Ten Fu restaurant closes in Menlo Park


By Jane Knoerle

Almanac Lifestyles Editor

Ten Fu Chinese Restaurant in Menlo Park has been sold to Fey Enterprise LLC of San Mateo. Its owners, Ruth and John Wang, are retiring after 28 years in business at 1352 El Camino Real.

The restaurant closed Sept. 29. After extensive remodeling, it will re-open as a Chinese restaurant around Christmas, according to the Wang's son, Joseph.

With Ruth as hostess and John as chef, the Wangs attracted a loyal clientele. Ten Fu (means heavenly blessings) was the kind of place where they recognized you and remembered what table you preferred.

Their menu featured at least 15 chicken dishes and 19 beef dishes, but the most popular dish was honey walnut prawns, a combination of prawns, mayonnaise, honey and glazed walnuts, which tastes much better than it sounds. Ten Fu chicken -- crispy chicken in a hot and spicy garlic sauce -- was another favorite.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Wang demonstrated how to make hand-pulled noodles to the children at Laurel and Encinal schools. He even let the kids try their hand at stretching the rope of dough into noodles, a technique he learned at culinary school in Taiwan. He also brought along generous helpings of chow mein, so they could sample the finished product.

Ruth and John Wang moved here from Taiwan in 1980. Ruth was born in Korea; John was born in China. They have raised their two sons, Joseph and Timothy in Menlo Park, while running the restaurant. There are now three grandchildren.

A year-and-a-half ago, John suffered a heart attack. He has made a complete recovery, but it caused the couple to think about how they wanted to spend the rest of their life and they are taking it in a new direction.

A deeply religious man, John is a member of the Forerunner Christian Church in Fremont. Next year he will travel to China to do missionary work and Ruth will be going with him.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy S
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for a lovely story about a neat couple. Wish my kids had had the chance to play with the noodles!

Like this comment
Posted by Sybille Katz
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I had been going there for almost 20 years. John did a noodle making demo for us for Menlo Park Lyceum once and then we got a heaping sample of his fabulous chicken chow mein. I was hooked and so was my family.

We miss them! Wanted to go there for dinner a few nights ago and they were closed. Very unusual but now we know why.

Best wishes for John and Ruth in their retirement and a million thanks for many, many wonderful meals at their restaurant! Also a huge thank you to all their staff for their kindness always.

Like this comment
Posted by best wishes
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Best wishes to the restaurant owners. I'm glad that they could retire on their own terms, not like the many Palo Alto restaurant owners that are being forced out of business by landlords that want to upgraded their tenants.

Like this comment
Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

The TENFU was a favorite of ours and we ate there often over the years.

Our son Frank, was in the same school class as their son Tim. I don't know how many times Tim would have Frank come with him after school to the Restaurant for an after school snack, which John Wang would prepare.

We will miss them very much.

Morris and Denise Brown

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Bigelow
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thanks so much for doing a story on Ruth and John. Our Menlo Park Host Lions Club has met there for years in the back room and they have always prepared different dishes for our Club dinner meetings and the food and service was fantastic. Ruth was always coming back to see how we were doing and saying hello to those in attendance. It was a pleasure to see their children helping out and involved. This was not only a meeting place for our Club but we had Multi-Club Lions meetings over the years. Palo Alto Host Lions, Menlo Park Live Oak Lions, Atherton Lions, Redwood City Sunrise Lions to name a few. We all enjoyed the great food and had our last dinner meeting September 19th and recognized Ruth and John at the end of our dinner. We were very lucky to have them so long at TenFu!

Jim Bigelow, Menlo Park Host Lions Club Secretary/Treasurer

Like this comment
Posted by Leslie Field
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thanks for this article telling us more about our family's very favorite restaurant. Our kids have enjoyed our family dinners at Ten Fu their entire lives, and we always felt a special welcome. We tried to take my parents there on their recent visit, as Ten Fu made the finest egg foo young they'd ever had - but alas, it was the time of the final packing up of the restaurant, so all we could do was say a fond goodbye. Great memories, and we send all good wishes to Ruth and John in their next adventure!

Like this comment
Posted by Clay
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thanks for all you did for our schools and kids...

Like this comment
Posted by James Goodell
a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

In the 1960s I remember eating regularly at The Chinese Inn (Chinese & American food), which was run by the gracious Chin family and occupied one half of Ten Fu's space, with Swensen's Ice Cream operating out of the other half. It was popular with Menlo College students before the campus improved its food service in the late 90s. Even as a student, Richard Tang always wore a suit and tie and would go into the kitchen to explain to the cooks in Chinese exactly how he wanted his lunch prepared.

Like this comment
Posted by Suzanne Paley
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

We have been eating at Ten Fu for almost 10 years -- it was our favorite Chinese restaurant and we will miss it sorely. My 10yo son was hoping to celebrate his birthday there this weekend, but I guess we are too late. My best wishes to the proprietors...

Like this comment
Posted by The McQueens
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

We still miss you, Ten Fu!!! Still trying to find a replacement!! Tenfu was special to us. We hope you are enjoying your new life.

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