UPDATE May 2009: Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine is now closed. A note posted on its website says, “Chef Lau will like to thank all our customer for their support. We are moving to a new location and will not be open for business until further notice.”

Like any self-respecting blogger, I like checking my stats once in a while (or three times a day) and I suddenly noticed a spike in people searching for “Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine” and finding this blog.

Turns out one of my favourite restaurants in the Vancouver area is cited as “the world’s greatest Chinese restaurant outside China” in a book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, by New York Times reporter, Jennifer 8. Lee.

An amazing compliment for sure, but according to this article, Zen is struggling just to stay open, resorting to slashing its set menu to half price ($36).

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, Richmond

Click here for my original write-up in 2006 of the restaurant that my parents go to regularly. Zen should be booming — on par with lauded restaurants like Vancouver’s West or Vij’s but its location on the second floor of a strip mall in the suburb of Richmond probably hurts it more than anything.

I grew up resenting the Chinese food of my ancestors, thinking it was boring and not refined. Zen totally turns my childish misconception on its head, highlighting and respecting what Chinese food can be, with the advantage of B.C.’s fresh seafood.

Zen stuffs a whole whelk shell with delicious curried seafood. There’s silky smooth smoked Alaskan cod and stunning lobster buried under sweet, not pungent, garlic.

So let me tell you, Vancouverites or visitors, you’ll be kicking yourself if Zen closes before you get to visit.

UPDATE: Zen finally has a website here.

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, 2nd floor, 8580 Alexandra Rd., Richmond, B.C., Canada (604) 233-0077. Dinner 5:30-11 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.