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My tour of the underground — underground Chinese restaurants, that is

October 10th, 2017 · 3 Comments

One of the great pleasures of my life is connecting with a wide variety of students as a journalism teacher at the University of B.C. and Langara College.

International students, in particular, bring a different eye and an ability to connect with communities here that many of locals aren’t always capable of.

My students at UBC have come up with a number of interesting stories over the years that have opened my eyes to lives in sub-communities of Vancouver that I have known little about.

One story that one of my students came to me with last year was about underground Chinese restaurants. She had discovered that many of her fellow international students from China were getting their home-cooking fix from impromptu take-out restaurants around the city. The operation she patronized was being run by a couple of Chinese parents who were visiting their daughter, a student, long-term and who had decided to keep themselves busy by turning her kitchen into a take-out operation.

Yes, I know, illegal. Unlicenced. Just like the underground restaurant I used to go to in a bungalow off Commercial Drive, where an aspiring young chef served eight-course meals to select groups of foodies.

Anyway, my former student, Si Chen, tracked down information for me on how many of these there were in the region, what kinds of food, and how to get in touch. And, since my Mandarin is limited to counting to 10 and a few stray words like “central” and “people,” she ordered for me from one particular operation, whose mother/daughter team I got to meet.

Here is my little story that appeared recently in Vancouver magazine about my foray into this little-known (to us white people, anyway) world.



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