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Chinese restaurant's brutally honest menu goes viral: 'Not THAT good'

TODAY logo TODAY 1/14/2021 Kerry Breen

Aunt Dai, a Chinese restaurant in Montreal, Canada is enjoying a spike in popularity after a Twitter post showcasing the restaurant's very detailed menu descriptions went viral.

Twitter user Kim Belair wrote that Aunt Dai is her "favorite" Chinese restaurant in the city, both for its food and "extremely honest commentary" featured under each dish on the menu.

Belair's Twitter post, shared on Jan. 10, highlighted four dishes from the establishment: Cumin beef that he would "definitely recommend," a newly added beef satay that he "did NOT have chance to try" yet, sweet-and-spicy pork strips of which "he's not a huge fan," and orange beef that's "not THAT good." Within days, the post had garnered tens of thousands of likes and hundreds of shares and comments.

The restaurant's owner, Feigang Fei, told TODAY Food he started writing the descriptions after he realized that some patrons were unaware of the ingredients in a dish or were caught off-guard by spice levels.

"We had a lot of traditional items on the menu, and customers would order something totally not what they wanted," Fei said. "Something would be really greasy, or really spicy, or have bones, and customers would not touch it all, so I asked them why … I saw a lot of frustration, so after that I started writing the comments."

a close up of food: Fei said in one description that he went from disliking a dish to being a big fan of it. (auntdai) © auntdai Fei said in one description that he went from disliking a dish to being a big fan of it. (auntdai)

Initially, just a few of the menu items had the detailed descriptions, but Fei said that they were so well-received he decided to keep writing them.

"The whole idea is just to let people know what they're ordering," he said. "A lot of people found it very funny (and) very helpful. I was so encouraged by them. I didn't think I needed to write comments for each item, but I was encouraged by them, their comments, and their feedback, so I finished all of them."

Some descriptions just included his thoughts about a dish: Fei warns that the braised pork belly with sweet potato noodles should be avoided "if you are watching your weight because you know you cannot stop if you have started on this one." The restaurant's Singapore noodles are a "safe choice" but Fei warns that customers "shouldn't expect it to be SO tasty."

a close up of food: The braised pork belly with sweet potato noodles gets a glowing review from Fei and his customers. (auntdai) © auntdai The braised pork belly with sweet potato noodles gets a glowing review from Fei and his customers. (auntdai)

Since the viral tweet over the weekend, Fei said the restaurant has seen an increase in orders.

"On Monday and Tuesday we saw an increase, but Wednesday, after a (talk-show radio interview on CBC Radio Live), we got a lot more," Fei said. "It's very, very good for our business."

Fei said he just hopes his new customers keep their hopes in check.

"We just want to be very honest, very true to ourselves and our customers," Fei said. "We don't want them to come with high expectations and then feel disappointed. We are not always the best food restaurant, but we try to do our best every day and to satisfy our customers and not oversell anything."

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