Canadian Chinese Restaurant Goes Viral Thanks to Owner’s Hilariously Honest Menu Descriptions
"This one is not THAT good."
Feigang Fei, the owner of Aunt Dai, a Chinese food restaurant in Montreal, Canada, isn’t shy about expressing his hilariously honest and unfiltered opinions about the food his eatery serves. In fact, the menu page on the Aunt Dai website went viral last week because virtually every dish is accompanied by one of Fei’s candid descriptions.
For example, the restaurateur isn’t super impressed by the eatery’s orange beef and he doesn’t care who knows it. “Comparing to our General Tao Chicken, this one is not THAT good,” his description reads. “Anyway, I am not [a] big fan of North American Chinese food and it's your call.”
Fei has even provided feedback for dishes he hasn’t had the chance to sample just yet. “This is new on our menu, I did NOT have [a] chance to try this one yet,” he wrote of Aunt Dai’s satay sauce beef. “According to a lot of customers, this one is very popular, I still don't have [a] chance to taste it. Looks like I should spend more time eating in my own restaurant.”
As for the dish he wishes was on the Aunt Dai menu, Fei told Food Network via phone that he’d love to pay tribute to the real Aunt Dai — the mother of one of his friends — who served as the inspiration for the restaurant’s moniker. “I want to stick with [a dish connected to] the original story of how we chose the name Aunt Dai. If conditions allow, probably I would pick the Chinese pancake or crepe,” he says. “They have different layers, we call them seven layers, but it’s an exaggeration. [There are] maybe five or six layers. You have to make it on the spot.”
As it turns out, the real Aunt Dai actually taught Fei how to make these treats, which inspired him to name the restaurant after her and design a logo in her likeness. “She taught me how to [cook the pancakes]. She was, like, in her sixties at the time and she spent all of her life doing that kind of stuff. She taught me the techniques and trained me as a good student with a good attitude,” he explains. “After seven, eight, ten times, the stuff I made was very close to her own.”
Not surprisingly, Aunt Dai has become very popular in the days since Fei’s menu descriptions went viral and some of the most frequently ordered dishes are ones he declared his favorites during recent interviews in Canada. These dishes — braised pork belly with sweet potato noodles and General Tao chicken — also happen to have favorable menu descriptions. Fei called the pork belly “really rich and perfectly balanced” and noted that he’s “really proud” of the General Tao chicken. “[Last week] we saw a lot of those orders,” he tells Food Network.
While Fei noted that the media attention surrounding his refreshingly candid menu descriptions has been “really surreal,” it’s definitely been a welcome surprise given everything the restaurant industry has been through in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s very interesting, especially in the pandemic,” he notes. “A lot of people, maybe they want some positive stories.”