Longtime King Wok owners retiring

Colin MacLean
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Josephine and Cheuck Ma laugh about their imminent retirement from their restaurant, King Wok, in Summerside.

Ma family sells downtown restaurant after nearly 30 years in the business

After nearly 30, years Cheuck and Josephine Ma are hanging up their pots and pans.

The Ma's have sold the King Wok Family Restaurant on Water Street in Summerside and will shortly begin their retirement.

But remain calm people of Summerside!

The sacred eggroll recipe will remain secure.

They've sold to Josephine's brother, Chi Ping, with whom they've entrusted their secrets.

So crisis averted for local food lovers.

And a well deserved rest for the Ma's

"When I retire I don't want to think about the job. Give me rest, rest rest. Later I plan something," laughed Cheuck, during a recent interview.

"If I tell you I don't miss my restaurant - it's a lie. But I don't want to go to work anymore. It's too hard. Let the young people do it."

"My brother's still young, and he knows how to run the business, so I think it's good for him to take over. He knows my style," added Josephine.

It's been a long journey for the Ma's.

They arrived in Canada from Hong Kong, where Cheuck was originally a carpenter, about 26 years ago.

They decided to come and join family that had already made the move to P.E.I. following the passing of Cheuck's parents.

Josephine said they arrived one day and her husband was in the King Wok kitchen the next.

At first, she stayed home to look after their two children. She learned English by practicing with friends and family, watching TV and listening to the radio.

Cheuck learned English while memorizing the English names for the menu items. He had one of the waitresses record herself pronouncing each one, so he'd recognize them when an order came in.

He'd listen to the recording every night before bed, she said.

"Sometimes in his sleep, he's still talking about the menu," she chuckled.

The couple eventually bought the restaurant from the previous owner, Simon Ma, and continued to build its reputation.

They said it will be difficult to leave their long-time customers and staff, who have been very supportive, but their health and well-being demand that they start to slow down.

In all the years he's worked in the kitchen, Cheuck has worked 14 hours nearly every single day, almost every day of the week. Since she started hosting the restaurant, Josephine has done the same.

They now want to take a bit of time to themselves to plan their next move.

"I'd like to travel. In Canada, everywhere is beautiful. I want to travel, go somewhere - lay down," said Cheuck.


Organizations: King Wok Family Restaurant

Geographic location: Summerside, Water Street, Canada Hong Kong P.E.I.

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