The Lantern Chinese Restaurant & Take Away was established through a chance encounter in 1985 in Kites Chinese Restaurant, Ballsbridge Dublin, when a Ballina business couple who regularly dined in Kites offered and invited Head Chef, Sunny Ho to open Ballina’s first Chinese restaurant.
Sunny & his wife Loretta travelled to Ballina and instantly fell in love with the town and saw the potential it had for a Chinese Restaurant.
A few months later, The Lantern Chinese Restaurant & Take Away opened for business by the River Moy, where the old Murphy’s / Longnecks nightclub now stands.
Locals got their first ever taste of Chinese cuisine and they couldn’t get enough of it!
Chicken Dry Hot & Spicy
Fast forward 30 years, and the restaurant & take away is still thriving.
Sunny and Loretta raised their two children in the town and have become very much part of the local community.
While everyone in Ballina has tasted or heard of The Lantern’s Signature Chicken Dry, Hot & Spicy dish, few know of its origins and how it arrived here.
The Chicken Dry Hot & Spicy recipe is the creation of Sunny, and it was by sheer chance and coincidence that it was eventually offered as a dish to customers.
The Taste of Ballina
Traditionally each day before opening of the restaurant, Sunny would cook a big meal for all the staff to enjoy and it was during this meal that a delivery driver dropping off goods in the restaurant was attracted by the aroma of the staff meal.
The driver asked Sunny for a taste, and obligingly Sunny packed some of the meal he had made and gave it to the delivery driver.
The very next day the same delivery driver returned and asked for the same dish again as it was so delicious and flavoursome. Sunny obliged again and cooked him the dish and as each day passed, word spread and more and more customers came looking for this popular dish. This dish as we know now as Chicken Dry Hot & Spicy!
The secret and famed recipe has since been passed by on by Sunny to his son Jackie who has taken over the running of the business. In the new restaurant, the views of the River Moy & St. Muredach’s Cathedral are breathtaking, and the minimalist yet attractive internal decor with subtle hints of Chinese & Asian influences perfectly compliments the stunning view and great food.
The layout of the restaurant is spacious and airy with plenty of natural light throughout with comfortable sofa seating in both corners which are ideal for private parties and special occasions.