A tasty dish with an Asian twist — cashew chicken — has reigned in Springfield since 1963 when Leong's Tea House opened its doors and owner David Leong struggled to gain acceptance for the foods of his homeland in China.

Thus began his quest for a dish that would appease local residents' taste buds.

The result—fried chicken chunks covered with Chinese oyster sauce, cashews and chopped green onion—was an immediate hit with the local crowd. Soon, versions of “Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken” appeared on menus coast to coast and even around the world.

Though Leong's Tea House closed in 1997, Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken’s legacy remains a unique part of Springfield’s past and present.

 

Cashew chicken at Leong's Asian Diner in Springfield, Missouri.

Cashew chicken, cooked the way David Leong intended, is still available at Leong’s Asian Diner, a restaurant opened by David Leong’s family in 2010.

Chef Wing Yee Leong, David Leong’s son, and other family members involved in the business, pride themselves on continuing the tradition of David Leong. Besides cashew chicken, a full menu includes “David’s Famous Handmade Egg Rolls,” still made the way David Leong did throughout his career as one of the most well-known restaurateurs in Springfield.

 

Mango Upside-Down Cake at Leong's Asian Diner in Springfield, Missouri.

Here’s an insider tip: try the Mango Upside-Down Cake with mango sorbet. It’s a luscious blend of warm and cold, sweet and tart and the perfect end to a meal.

Sink your teeth into Springfield-style cashew chicken.