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Jun 27, 2009 10:17 PM

Are most MTL Chinatown staff (waiters and cooks) from the mainland or Hong Kong?

I know V.I.P. is HK but what about the rest?

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  1. This is completely unscientific, but I'd guess most of the old-timers are from HK.

    Edit: just checked Wikipedia - granted, not the most storied of sources - and it seems to somewhat reflect my instinct:

    "Many Taishan Chinese settled (all following the Leung Family) in the area because they worked for the railways and it was convenient for these occupations. Over the years, Hong Kong Chinese and ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam also set up shops and restaurants in the area.

    In recent years, Montreal's Chinatown has seen a major influx of mainland Chinese, mostly exchange students who have opened many commercial businesses well liked by the new generation such as internet cafes and bubble tea stores."

    6 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo

      This is true. My famiy has roots in the late 19th century, and my grandfather had a restaurant in the 60s-70s in Outremont. Back them, the vast majority of Chinese-origin people in North America were Taishanese. Big influx of Hong Kong immigrants in the early 90s because of the Chinese takeover. Today, tonnes of mainlanders (I think they outnumber the other Chinese now)

      1. re: sockhead

        In New York most of the recent mainland immigration is from Fujian, but also a lot of staff in Chinese restaurants are overseas Chinese from Malaysia (especially Ipoh and Penang). What are the recent immigration patterns in Montreal? I don't think I've ever noticed many Singapore-Malaysian restaurants.

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          Nope, no Singapore-Malaysian here, unfortunately.

      2. re: kpzoo

        You're right, the old timers are Taishanese, if not have Taishan roots. Most wait staff are are either from HK or have roots in Canton.

        A lot of the internet cafes in town are run by Koreans and the bubble tea joints by Tawainese... I love wikipedia lol!

        1. re: keelo

          Gimme a break, keelo. Any goof can put whatever they want on wikipedia (inventing twin lost brother for MJ is popular now, though it gets noticed sooner than Stalin's early dabbling in stand-up comedy) and the claims you repeat aren't the kind of info that can be referenced with real sources (I don't mean the Taishen stuff, that's historical; I mean the onwers of recent trendy joints).

          I doubt StatsCan cross-references "occupation: net cafe / bubble tea cafe owner" with "country of origin..." and then some wiki-geek shells out $100 for the complete census and transcribes it just to satisfy rather pointless queries like this (then again, what else is wiki good for?).

          Unless you personally have spoken to the better part of these owners yourself...

          1. re: Shattered

            I was being sarcastic about loving wikipedia, everyone knows anyone can add whatever they want with or without citation.

            And about knowing the ethnic backgrounds of people who run bbt joints or internet cafes, is because I know a lot of the owners.

      3. Tricky question. Some Hong Kongers will cite HK as their native place. Some will cite the village/town/province from which they or their elders originated and emigrated, which would be from the mainland. Perhaps your interest is in differentiating service and/or food? Perhaps you're trying to distinguish HK-influenced versus non-HK influenced? The owners, waiters and cooks/chefs may all be from different places.