Keeping Chinatown’s 1,000-Seat ‘Floata’ Afloat in the Pandemic

By Christopher Cheung and Joshua Berson 15 Jul 2020, TheTyee.ca

You can’t have Chinatown without Chinese food. In Vancouver’s historic neighbourhood, there’s the tourist, looking for a bite of culture. There are politicians like Justin Trudeau, looking for a place to campaign. There’s the immigrant senior, looking for familiar food. There’s the resident from the Downtown Eastside, looking for something hot, affordable and a place to sit. But in a pandemic, how are Chinatown’s eateries faring? After our visit to Gain Wah, our series continues with Floata.

“Last year, Justin Trudeau came here for Chinese New Year! And now, we’re losing money whether we close or we open,” said Andre Ruan with a sigh. “These are very difficult times.”

There were always massive crowds at Floata, Canada’s largest Chinese restaurant: fundraisers, weddings, tour groups and parties by various Chinatown societies all brought people to Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. …read more

‘This is the biggest venue in Chinatown,’ said Andre Ruan, a general manager of the neighbourhood’s 1,000-seat Floata Seafood Restaurant. Photo by Joshua Berson.

In the Pandemic, ‘Gain Wah’ Keeps Dishing Out Chinatown Classics

By Christopher Cheung and Joshua Berson, 13 Jul 2020, TheTyee.ca

You can’t have Chinatown without Chinese food. In Vancouver’s historic neighbourhood, there’s the tourist, looking for a bite of culture. There are politicians like Justin Trudeau, looking for a place to campaign. There’s the immigrant senior, looking for familiar food. There’s the resident from the Downtown Eastside, looking for something hot, affordable and a place to sit. But in a pandemic, how are Chinatown’s eateries faring? In this series, we’ll bring you inside the doors of three longtime favourites.

“Son, you know what? You need some skills.”

“What skills?”

“If you know how to cook, you’ll get a job. There are restaurants all over the world.”

The advice from his father would eventually lead Andrew Leung to run Gain Wah in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and for a lot longer than he thought he would. When Leung bought the restaurant from a friend in 1989, he told his wife he’d try it for eight, maybe 10 years. …read more

After running Gain Wah for 31 years, Andrew Leung is still dishing out all the familiar favourites in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Photo by Joshua Berson.

Growing Up Chinese Canadian: A Century of Stories

By Christopher Cheung, Jul 3 2017 | TheTyee.ca

“You’re so Asian!”
“You’re so white-washed!”
Natalie Poon remembers hearing this a lot in her Chinese Canadian peer group when she started high school a decade ago in Richmond, a city bordering Vancouver. Whether you find this language funny or offensive, Poon and her peers consider it an easy way to talk about cultural differences. “That’s just how we talked,” she said. “It’s not meant to be discriminatory.” Read more…

Natalie Poon, age 4, practising her alphabet on one of many plane rides she took during her childhood between Richmond and Hong Kong. Photo by Christopher Cheung.

In Vancouver’s Changing Chinatown, Youth Join Gentrification Debate

By Tyee staff, 29 Dec 2015

The story of Vancouver’s changing Chinatown is a familiar one, as low-cost housing and grocers are replaced by high-end condos and cafés. Over the years, The Tyee has spotlighted the plight of Chinese seniors who can no longer afford to live in the heritage neighbourhood.

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