Red Diamond Family Restaurant stays true to its name. Frank and Laili Tang have had help running their Chinese restaurant from their children, Lisa and John, for some time now.
“We’ve been working here forever,” laughed Lisa when asked how long her and John had been helping out at Red Diamond.
Frank arrived in Golden in 1968 from Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He came over with very limited English (he credits Joanne Birnie with teaching him English through ESL classes in town) but the region was a nice fit for him because he had a grandfather and an uncle that were living and working in Donald at a small restaurant next to the mill.
In addition to a new language, Frank also had to get used to some vastly different weather conditions than what he was accustomed to.
“In the winter it was always cold,” Frank said, agreeing that the weather was a lot colder than in tropical Malaysia.
He also remarked that the town felt a lot smaller when he arrived than it is now, and because of that it was easy for him to meet other people. Frank can speak Cantonese, Mandarin and Malay, which meant that there was a significant language barrier between him and some of the other Asian families in town.
“We all spoke different languages. I spoke Cantonese, but others spoke older Chinese languages. I could hardly understand [what they were saying],” said Frank.
He met Laili while he was on vacation in Hong Kong in 1978 and she came back to Canada with him.
“I put her to work,” Frank said, laughing.
The transition to Canada wasn’t a smooth one for Laili. She was homesick often her first couple of years here and the differences between Hong Kong and Golden were difficult for her to handle.
“It was so quiet so I wasn’t used to it. [Hong Kong] was so busy…but I got used to it. I like it here now,” she said.
The Tangs say business continues to be good for them, and they find that a lot of their business come from long-time locals who are repeat customers. Their recipe for success is a simple one.
“We treat the customers well and we cook good food,” Frank said with a smile.
Competition with other Chinese restaurants in town is not a major issue, Frank said, because they all have different cooking styles which attracts different groups of customers.
The restaurant occasionally offers Malaysian food such as satay or Malaysian style curry, but in general Frank thinks that Malaysian cuisine is a little too spicy for most Canadian palates.
The Tangs are very thankful to their loyal customers for supporting their restaurant and Frank and Laili are glad to have landed in Golden, a town they now have no trouble referring to as “home.”