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BRIEF: Red Ginger Asian Cuisine opens in New Peking’s 37-year-old location

‘[We would] love to carry on the tradition and serve our neighborhood, make good food and make friends,’ new owners said

A closeup of Red Ginger Asian Cuisine’s new sign. The new restaurant is now at full launch, serving customers Monday-Saturday. // Photo by Connor O’Boyle

Guest submission by Connor O'Boyle. He previously served as a photo editor for The Front.

On Bellingham’s bustling East Maple Street, a new restaurant, Red Ginger Asian Cuisine, is taking over the location of the recently retired Chinese restaurant New Peking. 

The new owners, April Ma and Kevin He, said that they want to make an atmosphere and cuisine at Red Ginger that continues the legacy of its 37-year-running predecessors, Sam and Jessica Chang, who offered them the location upon their retirement in late March.

Ma and He began their work in the restaurant business in 2012 with Ocean Bay Chinese Restaurant in Blaine. Unfortunately, their landlord refused to renew their lease during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the restaurant’s closure.

It was not long after this hardship that they were offered New Peking’s location. This was made possible due to their friendship with the Changs, as well as their reputation for outstanding culinary work in Whatcom County. 

“They don’t want to see this place just closed; [there are] lots of memories at this place,” Ma said. “Me and Kevin [would] love to carry on the tradition and serve our neighborhood, make good food and make friends.”

Ma fell in love with the restaurant business at the same time she fell in love with her husband, He, who had been working in the busy heat of a kitchen since he was a child. 

“My whole family owned a restaurant,” He said, recalling his inspiration for becoming a restaurant owner and chef. 

Taking after his mother’s perfectionism in the kitchen, He decided to open his own restaurant with Ma in 2012. Ocean Bay Chinese Restaurant offered the people of Blaine, as well as those passing by, eight years of flavorful cuisine and customer-first service. 

“His mother was a great cook. She never made a bad dish, never. It was part of what made me want to marry him,” Ma said with a chuckle. 

His dishes are not only made with daily-prepared fresh ingredients, but his sense of composition makes the aesthetics of the cuisine something to admire as well.

The passionate and warm personalities of the married cooks are what make Red Ginger not just a place to eat, but a place to get to know two hard-working restaurateurs of Whatcom County as they recover from losing their first business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Red Ginger is at 1208 E. Maple St. The restaurant’s phone number is 360-306-8629 and their menu is available on their website

Red Ginger is transitioning from a soft opening state to a hard launch and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m.

“We are a family business. We are like your neighbor, so come in and [meet] us,” He said.

Connor O'Boyle

Connor O'Boyle is a senior majoring in English literature. He plans to become either a paraeducator or a documentary filmmaker following graduation. In his free time he loves to work at camps, watch horrible movies, and write songs on his beat-up acoustic guitar. 

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