe Booklet: Print Version

To print as a booklet, print on both sides of paper, and flip on the short edge of paper.

H.K. at the Empress booth during the CalExpo event.


A Special Bookmark

A specially designed bookmark will be offered to everyone who provides a noteworthy review on the Amazon book page, or a comment on this website.

You will need to PM us your mailing address to receive the bookmark.

Bookmarks will also be available at the in-person book signings, when we are able to schedule them.

Note: The front of the bookmark contains elements of the front cover. The back contains a portion of one of H.K.’s watercolor paintings.


The cover price for the book is $24.95 each, plus tax and shipping. Avoid buying the book if listed on Amazon for more than the cover price, There are third-party sellers who try to sell other people’s books at a greatly inflated price. Look for the “Sold by Amazon” box with the retail price. If that option is not available, buy from Barnes & Noble instead.

The book can also be special ordered from your local bookseller.
ISBN: 978-0-578-90191-6

Copyright © 2021 Wesley R. Wong, California, USA.
All rights reserved. Use of Contents by Permission Only.