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Chop Suey Sandwich - Salem Willows

Did anybody else that grew up in the Beverly/Salem area remember going to Salem Willows in the summer and getting Chop Suey Sandwiches?
Not exactly most "hounds" food of choice...but nostalgic, if anything.

I wonder if these sandwiches are sold anywhere else....its always nice to take a trip down memory lane every once in a while!!

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  1. I'm gonna try one of those this summer.

    1. I'm not sure if they are sold anywhere else, but it's a must for me to have one or four at the Salem Willows every year.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Infomaniac

        Make sure you get it with noodles. They add a great crunch. And make sure to get some popcorn from Hobbs' at the end of the Line. It is far and away the best popcorn in the world.

        1. re: hoohah

          Don't forget the salt water taffy they make right there at Hobb's, and the caramel corn, and their great ice cream! I spend $2.00 on a chop suey sandwich and $12 at Hobbs'. Gotta stock up & bring all those goodies home.

          1. re: hoohah

            I agree about Hobbs popcorn. Some of those flavored popcorns are outstanding.

        2. You might want to head over to the New England board as well - there was an entertaining and informative thread about chop suey sandwiches sometime last year (I thought they were a RI phenomenon!)

          1. I believe there are several places in Fall River that serve them (along with Chow Mein sandwiches).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bostonbob3

              Yeah, that was my bad - I was thinking Chow Mein sandwiches. Rhode Islanders sure are a weird lot! :)

              Thanks for catching that!

            2. Last night, my girlfriend and I went to Salem Willows, mostly to play pinball on their beautifully maintained and restored coin operated games. Here is an edited version of my full trip report.

              I chose to get the sandwiches at Genghis, the original establishment. A few tiny pieces of chicken, but mostly this is just a cheap, fairly unsatisfying sandwich. Although it only costs $1.50.

              Earlier that night, I had bought a small popcorn and a large chocolate flavored popcorn bar from E. W. Hobbs. They cook their cork in an original, 100 year old machine and it was really good.

              While in the Chinese restaurant and after I had finished my sandwich, I realized I should run back to E. W. Hobbs to try to get some homemade ice cream before they closed. It was a drizzly, chilly night and there weren't many patrons, so I imagined everything would be closing early. I went back to the window but it looked like they were closing up. A guy in a pickup truck told me to go to the side door. So I went around and they were still serving ice cream. I got a small frozen pudding cone and a small cookie dough cone. Really nice staff. I brought the cones back to the Chinese restaurant and Misha and I ate them there. The owner or manager of the restaurant came out and talked to us, and after I explained it was my first time there and I wanted to sample all the best stuff, he told me about all the businesses at the Willows. He spoke highly of every neighboring business and told me about peak summer operation. A very nice guy.

              1. Just thought I'd bring up this old post because I just had a CCS with noodles for lunch, and as tacky as it can be Salem Willows is a hoot. Best lunch for under $2. Best popcorn on the planet and breathtaking vistas. Happy Summer everyone.

                1. we go there 1-2 times a yr faithfully
                  and the sandwiches are actually not that great but it is for the nostalgia sometime nostalgia tastes better than real life
                  but...... then we go to the other side of town down 107 almost into lynn to a place called puleos ice cream

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodperv

                    i miss the soy sauce squeeze bottle they used to have on the counter. i'd stick the nozzle in and give a big squeeze creating a soy-pocket that'd seep into the chop suey from within. now they just have the single serving packets.

                    1. re: foodperv

                      How's the place that serves fried clams there?

                    2. Evelyn's in Tiverton Rhode Island has what they call a Chow Mein Sandwich. I'm sure it's the same thing. Topped with crisp noodles.

                      I know this reply should be on the New England board but you did ask here so I answered here.



                      1. Having chop suey sandwich at the salem willows it the best thing ever and you can't go to the willows without getting a couple boxes of popcorn at Hobbs and ice cream! I love it! i go there probably more then I should!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: bdanells

                          Wow - this is bringing back so many memories (although I never had the chop suey sandwich). Use to bring my kids there when they were little tykes - my grandson turns 1 this wkend. Can't wait to take him there, too.

                          I need a Salem Willows visit!

                          1. re: threedogs

                            3dogs--you MUST get a CSS with noodles!!! (and popcorn, of course!!)

                        2. I just read the Fortune Cookie Chronicles. Interesting book, quick read about the history of American Chinese food and restaurants. The author mentions chop suey sandwiches and I believe she did say they started in RI and are basically a southern New England thing.

                          1. YES! See my entry here. About 9th up from the bottom of the page....


                            1. I grew up eating chow mein sandwiches, which were served everywhere: American Chinese restaurants, diners, even my school cafeteria. "Strained" meant just gravy; "unstrained" meant you got vegetables, typically water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts (all from cans, I'm guessing). The crunchy noodles were what made them for me.


                              1. Does anyone know for sure if these chop suey sandwiches are the same as the RI style chow mein sandwiches? My husband grew up in Swansea and loves chow mein sandwiches, but we don't know of anywhere local to get them (and I've never had one so can't make a proper facsimile.)

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                  I think you can do a fair approximation by heating up a can of La Choy chicken or beef chow mein, scooping some onto the bottom half of a supermarket hamburger bun, sprinkling La Choy canned crunchy chow mein noodles on top, and adding the top half of the bun. That's good eatin'!


                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    No accounting for childhood memory food. ;) Though he tells me the sauce was brown. Maybe it's just added soy sauce?

                                    This is sort of getting off topic. I really would rather go to a restaurant than try to make it, and it's a great time of year to head to Salem. Anyone have an address for Salem Willows? I can't seem to find a website. Is it a specific restaurant or stands near the park?

                                        1. re: Joanie

                                          Ah- so it's at the Genghis Salem restaurant?

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I worked in a fast food stand on Revere Beach in the early 60s and that's what we did. Right out of the can.

                                    1. I went there all my life with family loved the Chop Suey Sandwich, I am now 71 and still have great memories there

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ErnieW

                                        we go there once every smmer for them in august
                                        though i make them several times a yr at home

                                      2. Oh yeah! There is nothing like a chop suey sandwich at the Salem Willows. Anywhere else just wouldn't cut it.