There is something about Lin Chinese Cuisine that the CRA folks like about.
Judging from looks and the customers they have, it is not surprising that many would not consider Lin for a prestigious award like that from the CRA.
We had been to Lin before. That was just 6 months ago when we went to check out their award winning Xiao Long Bao.
I guess one of the thing that works out well for Lin is the location. It is situated by the busy intersection of Broadway and Granville.
Last year (2009), Lin won the award for the best Northern Dim Sum for their Xiao Long Bao.
This year they snagged three awards. They came in second place for the best Northern Chinese restaurant category. They also won two gold awards in the Signature Dishes category. Quite a feat, huh?
I remembered that meal (the above is the food we ordered back then). Not only was the dishes we order very well executed, the prices were quite cheap too.
Lin is undoubtedly a very Shanghainese restaurant as you can see from some of the dishes.
This is how Lin’s inside looked like at 11AM before the lunch time crowd started to come in. This place is packed with customers everyday during lunch and dinner sittings. Often there is a wait for a table.
So one can expect that service could be a challenge in such situations. When we were there early, service was excellent. The same lady attended to us this time. Some of you who had been to Lin would know who I mean when I say she is thin. An awesome person and very friendly. She entertains all sorts of questions from us and I can see that she is a people person … that is until when the place starts to fill that you will find it hard to catch her attention.
For a restaurant that had won so many awards from the CRA, you might be surprised to learn that many (even most) of their customers are non-Chinese … at least during that day we were there, the non-Chinese customers outnumbered the Chinese customers.
That is something that many restaurant can learn from Lin … how a Chinese restaurant can remain authentic and yet at the same time able to draw such a diverse customer base.
Maybe the reason is that they made their menu so simple. I can’t read Chinese but the English names are just very simple description of the dish (eg. curry beef, honey beef, sizzling beef, etc).
Their prices all ends in .99 if you notice that (click on the above to display a larger image). They are rather cheap too don’t you think?
We were here to only try two dishes … the two award winning dishes.
This is another CRA dish that we could not find in the menu. It is again a translation issue.
It is a good thing our waitress was not too busy that we could nail down the right dish. On the CRA award list, this is called the Chicken Fenpi Salad but in Lin’s simplified English menu, this is called … the Cold Noodle Beijing Style. We would not have been able to figure this out on our own! Hear, hear, CRA … a simple improvement for next year’s awards. 🙂
This award winning dish was way cheaper than we thought. It was just $6.
It is a cold dish. It came topped with julienned cucumber and shredded chicken.
Our waitress was so nice that she came over to mix the salad for us when she saw that we were not eating but just eyeing the dish. Actually we were just deciding how to take a picture of the dish because the lighting was too harsh on one side of the table.
Before she left, she said “next time you mix yourself”. LOL!
The broad transparent noodle was chewy.
This is a fantastic dish. The sauce is what defines this fine dish. The sauce was richly peanuty with a tinge of saltiness and spiciness. It reminded me of satay sauce except that it is creamier. You just gotta try this to know what I mean.
Oh yeah, the sauce was so nice that we scrap as much off the plate (with the chopstick) as we could. We just love taking our time to eat the sauce.
For $6, it was really cheap because the portion is sufficient for more than 1 person.
The Eight Treasure Sweet Rice is also $6. And like the earlier dish, you won’t find this dish on their menu. Lin’s menu call this simply Sweet Rice with Red Bean. So which name do you prefer?
Although this is a dessert, the serving here could be a meal by itself for one person (hmmm … maybe Suanne and I are small eaters).
Lovely dish. There were lots of syrup which is not too sweet (we like that) and slightly thick. It is also served hot … nice to have a hot dessert for a change.
The name Eight Treasures refers to the dried fruits used to make this dish. The fruits is where the natural sweetness came from and not too much of sugar. I am sure they added sugar for sweetness but the sweetness tasted natural. It also had a tinge of tangerine peel aroma. In all, it has a complex but distinctive flavour.
There was red bean paste used as filing inside the glutinous rice.
How does the receipt look for TWO gold award winning dishes?
Go early, maybe 11:45AM or earlier to avoid the crowd. That way you can enjoy a delicious meal, a cheap meal and a good service as an added bonus.
Try staring at your Chicken Fenpi Salad and see if the waitress will mix it for you, like she did for me. If she doesn’t do that for you, I think it means she likes me better than you. Life is not fair, I know. 🙂