Shu restaurant in West Hartford, CT opened about one year ago. It is located in a commercial complex on the edge of the city of Hartford and West Hartford. This is a Chinese restaurant or more precisely a Sichuan restaurant. It is next door to the big A-Dung Supermarket, an Asian-run hair salon, and a couple of Vietnamese restaurants. These stores mostly attract customers with their relatively inexpensive products and services whereas the Shu restaurant intends to attract middle class diners given their higher priced menu.The name Shu of the restaurant is a nickname for Sichuan province. The map below highlights the area of Sichuan province.
As a student from China, I usually have foods at home that are significantly different from the mainstream foods served in the US. After living the US for almost 6 years, my stomach is still reluctant to accept western food. I am not a unique case, I have seen Asian professors from Trinity College and University of Connecticut bring their families to enjoy food at Shu Restaurant. Therefore, food is an important element in Asian culture.
Unlike Americanized Chinese take-out restaurant, it takes considerable efforts and skills to cook an authentic Chinese dish. Once I asked the owner of the restaurant, who is originally from Sichuan province, and she told me her husband was a cooking teacher at one of the most popular cuisine vocational schools in China. Their family immigrated to the US and started this restaurant later. According the owner, the restaurant is doing very well because there is a demand for authentic Chinese food from the growing Asian population in the area. She said the costumers are mostly Asian students from nearby colleges and universities, as well as local families. In addition, because of the similar cultural background, she knows almost all the frequent diners very well.
From my personal experience, I as well as my Asian friends at Trinity College have frequented this restaurant many times since it opened. I have also taken friends from other cultural backgrounds to this restaurant to allow them to taste authentic Chinese food. I think it is a great way for them to gain exposure to Chinese culture.
Pengzhong Chen ’16