This pic was taken on December 16, 2019 at Mr Chan Chinese Restaurant, Sea Point, Cape Town.

This is more than a review: It is an homage to our favourite Chinese restaurant in Cape Town

I posted this picture on Instagram last night – March 22, 2020- my first photo on that platform in a while.

After the rampage of Covid-19, as an arts writer, I have been witnessing how the creative industry has been shattered by the virus and Instagram took a back seat. I realise that it is important to stay “up-beat” and “positive”, so I hopped back onto Instagram with an ode to Mr Chan.

December 16 seems a world away. When we were on our way to dine at Mr Chan, a person disparagingly quipped that we should refrain from eating there because we “might get the virus”. We were gobsmacked at the virulence and hate-speech. Yes, this person said, would get the virus by walking in the door.

At that stage, no positive cases had been identified in South Africa and we felt “safe” on the African continent. That has changed, as it has all over the world. Following the President of South Africa’s national address, March 15, we have had schools, theatres closing; no gatherings of more than 100 people. Some restaurants are trading and some are doing take always. Further strictures are expected, this week and the call-out is to #stayathome.


Well, sadly many people globally do not have a home to practice social distancing. That is a global reality. In South Africa, many live in what are termed “informal settlements” with poor sanitation, often no indoor plumbing and no potable water. So, the concept of “staying home”, well… for those people of privilege, we can follow that but for others, home is not a safe haven in cramped conditions, prevalence of violence due to the conditions. 

Added to that we are already dealing with HIV-Aids, TB; already huge rates of unemployment; water scarcity in many areas. The country is facing a shortage of electricity. We have had power outages for a while – hours at a time with no power.

We must remain positive but here we are facing the week of March 23- with a public health system which appears to be vastly un-prepared.

Sure, we must do our best and be “hopeful”. I get that. Be kind. Don’t spread hate speech and bleat about the “Chinese Virus”. It could have originated anywhere.

I look forward to going back to Mr Chan when the pandemic is over and eating my fave dish – sweet and sour bean curd – with chunks of pineapple and tomato. The spring rolls are excellent – veg for TheCapeRobyn-served on sweet and sour cabbage.  Meat eating @surfertravelguy will have his crispy duck. He says it is way better than what he sampled in Beijing.  In Beijing, the dish tends to still be tagged as Peking Duck. His fave Mr Chan starter: ribs. We always share a pot of jasmine tea and I will sip on his beer.

I look forward to walking into Mr Chan and being served by the wonderful people of this family run business.

Travel/dining advisory: Mr Chan Chinese Restaurant, Sea Point, Cape Town.

Food: Cantonese, Peking and Szechuan

Address: 17 Regent Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town, 8060

Phone: 021 439 2239

During Covid-19: ❌ LOCKDOWN ❌ lockdown in SA from midnight Thursday March 26 to April 15- no take-out available anymore