SPONSORED CONTENT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LAM FAMILY The winning combination of quality food, warm hospitality and giving back to their community is what keeps customers coming back to Leong’s 21 in Chesterfield Township. Leong’s 21 committed to quality food, strong sense of community for 22 years By Jane Peterson For MediaNews Group A restaurant doesn’t mark its 22nd anniversary without doing something right. For the Lam family and their popular Chinese eatery, that “something” is a successful combination of quality food, warm hospitality and giving back to the community it serves. “We’re very proud of what we’ve built here,” said Ling Ling Lam, matriarch of the family who continues to visit the restaurant frequently during her retirement. “We’ve been able to watch families grow and then bring their little children back to visit and eat.” Lam loves to provide guests with an excellent dining experience. She is grateful for the support the restaurant has received during the pandemic, acknowledging that while it has been a challenging year filled with many changes for the restaurant industry in general, being a regional destination with many loyal, longtime customers helped Leong’s 21 weather the challenges. “We thank everyone for their kind words and support,” she said. Longtime customers know that they can count on Leong’s 21 for delicious combination platters with authentic flavors as well as fast, friendly service. Most can’t get enough of their favorite Chinese food and throughout the COVID-19 health crisis have continued to order using the restaurant’s convenient carryout option featuring fresh, hot food made to order. They aren’t alone, and as a result, the Chesterfield Township restaurant has earned a number of accolades and awards over the years. Lam points to being recognized for “Best Chinese Food” in Macomb County in the Macomb Daily and Voice Newspapers’ Best of the Best contest and several first place honors in the Best Chinese category in Channel 4’s ClickOnDetroit annual contest. Leong’s 21 was also named one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the United States and Canada by Asian Restaurant News. Clearly, its customers love Leong’s 21 and the Lams return that affection by giving back to Macomb County communities. For many years, the restaurant has provided scholarships for high school students and donated food for Taste Fests at L’Anse Creuse and Anchor Bay high schools. When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in the spring of 2020 and medical departments were short on personal protection equipment (PPE), Leong’s 21 donated masks to help. As the Lam family has helped students pursue their future goals, they continue to preserve their family’s traditions. Their Cantonese, Szechuan and Thai recipes have been passed down from one generation to the next and for good reason. Her husband’s family recipe for almond chicken, for example, is a popular choice because the special type of flour used makes the batter on the boneless chicken extra light and crispy and never oily. It is served with just the right amount of brown gravy, topped with a layer of slivered almonds and garnished with green onions. Fresh ingredients are a given. Nothing, she said, is prepared in bulk and frozen just to be reheated later. Nothing gets cooked or fried until it is ready to be served to a customer. Many staff members have been with Leong’s 21 for many years and Lam said they are like family. Cooks prepare each meal with care while servers are familiar with all aspects of the menu and are always happy to make recommendations if guests aren’t sure what to choose. Customers can choose from more than 20 combination dinners, including favorites like chicken subgum, spicy Szechuan shrimp, pepper steak and spicy cashew pork. Many crave the General Tao Chicken in a pleasant, spicy Szechuan sauce and the juicy Sweet and Sour Chicken, said Lam, adding that Leong’s 21 is also known for its hot and sour soup, wonton soup and fried rice as well as its generous portions and affordable pricing. Leong’s 21 Original Chinese Restaurant is located at 46590 Gratiot Avenue in Chesterfield. Hours are 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily. For more information, visit Leong21.com or call (586) 949-3060 to place a take-out order.