I took advantage of Good Friday to go out with my camera to take pictures in the neighbourhood west of Concordia University. A new Chinatown has been thriving there for at least fifteen years. It was my personal experience as a consumer of Chinese food that usually led me to this area. It goes back to 1993 when Soupe et Nouilles’ (Ste-Cath & St-Marc) concept of a soup and noodles fast-food restaurant with its kitchen in front was still novel to many Montrealers.
What used to be confined to North Americanized versions of Cantonese and Szechuanese (Sichuanese) regional genres is now evolving along the growing student and immigrant population from Mainland China. We now see an influx of new quick food restaurants that you commonly find in China, like brochette (chuan – 串) and homemade noodles, dumplings houses.
The pork sandwich, two loaves of flat crunchy bread with a mix of braised fatty pork and coriander (see picture), can notably be found at a cafeteria-like resto on St-Mathieu north of the Metro exit. Homemade noodles and dumplings can also be found in the neighbourhood as a dumplings house opened on a residential stretch of St-Marc close to the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
General Tao Chicken and Orange Beef, ubiquitous in any Chinese restaurant ten years ago, are nowhere to be found in these of Chinatown West’s newest components.
Chinese restaurants, but also hair salons, “Asian-style” clothing stores now live side by side with Middle Eastern épiceries, takeouts and shisha joints. Whereas Chinatown is evolving in a very dramatic way with the building of a shiny new shopping and business centre, I find that Montreal’s other Chinatown has perhaps changed in a more gradual and low profile manner. And I’m sure it will continue to surprise me, at least food-wise.
View Montreal’s new Chinatown in a larger map