Who are the honest people in Canada
It's one of those things with restaurant self-descriptions: Most of the time everything tastes heavenly, the service is courteous and the price is moderate. Feigang Fei, 42, is different. He immigrated to Canada from China 15 years ago. In Montréal, the engineer runs the Chinese restaurant "Aunt Dai", named after a friend's aunt. His online menu has just become very famous thanks to a customer on the Internet. In it, Fei comments on each dish and also admits if something could be better. For example, he writes: "We are not yet one hundred percent satisfied with the taste" or "I am surprised that some customers still order this plate."
SZ: Mr. Fei, are such honest comments common in Canadian restaurants?
Feigang Fei: Not at all. But I don't understand why. In Chinese cuisine there are many different dishes that are cooked from many different ingredients that are sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet, sometimes fatty. I often find that people order a meal, but it isn't what they wanted.
So you explain to your customers how Chinese food tastes?
People often think that they are eating traditional Chinese food, which is actually Western food. The traditional dishes would be way too spicy. So I have to make sure we give them the right information so they don't waste their money or give our restaurant a bad rating later.
Your comments are very honest. You not only write that something is spicy, but also when you think a dish could be better.
I don't cook myself, until a few years ago I had absolutely no experience as a restaurant owner. So my kitchen staff has the expertise. I can only tell you, this dish is the most ordered in China, we should offer that too. If they cook a version of this that isn't my favorite version, I can't blame them for that.
But you could tell them to cook it differently.
There are up to nine different variants of the sweet and spicy pork strips in China. What I like best is the university town version where I met my wife. In other regions this dish is cooked very differently. So I can't ask the cook. He can only prepare the version that he likes best, otherwise he will not be happy.
How is honesty received by your customers?
I started commenting on the dishes a few years ago. At first I only indicated when a meal was particularly spicy. At some point I had a little more time and then wrote in more detail about each individual dish. There are more customers who say they love my comments on the menu. But I didn't think about it until a customer tweeted the card.
Of course, that sets you apart from the competition.
I don't think the comments make my restaurant special. I just find it useful that people know the dishes before they order anything. We're a small restaurant, not the best in town. I think: You won't find the most delicious food anywhere. Everyone has their own taste. The only thing we can do is offer healthy food that is as inexpensive as possible.
In any case, you are now famous with your restaurant.
I learn every day how to improve the business, service, or product. And when I succeed with my restaurant, that's great. If it fails, I accept that too.
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