Canadians are well known to be extremely proficient at making their mark wherever they go as friendly, good natured individuals with a love of all things hockey. However, Wenzhou, China, would seem to most people to be an unlikely place for the Maple Leaf flag to fly high.
Wenzhou is an industrial Chinese city of 10 million inhabitants, well out of the way of the tourist trail, and home to only 400 foreigners - less than ten of them made the move to China from Canada. Yet, thanks to a patriotic pair of Vancouver-born expats, Wenzhou now boasts an unlikely local watering hole - The Maple Pub.
A Taste of Canada
The Maple Pub is as Canadian as Canadian gets. The decor is geared towards making patrons feel like they just stepped off the ski slopes, and an enormous maple leaf painted on the wall makes the Canadian message loud and clear. Guests are sure to soak up some serious Canadian vibes by stepping into the establishment.
The pub is the brainchild of Natalie Nathanson and Tim Kryzanowski. When the couple relocated to Wenzhou to teach English in 2009, they expected to stay only a year. But the city charmed the pair to stay permanently, and they now call Wenzhou home. However, they found that as there were so few Canadians living in Wenzhou, locals knew little about the country and its culture and cuisine, and the few Canadians that did inhabit the city had nowhere to go to remind them of home. And so the Maple Pub was born, aiming to provide an authentic Canadian experience and education in China.
Stepping into the Maple Pub, guests have a chance to sample Canadian whiskey or crack a Moosehead. Hungry? Of course there is plenty of poutine on the menu too, even variations with international twists that introduce Mexican, Russian and Italian flavours to the staple Canadian favourite.
Getting everything Canadian can be difficult in China, however. With the lack of availability of Clamato juice, Nathanson and Kryzanowski have to make their Caesars experimentally, using measurements of actual clam juice to try and recreate the classic Canadian drink. But despite small difficulties, the pub is creating quite a stir and building a reputation fast in Wenzhou, especially with the expat community. With an upcoming agenda of screened NHL games, the pub promises to stay busy through the winter. So, if you are moving to Wenzhou - the Maple Pub may just be the place for you!