In the mid 1980s, David was running a successful chain of Chinese restaurants in Saint Louis. But only a decade prior, he was forced to flee his home in Vietnam after the Communist Takeover in the spring of 1975 under threat of his life. In Vietnam, David was a well-known business owner who ran several hotels and restaurants until the Communists threatened to kill him for doing business with Americans. The US troop withdraw signaled that it was time for him to take his family and head to the United States. But this would not be easy. First they had to get out of the country. They were forced into hiding just outside the city for nearly a week until they found a fisherman willing to sell his boat.. for 20 ounces of gold. The plan was to head out to the ocean and hope to be spotted by a US boat in time. After floating aimlessly for 6 days at sea, they were discovered by a US ship and were towed to nearby Malaysia, from where they eventually made their way to the United States.
David and his family arrived in Saint Louis in late 1976. Encouraged by a friend who declared St. Louis an easy place to start a business, he quickly discovered that Chinese food was popular here and soon got a loan to open his first restaurant in the US in 1977. In only 2 years, he managed to open another 4 restaurants and by the 1980s had opened at least 16 restaurants. David was passionate about his work and regularly put in 14 hour days with frequent trips to China in an effort to learn new recipes in order to keep up the quality and authenticity.
With the above information discovered on site, one can guess that old age began to catch up with the proprietor and forced him out of the daily business. This, in conjunction with being situated in a rather isolated spot in a mostly industrial area, seems to have led to the decline of this particular location. It closed in 2013. And yet, after repeated visits, I've noticed that someone still comes by and rearranges the offerings that were carefully placed in front of the corner icon of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of protection. Guan Yu himself, a venerated deity of war, stands at attention near the front doors and seems at any moment ready to defend a once thriving family business.
Before I left, Guan Yu spoke to me, saying that he is afflicted by an ancient curse. He was defeated in battle after his men deserted him in Zhang District and he was executed by Sun Quan's forces in Linju. Sun Quan was a wizard who put the curse of No Flesh on Guan Yu after his death. In order for him to break the curse permanently and regain his human form, he must marry a woman with green eyes. But to satisfy the Sun Quan, he must then sacrifice her. The curse also limits him from traveling outside the boundaries of the restaurant. He threatened to kill me if I would not help him. I told him that I would carry out this task for him and, after having given him my blood oath that I would capture a woman that met this description, I was free to go.
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