Alongside homemade Chinese delicacies, a new restaurant in Yellowknife is serving up a different approach to the food service industry.
Cai’s Kitchen began as something of a Covid-19 project for co-owners Luna Liu and chef Simon Cai.
Liu, owner of tourism company Destination NWT, started looking at other avenues to make up lost income as pandemic-related border restrictions took their toll.
“We don’t know when we’ll be open, so we cannot stay at home all day,” she remembers thinking. “We’ll have to find something to do.”
She explored starting a restaurant instead.
“We really like traditional Chinese food, so we thought maybe we could do something to introduce our own traditional Chinese food to local people,” she said.
Liu and Cai are from the city of Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province. Cai’s culinary expertise lies in cooking food from the Hubei, Hunan and Sichuan provinces.
First, the two began cooking food and delivering dishes to customers under the name ABC Food Services.
In January, they expanded their venture into the kitchen space on the third floor of Yellowknife’s Days Inn, serving central Chinese cuisine to the public six days a week. They offer takeout and delivery, too.
Dishes include sweet and sour ribs, braised cod, and spicy crayfish. Bubble tea was recently added to the list and, according to Liu, has been in high demand. (Check out the menu here.)
Acknowledging that Cai’s Kitchen is not the only Chinese restaurant in the city, Liu said: “I hope all the restaurants… it’s not a competition. Let’s all work together to get the food quality to be higher in Yellowknife.”
This coverage of the NWT’s business sector during the Covid-19 pandemic is sponsored by the NWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment. Visit Buy North for more information on businesses near you.