is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Sun Wah Chinese Barbecue Wins Beard Award

Share on:
Sun Wah Chinese Barbecue Wins Beard Award

Sun Wah BBQ has been an Uptown Chicago destination since 1987 and in January 2018 it was named an American Classic by The James Beard Foundation. Sun Wah, which means New China, is very much a family venture. Founder and owner Eric Cheng is second from the left. To his left is his niece, Carol Mak, and to his right is his eldest daughter Kelly, and third child, Michael. Not shown is Mr. Cheng’s wife Lynda, and his youngest child, Laura, a culinary school graduate. Another sister, Cindy, is not involved in the restaurant, but her infant daughter is already a foodie. At age one, she refuses to eat anything that isn’t flavorful.
Eric Cheng learned Chinese barbecue in Guangdong Province in Southern China, home of Cantonese cuisine. He fled Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China in 1972 by swimming eight hours to Hong Kong where he apprenticed and became a Barbecue Master. He met his wife Lynda in Hong Kong, and they married and moved to New York in 1976. There, he worked for a restaurant and before long he opened the first Sun Wah on Mulberry St. in 1983. He quickly tired of the pace and people in NY and moved to Chicago in 1986.
Kelly, Laura, and Mike are taking on more and more responsibility as their father plans his retirement. “He thinks he will travel a lot,” Kelly chuckles. “We don’t think so.” Kelly is taking over much of the management, including a move to a new, larger location a few blocks away. Among the changes, they are planning a prix fix menu. Laura works in the kitchen, focusing on modernizing the menu. Mike also works in the kitchen, and the family owns Sun Hing Food, a manufacturer of tofu, soy milk, and bean sprouts, which they use in Sun Wah.
Located at 5039 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL. Phone 773-769-1254.

Related articles

Published On: 1/22/2018 Last Modified: 6/23/2024

Share on:
  • Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", and is a BBQ Hall Of Fame inductee.


High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.



Click to comment or ask a question...


These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.