Chinese love tasty food and every major, or even small North American city, offers many opportunities to specialties of this ancient gastronomy.
When you a Chinese restaurant, full of Chinese patrons, you can be sure the food is well prepared and authentic.
If the restaurant caters mainly to “westerners” then you can be certain that the food is “modified” and not authentic.
Anyone who knows a little about food, cuisines and taste, will appreciate that China. A huge country with well over one billion population has many regional cuisines.
Most, if not all, use local ingredients, with the exception of Beijing, which many researchers consider the “Royal Cuisine of China”. The emperor at one time could afford the best and varied food. Courtiers made sure the tastiest and rarest ingredients were transported across the country the fastest way possible to please the palate of the emperor. Toronto has a large and relatively affluent Chinese population, and there are hundreds of Chinese restaurants, some specializing in regional cuisines, others in dim sum, or soups. Many are downtown, but as the city grows and populations shift to suburbs, restaurateurs open new and more up-to-date establishments catering to them.
New suburban restaurants tend to be relatively large compared to those downtown, but offer minimal décor or athmosphere. You aptronize such estaurants to experience quthentic and well prepared food served in generous portions
The wall of tehse restaurants may be covered with leaves advertising specialties of the house (only in Chinese).
It seems owners do not want nn-Chinese to order tehse specialties or to know anything about them.
The tables are covered with layers of clear plastic, and after a party leaves one layer is pulled off.
The Royal Chinese Restaurant in Agincourt, a suburb of Toronto, is located in a strip-mall with ample parking. It sits approximately 150 in a plain room.
Next to the kitchen, in one corner, there are three fish tanks containing sea bass or tilapia, lobster, and oysters. According to the management, every day supplies are replenished.
Here the food is well prepared, and tastes authentic.
In downtown restaurants catering to a mixed clientele the food is modified to please North American palates that prefer mild flavours and rarely order anything “adventurous” or highly fragrant, or deftly spiced.
Originally, Chinese restaurants in Canada were owned and operated by specially imported Chinese railway workers, who, after the construction of the Transcanada railway, decided to stay in the country. Most of the workers originated from Canton.
The cuisine was “modified” Cantonese based mostly on rice, as starch, sweet and sour specialties, fish, and generally inexpensive but flavourful dishes.
Today, the situation is much different since the clientele knows better, and appreciates taste and good value.
The Royal Chinese Restaurant caters mostly to a Chinese clientele (always a good sign for quality and value).
Portions are generous and served family style. The food is served as the kitchen “delivers”, e.g should you order an appetizer or soup to start, followed by a main course, the main course may arrive before the soup.
Servers are polite, and ready to advice if asked. Service depends how well staff knows you. It they recognise you as a repeat patron, they treat you with more reverence.
Alcoholic beverage selection is adequate fro a suburban Chinese restaurant as most Chinese rather prefer unsweetened tea with their meals.
I went to the Royal Chinese restaurant fro lunch with a non-Chinese friend who had been there a few times on the recommendation of a Chinese business associate.
The food was well prepared, politely and leisurely served. Left over were discretely packaged and placed on the table in a bag.
Dinners are very busy according to reports. Chinese like to come with their families, order a communal meal, eat and leave.
If you happen to be in Toronto or live downtown, a visit to this restaurant will pleasantly surprise you.
3587 Sheppard Avenue East
Reservations recommended especially weekends.