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Award-winning chef brings innovative dim sum to new Richmond restaurant

Lanxuan Restaurant’s chief dim sum chef won gold at the World Championship of Chinese Cuisine last week
Wei Lai is the chief dim sum chef for Lanxuan, a new Cantonese restaurant to replace Marina One on No.3 Road.

A new restaurant aims to bring traditional and innovative Cantonese food to Richmond residents.

Lanxuan Restaurant is set to open on June 7 near No.3 Road and Capstan Way and will replace Marina One Richmond Seafood Restaurant that was previously at that location.

The restaurant will offer dim sum during lunch time and a variety of Cantonese dishes including seafood for dinner, according to the restaurant.

The chief dim sum chef, Wei Lai, has worked in the industry for more than 30 years and brought home the gold prizes in the team and individual categories from the ninth World Championship of Chinese Cuisine hosted in Vancouver last week.

“We are committed to providing authentic, healthy and tasty Cantonese food to customers that also look pretty, using fresh ingredients,” said Lai, who is a former chef of a Michelin guide-featured Chinese restaurant in Vancouver.

“There are many Cantonese restaurants in Richmond and Metro Vancouver, but people can always find something special in the dishes we make, as we drive for innovation while ensuring the quality,” said Lai.

For example, for a classic dim sum dish shrimp dumplings, Lai adds sakura shrimp to the regular filling to build up an extra layer to the taste and adds rainbow colours to the skin.

For another popular dish, vermicelli rolls, Lai makes unique green rolls using spinach juice with shrimp and Chinese fried dough inside.

He also created spicy boiled beef vermicelli rolls for people who want to combine dim sum with a spicier flavour from Sichuan, a province in southwest China.

“There is a very diverse population here in Richmond with people coming from different countries and regions, so in addition to offering traditional dim sum, we are also making experiments to cater to different tastes,” said Lai.

Meanwhile, Lai is re-introducing some traditional dim sum dishes that are rarely seen today, such as the Old Style Soup Dumpling, a bowl-size dumpling filled with chicken and ham soup with scallops, crab meat, and shrimps. 

“I hope that good Chinese food can carry on, so we need to combine tradition and innovation, like Confucius’ saying, ‘By reviewing the old, people can gain knowledge of the new,’” he said.

Amid a slower economy, inflation and high interest rates, many Richmond restaurants are struggling to make profits and some even face closure. When asked why the owners decided to open a new restaurant now, Lai said they believe quality food is always appreciated.

“When you deliver good food to the customers using quality materials, and ensure they have a good dining experience, customers will appreciate it and visit your restaurant often,” he said.