Watch CBS News

Jun brings Szechuan cooking to Minneapolis

Jun brings authentic Szechuan cooking to Minneapolis
Jun brings authentic Szechuan cooking to Minneapolis 05:21

MINNEAPOLIS — After learning to cook Szechuan style in New York, Jessie Wong really wanted her own restaurant. 

"I grew up in China. When I was little, I helped my parents cook dumplings. I made Shandong style dumplings," said Jessie Wong, owner of Jun. "I worked with my parents then I went to New York for a couple of years and worked with a chef from Chengdu practicing Szechuan. After I tried Szechuan food I fell in love, I really wanted my own restaurant."  

Immigrating in 2001, she found life in America a little tough. 

"I came here for one year, and was really struggling [as a] single mother you know," said Wong. "So I wanted [to go] back to China at that time." 

Jessie Wong WCCO

But with her son in school and her work here, she realized that she needed to stay. 

She opened her first restaurant, Szechuan, in Roseville. She says it was stressful at the time, she had a young son whom she had to carry around on her back and often worked until 1 a.m. 

"I'm a single mother. My son was only 1 years old. I carried him around on my back," Wong said.

But she also had a lot of help from her older son who was 18 at the time. 

Wong says that Szechuan often got customers from Minneapolis' North Loop, and they often asked her to open a restaurant in Minneapolis. So she did. 


Jun opened on Washington Avenue in 2017. Wong's inspiration behind the restaurant name ties back to her heritage. 

"Jun is my Chinese name," she said. "In Chinese it means 'king.' Yeah, I want this one, like this one going to be like my own name. This is my long life, you know? This is my dream restaurant. I would like to put my personal name on there." 

Wong says Jun is more like Szechuan fusion — though the restaurant has a lot of authentic dishes. 


"Jun is [a] fusion restaurant. One hundred percent Szechuan food, not everybody likes it, so we have to compromise. For example, Szechuan chong qing spicy chicken," she said.

The biggest thing? She cut down on the number of peppercorns used in some recipes. Wong also created many of the sauces herself.


"I just created [them]. Like the Szechuan dumpling sauce and the dan dan noodle sauce, I created," Wong said.

Wong says that she's proud of what she's accomplished.

"Yes of course I'm happy. I'm proud, proud of what I did. Since I couldn't speak English, you know, 20 years ago, I'm proud of what I did. I never give up," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.