When anybody suggests going to get Chinese food, usually it’s after getting drunk or you’re in for a cheap night of eating out. The general stigma around Chinese food is reinforced even more in Montreal due to its prevalent image as an MSG marriage of super salty, super sauce-y and super fried things (or the SSF as I call it).

Photo by Eleanor Wong

The cultural history and regional uniqueness of Chinese food was lost once it got exported to Western countries, and Canada is no exception.

With big chain restaurants like Mandarin and ever present Chinatowns westernized to become every city’s essential tourist attraction, it comes to no surprise that a Chinese-Canadian like myself would get frustrated and angry.

Where is the style and variety? I don’t want my Chinese food coming in styrofoam boxes and takeout boxes with generic Chinese characters all over them.

So to my fellow disgruntled Chinese food eaters who are picky like me and would appreciate a nostalgic or fresh taste of Chinese food, here are five locations you may want to check out.

1. Mei

Photo by Eleanor Wong

For those who want to try a less generic type of Chinese food. The dou hua, which is a salty version of the sweet porridge was a pleasant surprise along with their spicy lamb skewers.


2. Crystal Chinois

Photo courtesy of restomontreal.ca

This appears to be a McGill student favorite. Why we hold so many events and dimsum parties here can only be for one reason. Worth a gander although they don’t offer the Asian experience of old ladies pushing around food carts.


3. Cuisine Szechuan

Photo courtesy of phenu.com

Here’s a hot challenge for spice lovers. Guaranteed to make you cry tears while sipping away at liters of water.


4. Qing Hua Dumpling

Photo courtesy of mtlblog.com

Another student favorite is this dumpling themed restaurant. Most items on the menu feature speciality dumplings ranging from lamb to egg and cress to veggy style. A must for the dumpling amateur.

5. Wang Liyuan

Photo by Eleanor Wong

A place international students swear by. They have an amazing service for Peking duck and also have a nice quiet atmosphere. Gives off a secret Chinese hideout vibe.

With that, I leave you to explore these hidden gems around Montreal. Chinese food isn’t all just grease and sauce but also has a cultural flair that seems to be fading as more food trends pop up every year. And it’s time to up your eating experiences if you are to become a true foodie in this city of foodies.

Cheers to a future of more traditional and more authentic Chinese dining.