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Richmond restaurant owner pushes for greater Asian-Canadian representation in films

Richmond restaurant owner Osric Chau made appearances on a variety of hit TV shows.
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Osric Chau is at Uncle Snack Shot.
Richmond restaurant owner Osric Chau has been busier than usual this month taking care of his business while making his first appearance on the latest season of the American superhero television drama: The Flash. 

Chau, a Canadian actor who also runs a Richmond eatery that specializes in Asian snacks, portrays Ryan Choi in the DC Comics-inspired series.

“It is a dream come true, and I am excited for The Flash to come out.  One cool thing about playing this character is I got to embody someone who represents me, as well as my dad,” said Chau. 

Chau had been dreaming of playing Ryan Choi for more than a decade – 11 years ago to be exact. 

At that time, Chau’s roommate put a comic book on his desk saying he would be perfect for the role of Ryan Choi, a fictional superhero who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in the U.S.

After reading the book, Chau, whose father is also from Hong Kong, felt personally related to the character. 

Shortly after that, Chau auditioned for a role in a TV series. He didn’t actually know what character he was auditioning for, but something seemed remarkably familiar to him. 

“So I asked: Is this Ryan Choi? The writer and the casting director were like: ‘Oh no, who told you that,’” laughed Chau.

Throughout his career, Chau, 35, has made appearances on a variety of hit TV shows, including the dark fantasy Supernatural and the comic science fiction series, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. However, as a child, Chau didn’t think he would ever be an actor. 

“For Asian Canadians, not even as actors just as a person, we have been starving for representation for so long. I didn’t think I would be an actor because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me being represented on the screen.

“There was Jackie Chan, so I am like, ‘If I want to be an actor, I need to be like Jackie Chan (a martial artist and stuntman),” added Chau. 

However, Chau’s parents encouraged him to pursue his dream regardless. Now Chau wants to do the same for others.

“When I grew up, my parents opened doors for me. Now, I want to return the favour by opening doors for others.”

Chau plans to venture into directing films so he can tell more stories from the Asian Canadian perspective. 

In the meantime, Chau is pursuing his other passion – food.

Last year, Chau and friends opened Uncle Snack Shop on Westminster Highway, specializing in Asian fusion boneless fried chicken. 

“Having a restaurant also allows me to be more selective with my filming. Now, if I don’t like something, I don’t need to do it,” said Chau, adding that he cherishes the freedom to be able to work on projects that he is passionate about. 

Promoting Asian talent, as well as Asian snacks, has given Chau purpose, he said.