Fu’s Repair Shop aims to celebrate Chinese culture

The people behind a new bar and restaurant called Fu’s Repair Shop I hope it can introduce Chinese culture in a different way.

Since opening in early April in the former Prairie Fish and Chips space, partner and head chef Winnie Tsing Chen says customer response has been overwhelmingly positive. “I think Edmonton has needed a place like this for a very long time now, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide it,” Chen told Taproot.

Fu’s is a project led by Chen and four people who co-own The Common and 9910, including Justin Der, who also separately owns the Foosh clothing store. The name of the establishment, which masks the fact that food or drink will be served, is deliberate and is tied to certain Der family heirlooms.

“Who is Fu? It’s a mystery, just like the outside of our repair shop,” Chen said. “‘Fu’ is also a double nod to the Cantonese word for fortune or good luck. A framed sample of the character hangs on Justin’s family wall, rescued from the baby carrier used for Justin’s father some time ago. 70 years.”

Fu’s appears to be joining a national trend of hip Asian-inspired restaurants that have popped up in other cities across Canada over the past decade, such as DaiLo in Toronto and, more recently, Gwailo in Calgary. But for Chen, the impetus for Fu’s was much simpler.

“The inspiration behind Fu’s was just to want to open a fun place…that serves fun, delicious food we want to eat and cook, serves drinks we want to make and drink, in a place we want to spend time,” Chen said. “We love dim sum and Chinese food, and we wanted more than just brunch.”

The food menu will be familiar to those who have frequented dim sum restaurants, including dumplings, rice rolls and lotus-wrapped sticky rice, but it also offers more fusion dishes, such as duck tacos with five spice and green onion cake. panzanella salad (apart from fun, the price of food items ends in 0.88; the number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture).

Chen shared that the menu is both a practical compilation but also a tribute to what she has enjoyed eating over the years. “Dim sum is essentially a ‘biggest hit’ of our favorites combined, keeping in mind what’s achievable given our budget, kitchen size, crew, and staff availability. ‘equipment. And the rest of the menu is made up of things that inspired me on our mini food trip to Vancouver in January, a few personal favorites, and other delicious dishes from my personal travels when I was young.”

One of Chen’s family recipes also did the trick. “The dish I’m most proud of has to be Mr. Chen’s Beef Noodle Bowl, simply because it’s my father’s personal beef and soup recipe,” Chen said. “My family had a noodle shop in Chinatown when I was younger and it was my favorite dish that my dad made. I’m really happy to be able to bring it back. It also makes me really happy to see him smile when I can tell him that we sold soup on a particular day.”

Daniel C. Williams