Being the minority in a Chinese restaurant…

A few weeks ago, VivienAvenue won 2 tickets to see the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean at the UBC Arts Last Lecture. As the former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada as well as the current UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, I was very surprised when hardly anyone I talked to knew who she was. I was originally very interested to attend the Arts Last Lecture to hear her speak, but was put off by the highly priced tickets. Two days before the lecture, VivienAvenue generously asked if I wanted to be her plus-one. Here’s just another “thank you” to you, Viv!

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VivienAvenue had  a meeting after classes that day, but we decided to go eat together, along with LCP and XLB, after her meeting since we still had some time to kill before the event started. LCP is Filipino, and has shockingly never had Chinese dumplings before! VivienAvenue and I made it our mission to go to a Chinese restaurant so that he could try some delicious dumplings. However, as most of the good Chinese restaurants that we knew of were located in Richmond, we had to pick a Chinese restaurant in down town so that we could make it back to campus on time. We finally decided on Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House due to its proximity and good ratings on Urbanspoon.

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VivienAvenue, I, XLB, and LCP =]

We were thankful that LCP drove us to the restaurant since it was raining really hard that day. Upon being seated in the restaurant, we realized one thing… the entire restaurant was filled with Caucasians and non-Asians! I’m not trying to be racist or discriminate others, but how often do you find Chinese or even Asians as the minority in a Chinese restaurant? We were all getting a kick out of this, but also realized that the Chinese food here might not be the most authentic due to their location as the main clientèle were Westerners and the food would most likely cater best to Westerners.

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They were unfortunately out of dumplings at the moment, so we just ordered the xiaolongbaos to hopefully satisfy LCP for the time being. We received the xiaolongbaos ($4.99) first. These were alright, not the best by far, just average. The skin was dry on the outside and tore very easily. The art of getting the thinnest skin whilst not breaking is a hard skill for any chef to master. The soup inside wasn’t as hot as I’d like it to be either. Despite the critique, it was still a good comforting dish, although I may be biased since I love xiaolongbaos, even the frozen kind where you just steam them at home by yourself =P

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Next up is the beef sesame cake ($4.99). My mother had bought these once for me, and they’d tasted dry, cold, and greasy in general. However, these ones were completely different. The pastry part was crispy and flakey, while the inside beef filling was hot, moist, and full of flavours. These were pretty delicious.

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 We also got the beef with green onion ($13.99), which came piping hot in a big pot. I personally love green onions, so I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The beef was extremely tender (probably due to lots of starch) and the sauce was a great pairing. However, this dish was quite oily, which is my only complaint.

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For the Shanghai style rice cake ($9.99), I would say once again it was quite average. The rice cakes are nice and carby, so we ordered this basically as a filler dish. The sauce went very well with everything, but once again, the dish was way too oily.

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Last but not least is the house special fried rice ($10.99). XLB was still not completely full at this point, so we ordered this dish hoping everyone would be full. The fried rice was again average, but overly oily.

In the end, we all left with full and satisfied tummies with the 5 dishes that we ordered. The service was quite nice and friendly, but I expected it to be so, due to the Westerner clientèle. These dishes weren’t the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten, but they weren’t the worse as well. Expect westernised Chinese food, but definitely better than the fast food kinds like Manchu Wok. Overall, the food here was satisfying, but average and oily. Being with great company definitely enhanced my experience here though. Read VivienAvenue’s post on the same meal here.

Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House 林餐館 on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

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