Excellent Food From Our Family to Yours

Justin, Alex, Tin Tat and Ben Kwan toasting Mr. Kwan’s mother’s 80th birthday in Zhuhai, China -- August 2007

Justin, Alex, Tin Tat and Ben Kwan toasting Mr. Kwan’s mother’s 80th birthday in Zhuhai, China -- August 2007

You won’t find Tin Tat Kwan sliding around a wet kitchen floor on four-inch high wooden sandals in the back of Red Moon, but that’s how he describes one of his first restaurant experiences.

Kwan began his restaurant career at the age of 17 in Hong Kong after escaping (ask him to tell you that story!) the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. With the proverbial and literal “nothing but the clothes on his back,” he began his life’s work.

“I chose to work in a restaurant because only the restaurants [in Hong Kong] provided cooks with a place to sleep,” Kwan said.

With no formal education in cooking — and after being denied schooling after the third grade during the Cultural Revolution — Kwan had to pick up on the art of Cantonese cooking on his own. Dedicated, non-stop work allowed him to practice what he says eventually became a talent and not simply a job.

“Over there, if you were lazy, people didn’t teach you anything,” he said.

Hong Kong kitchens were dynamic environments where you not only learned a lot by watching and trying, Kwan said, but also because there were always ten people out on the street waiting for your job.

Kwan worked at about four different restaurants in Kowloon and Hong Kong for almost five years before coming to the United States — and becoming a Minnesotan through and through.

Tin Tat Kwan serving up a plate of appetizers at Kwan's Chinese Cuisine on 54th and Penn Avenue in Minneapolis  - probably sometime in the 1980s.  He and his wife Jennifer sold Kwan's in 1995.

Tin Tat Kwan serving up a plate of appetizers at his first restaurant in south Minneapolis in 1982.

He arrived in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in 1976. The wide-eyed 22-year-old got his start in a place so many other young Minnesotans do: Dinkytown. Kwan supplied many U of M students with late-night Chinese during his first U.S. job at the legendary Village Wok. During the next six years, he worked in Mankato, Stillwater, Fargo, N.D. and Bloomington.

In 1982, Tat opened his first restaurant at 54th Street and Penn Avenue in Minneapolis.

In January 1996, the family sold their first restaurant and introduced Eden Prairie to the best Chinese American food in the state.  Mr. Kwan hopes you love everything you ever eat at Red Moon. It’s cooked with nearly 40 years of experience — you won’t find Chinese-American food this good anywhere else!

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