Photo by Rebecca Blissett
The Museum of Vancouver is thrilled that Imogene Lim is sharing her collection of Chinese restaurant menus and her fascinating insight into Chinatown’s historic restaurants like WK Gardens and the original Sai Woo Chop Suey. Her collection of Chinese menus - which she inherited from her uncle and father - represent more than just nostalgia. As she highlighted in her recent presentation at the Museum, menus hold a tangible trace into the evolution of Chinese cuisine in North America.
Lim, who is a professor of Anthropology and Global Studies at Vancouver Island University is interested in the way food is represented and how that representation may change over time. She pays attention to the language, imagery and iconography used in the menus she collects. Lim is a real foodie and explained in her presentation that her menu collecting goes hand-in-hand with the actual dining experience. Her collecting has often inspired conversations on what is considered authentic Chinese cuisine and where in the city has the best dishes.
Lim’s extensive Chinese menu collection is now on view as part of the exhibition, All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors & Their Worlds.