The Chow Chow Cup Circa 1960 N.Y.C.


The Charms – Ling Ting Tong (1954)




231390_chowchowCirca 1960 N.Y.C. My cousin had a fleet of Chow Chow cup trucks in which he sold Chinese food off of . not pints and quarts. but in an edible bowl ,containing Chow mein, egg rolls etc. The buisness faded with the perliferation of Chineese take outs in the 1960’s.I think in todays market it can fly once more, he owned the Chow chow cup outright built up routes and sold them in the metropolitan N.Y. and near upstate area of N.Y., .End


80 comments on “The Chow Chow Cup Circa 1960 N.Y.C.

  1. Donna says:

    How did the Chow Mein get placed in the chow chow cup? Was it spooned in or was it dispensed from a machine ? Need to settle a bet.

  2. Wendy says:

    Don – is there any way or is there anyone who might have a recipe for the noodle cup itself? A friend who grew up in Queens was talking about the “Tucky Cup” at lunch today and I would love to make a few for she and her husband as a surprise. I’ve looked all over the Internet and no recipe can be found! Thanks!

    • Jason Michaels says:

      Wendy- If you haven’t found that noodle cup recipe, it’s basically a wonton dough recipe, as in fried wontons. Food trucks are making a huge comeback with new food channel exposure and an economy that is ready for it once again. I was thinking of inquiring just how I could get info on the original Chow Chow Cup. They were great and very inexpensive, about fifty cents, as I remember, back in the day!

  3. adam nash says:

    Was your cousin by any chance Alan Nussbaum?

  4. warren ganz says:

    I remember these Chow Chow Cup trucks coming to Ganz Bungalows in Divine Corners, N.Y. in the early 60’s.

  5. Alan Helkin says:

    They also came up to Holiday Park in Woodborne. So did Ruby the knish man.

    • warren ganz says:

      Yes, Alan.
      I remember Ruby very well with his old black 50’s Plymouth with the knish heated unit in the trunk of the car. He removed top of the trunk and it was a tall chrome heated unit he had mounted in the trunk with slide out shelves in it for the knishes. He used to have his knish bakery next to my grandfathers building in Hurleyville..I remember them at 15 cents each.
      Warren in Miami, Fl.

  6. Jack Stern says:

    They had great french fries. But the best thing they had was a hot dog wrapped in an eggroll wrapper and deep fried. So bad for you but so delicious.

  7. ilenebaranowitz says:

    I have been searching the web for a recipe for the chow chow cup – I loved them! I remember the first time I found one in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I grew up. I was walking down one street and heard this “haunting” Chinese music and couldn’t wait to get to the next street to find the truck. Bought them whenever I could. Would love the recipe for the chow mein they had inside them – I have one of those pie makers by Emeril and would love to recreate something similar in it! Any ideas? outside of NY you can’t find good chow mein like they had in the chow chow cups!!!

  8. Jesse says:

    I remember the chow-chow cup truck waiting for us kids,outside of DeWitt Clinton H.S. In the north Bronx. I would always order a chow mein cup and a chinese hot dog.Boy do I miss the trucks,that served us this great food and such memories.

  9. Jo Beth says:

    It was owned by my Uncle Alan Nussbaum. He later went into the fish business and became quite wealthy. He died young, but he was a funny, smart, handsome man. He also sold french fries in a cone shaped paper cup which were delicious.

  10. For the family of Alan Nussbaum to clear up who I;am I am the grandson of Jenny & Harry Lerman

    • Ethan Sherman says:

      Hi George, That was me. After my Chow Chow days my air force unit was activated for almost two years because of the Pueblo incident. I then worked in the family home improvement business until I retired several years ago. I was sorry to read about Alan’s death. He was a very nice guy. I remember trying to roll an egg roll in his place but could not get it to come out right.

  11. Steve says:

    Grew up on Chow Chow Cup in Brooklyn (Flatlands)….Loved the fried rice, egg rolls, and the edible bowls…………..

  12. Dan says:

    I used to get them from a storefront restaurant where my cousins lived in Far Rockaway

  13. Lisa in Westchester says:

    There was a Chow Chow Cup on Jamaica Ave. in Queens, right near Mays Dept. Store in the mid-60s.

  14. mike says:

    the fries were to do die for (and I guess if I kept eating them I would have) they were greasy and loaded with things we try not to eat today, but back then anything went and I am glad they did.

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  23. Dara says:

    I remember the chow Chow cup truck. We lived in Rosedale-Springfield Gardens, NY. I remember the chow mein on a hamburger bun. It was one of the few things my mom let us buy from a truck! We loved it. To me, it tasted like La Choy chow mein, but it was so good! Nathan’s years ago used to sell something similiar like Chow Chow did on a hamburger bun. I have such fond memories. Wish we had the knish guy. We had a guy we called the candy man. He had a little cart he used to push through the streets of my neighborhood 229th st & Edgewood Ave. He’d ring bells to let us know he was there. Any one remember him?

    • mike says:

      chow chow cup used to come threw my area (Oakland gardens) up until the early 70s. maybe until ’74. then he all but disappeared. of course the fries were the big hit. it was a very unique and forward thinking for the time idea.

    • Fred Ost says:

      Dara, thanks for reminding me that one could get chow mein on a hamburger bun from the Chow Chow Cup. Up until now all I had recalled about the Chow Chow Cup (around Kings Highway near E. 16 St. in Brooklyn) was that one could get chow mein in their deep-fried cup (similar to egg-roll shell but much crunchier than an egg roll).

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  25. We had Chow Chow Cup at Vacationland bungalows in Woodridge, NY and the knish man.

  26. Big Sarge says:

    I remember the Chow chow cup truck over at Queensboro community in Bayside. and of course George. He was always very accommodating. I think i might have been a rare one- sometimes When I was a little short and had late classes, tired from my part time job and looking for a parking space-Ha-; George would let me slide til the next day so I would pay him off the balance. I ate there just about everyday -I had classes along with my friends,and family who attended QCC, He was good to us and we were honest with him. I was sorry leaving QCC–no more Chow Chow Cup truck to get eats from!—Thanks George! I was able to stay awake for classes with your food, get a good education ,a good job and retire. Ha oh yes 2014– HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS ONE TO ALL!–BRING BACK THE CHOW CHOW CUP TRUCKS for the new gerenations-

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  36. Besokool says:

    I was born in 1962 and lived in Bayside, Queens from 1965 till the present day. When I was a little boy, my Mom would give me money to buy food from Chow Chow Cup, and Good Humor for desert. They would park together in front Of P.S. 205 on Bell Blvd./ 75th Ave. in Bayside. I loved it so much. I am so very sorry to be getting old.

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    • My father in law (Jerry Fishman) was one of the 3 founding partners of chow chow cup. He still talks about it, which my adult children find very intriguing given the current food truck craze. According to my Mother in law, the recipe was developed in her kitchen in Carnasie!

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  39. Steve from Crown Heights says:

    My dear friend – James Grashow – an incredible artist from Prospect Heights – Erasmus H.S. grad – did the graphics / logo and font design for the Chow Chow Cup truck. Readily admits that the figures depicted would no longer be considered politically correct. The menu, it seems, would also not stand the test of time.
    The trucks are gone, but fortunately – Jimmy Grashow is still performing wonders in the worlds of art and philosophy!

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  42. Bill says:

    Hoover Park, Briarwood, NY,(across from Archbishop Molloy High School) had to be in the mid 70’s, had the best Fries, hot and greasy

  43. SFloridian says:

    Was the chow mein made fresh daily or was it pre-made and frozen? Just wondering how we were able to get it both in Flushing (1962) and in our bungalow colony in the Catskills. It had loads of gooey sauce and very sweet onions and celery… I remember I envied a kindergarten friend who had the $ to buy the french fries every day before the lunch break ended (most of us walked home from school for lunch) I can still smell them. What did they use to cook them? Lard? it was definitely a unique and salty taste! Can’t believe It was not started by a Chinese family although Chow Mein is not a typical Chinese dish- more Americanized.

    • it was premade at a kitchen warhouse and given to the francisees ,Idon’t know the oil blend the french frier had ,but all resturants in that time had thire own blend or additive to the wa stared by a Jewish man , a cousin of mine .thank you..Don Lerman

      • SFloridian says:

        Thanks for the reply! A little late getting back here! Mother thing I remember is the white rice at the bottom of the wonton. I would eat the chow mein with a white plastic fork or maybe it was a spoon ork ombination ( if they even had that in those days) , and then eat the white rice that was stick to the wonton ( still had some sauce! )Can you tell us how this idea began?

      • it was attime that in nyc ice cram trucks would drive down neighborhodstrta as well as steak truckss ,it waa a brilantidea for thtime,howver the poliferation chines taskeoue took a ool on them

      • SFloridian says:

        Sorry for iPad typos!! Another thing…spoon/ fork combo…

      • SFloridian says:

        Also, how many trucks were there in a given day in queens around 1965?

      • to be honest I don’t know.

      • SFloridian says:

        How much did it cost to buy a franchise and what kind of income did the franchisers make? Was it very profitable or the inventors?

  44. Emily Tonnesen says:

    This is so weird. Last night, out of the blue, I had a dream about chow chow cup! When I was a kid, the Chow Chow Cup truck used to come to Stillman’s Bungalow Colony, in Monticello, N.Y. I used to love to get a chow chow cup….all of us kids would get so excited when we heard the tune, and would run and ask our mother’s for money to get one! This had to be, at the latest 1970. I haven’t thought about it for decades, and all of a sudden, out of the blue, I dreamed about it!! I wonder what that signifies? Maybe I was just really hungry when I went to bed? Lol!
    It was a very delicious dream!

  45. Carole says:

    My mother let me eat the chinese food in a cup as often as I liked because I was a poor eater. We ate it on the boardwalk in Rockaway around Beach 20-23 St until 1955 when we migrated to Spring Valley for the summers. I think it was 5 cents a cup. Sand included 🙂

  46. Albert says:

    Fond memories too. There were definitely storefronts. The two I remember were on Flatbush Ave. near Church Ave. and off Fulton St. and Schemer horn St. in Brooklyn.

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