Chinese New Year: Troy restaurant continues tradition spanning generations

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 11, 2022

TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, celebrations are taking place across metro Detroit. There are 16 days of recognizing their biggest holiday.

After the pandemic put a damper on dining in last year, Troy's Mon Jin Lau restaurant resurrected a 53-year custom this week.

"When Chinese New Year starts to roll around, we get calls. (People ask) 'Are you guys doing a celebration this year? What's going on?'" Bryan Chin, owner of Mon Jin Lau, said.

In Chinese culture, it's a multi-week celebration that typically starts at the end of January or early February. This year is the Year of the Tiger, a Chinese zodiac sign.

Chin, a third generation owner of Mon Jin Lau, along with his brother Brandon, says his family's celebrated the holiday since opening their doors in 1969.

"When I was a little kid, I remember following my parents and my dad around for the Chinese New Year. It was a big thing in the family," he recalled. "We get excited about the music and the lion running through."

"Firecrackers and magicians and fortune tellers," he continued.

Anthony Hoang, founding member of the Detroit Lion Dance Association said, "Our biggest celebration is during the Chinese New Year."

He said the lion dance is a thousand-year tradition that's synonymous with celebrating the Chinese New Year.

This past Sunday, his group performed at Mon Jin Lau.

"We go and we bless businesses. We bless birthdays. We bless weddings," Hoang explained. "We're trying to ward away the evil spirits. With the music, the drums, the lion, we scare away the evil spirits and any bad omens."

In turn, Hoang said it brings clients and customers many years of prosperity and good fortune.

"We're just trying to spread as much culture to the public as possible," he said.

Both gentleman say another one of their goals is to pass the heritage down to their children.

"We're just looking to keep the tradition going. It's what we do," Chin said.