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4/5

We Ai Family

Union Place, Colombo 2.


An authentic Chinese restaurant serving huge portions of rice and noodles.



Located on Union Place, next to Miniso, this is a relatively small Chinese restaurant, but it is as Chinese as it can be with a Chinese staff and a menu written in Chinese. The thing is, there is nothing about it on social media. They don't have Facebook, Instagram or anything so the only way to make sure if they're open is to call them. Also, you should definitely step in if you happen to pass it on the street. 

The Food

Their menu on the wall was written in Chinese which initially freaked me out because, well...

Thankfully, they gave us an English menu once we sat down. The menu was extensive with a lot of starters, rice dishes, noodles, wontons, dumplings etc. There were a few dessert options too.

The Seafood Noodles (Rs. 900) Vishvi got came in a gigantic bowl. You can't really see it here but it was the size of a watermelon, and it was delicious! The noodles were cooked right and the soup itself had a thick consistency and full of flavour. There were about half a dozen jumbo prawns mixed in with bits of cuttlefish. We kept eating but noodles kept popping up from the bottom. The two of us together could only finish 1/3 of it, and we eat. A lot!

I opted for a Spicy Chicken Rice (Rs. 890) which came in a cool bento plate with sticky rice, fried chicken, cabbage chop suey and a spicy tofu marinade. It's not as spicy as our local food but it was still really good. Everything worked so well together, especially the tofu and rice. The chicken was cooked well with just the right amount of seasoning. It doesn't look like much and quite frankly 800 bucks is a little steep, but it fills you up. It also tastes homemade so it won't make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. 

We also got an Egg Cake (Rs. 450) to try out because it sounded interesting. A little disappointing I must say because we got the waffle version instead of the traditional egg cake which they sometimes make for their New Year. Either way, it was still delicious. The cake was fluffy and smooth with a slightly crispy golden brown on top. It was mildly sweet and fun to eat.

The Drinks

Here's the thing. They don't have a drinks section on the menu (maybe they had on the wall, we don't know) but they have a separate juice bar right next door. So, basically you can ask them what's available and they will bring it to you. 

The Apple Juice (Rs. 400) we got was possibly the best I have had. Period. They have nailed the flavours and the consistency. It was refreshing, delicious and slid down the throat cooling everything down. They have used fresh fruits as opposed to cordial and syrup which we normally get so that natural sweetness was just right. Highly recommend. 

Service and Ambiance

Their service was really good. There were a couple of Sri Lankan waiters but the rest were Chinese. It's run by a family, so everyone from the chef to the cashier was a Chinese fellow. They were friendly and knew enough English to communicate. 

As soon as you walk in, it's like walking into a street food cafe in China. The minimalistic decor and the comfy wooden seatings gave off a cozy and homey vibe. Everyone looked pretty chill and we noticed that even the staff had their meals on these tables, which I thought was really nice. 

Conclusion

If you want to try authentic Chinese cuisine without drilling a hole in your pocket, definitely check out this place. The food is great.


TIP

Try the Seafood Noodles and the Apple Juice.

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Address

Union Place, Colombo 2.

Directions

It's next to Miniso on Union Place, on your right at the roundabout.

Contacts

Report Inaccuracy

Closed right now

Cuisine

Chinese

Price Range

Between Rs. 1000 - Rs. 1500

Dish Types

Rice Noodles Waffles

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
4
Quality Rating
4
Service Rating
4
Ambience Rating
3
Similar Places

User Reviews
R
1

4/5

0

Resident Alien

We Ai Family is as authentic Chinese as it gets, despite the hackneyed use of the word by the Yamu staff in all their reviews (seriously guys, find another word). This place serves good old-fashioned Canton cuisine that you can find in a typical Chinatown eatery. If you're looking for your standard Srilankan-Chinese fare (Chinese Dragon Cafe, Flower Drum etc.), look elsewhere. You won't find the usual sauce-laden devilled dishes which somehow all manage to taste the same. Just simply hearty fare like noodle soup, wontons, egg rice etc.

The wall menu is completely in Chinese, but not to worry they have a bilingual menu complete with photos of each dish. The staff is all Chinese save for a Srilankan waiter. The Chinese cashier with a friendly face who took our order didn't speak much English but was patient and able to understand what we wanted. The proprietress was all smiles which is refreshing to see in an eating establishment.

Sad to say we didn't see a single adventurous local enter the place. The place does get crowded quickly and is clearly a favorite with the Chinese community. Put it down to the deep-seated xenophobic nature of us Srilankans. In case you're wondering, the place is BYOB. They don't have a liquor license yet although they sometimes serve lager likely bought from the nearby wine store. Our waiter wasn't too clear on this.

First to arrive were the fried spring rolls(Rs 500). What we got were five perfectly cooked rolls of a decent size served with tomato sauce for dipping.
Next, we had the Wonton Soup (Rs 500) which was a clear, briny broth with a dozen small pork dumplings garnished with coriander leaves. Our final dish was the Seafood Chinese Noodle (Rs 950); a huge bowl filled with plenty of spaghetti and tomatoes in hot soup but not much else. The lack of seafood (three prawns and a few bits of cuttlefish) was eyebrow-raising, to say the least. Flavourwise it was spot on though.

Turn the menu over for the drinks section. Along with fresh fruit juices, there were tea and coffee options available too. They'll bring your order from the bakery/juice-bar next door. We ordered a Green Apple Juice (Rs 400) which literally took only a few minutes to make. Forget the food, the juices are the real winner here. Hands down the best fresh apple juice I have ever had. Roots - take notes.

Worth a second visit, if only to try ordering off the Chinese menu. Have fun stabbing awkwardly at your food with chopsticks. We were given forks as well, but the chopsticks and soup spoon combo is the real way to go. Prices are somewhat reasonable, especially considering their central Colombo 7 location, plus all dishes were inclusive of taxes and service charges which was nice. We didn't opt for dessert as we stuffed. Although the little cakes next door did look appealing. They also deliver through UberEats.

Avatar for Malinthe
21

3/5

0

Malinthe YAMU STAFF

Didn't really enjoy the food. Found it somewhat bland and uninteresting.

N
1

1/5

-2

nadeerar

Went in yday for lunch. The chili beef rice and black fungus pork noodles came with the smallest amounts of pork and beef that I've ever seen served anywhere. They made no effort to add more when we complained but reduced the price by rs 100, and didn't charge for the tomato soup they made especially for one of us. Still a rip off. The rice, egg, beans and capsicum drowning the beef wouldn't have cost them rs150 to make but we were charged rs 850!

R
1

4/5

0

Resident Alien

We Ai Family is as authentic Chinese as it gets, despite the hackneyed use of the word by the Yamu staff in all their reviews (seriously guys, find another word). This place serves good old-fashioned Canton cuisine that you can find in a typical Chinatown eatery. If you're looking for your standard Srilankan-Chinese fare (Chinese Dragon Cafe, Flower Drum etc.), look elsewhere. You won't find the usual sauce-laden devilled dishes which somehow all manage to taste the same. Just simply hearty fare like noodle soup, wontons, egg rice etc.

The wall menu is completely in Chinese, but not to worry they have a bilingual menu complete with photos of each dish. The staff is all Chinese save for a Srilankan waiter. The Chinese cashier with a friendly face who took our order didn't speak much English but was patient and able to understand what we wanted. The proprietress was all smiles which is refreshing to see in an eating establishment.

Sad to say we didn't see a single adventurous local enter the place. The place does get crowded quickly and is clearly a favorite with the Chinese community. Put it down to the deep-seated xenophobic nature of us Srilankans. In case you're wondering, the place is BYOB. They don't have a liquor license yet although they sometimes serve lager likely bought from the nearby wine store. Our waiter wasn't too clear on this.

First to arrive were the fried spring rolls(Rs 500). What we got were five perfectly cooked rolls of a decent size served with tomato sauce for dipping.
Next, we had the Wonton Soup (Rs 500) which was a clear, briny broth with a dozen small pork dumplings garnished with coriander leaves. Our final dish was the Seafood Chinese Noodle (Rs 950); a huge bowl filled with plenty of spaghetti and tomatoes in hot soup but not much else. The lack of seafood (three prawns and a few bits of cuttlefish) was eyebrow-raising, to say the least. Flavourwise it was spot on though.

Turn the menu over for the drinks section. Along with fresh fruit juices, there were tea and coffee options available too. They'll bring your order from the bakery/juice-bar next door. We ordered a Green Apple Juice (Rs 400) which literally took only a few minutes to make. Forget the food, the juices are the real winner here. Hands down the best fresh apple juice I have ever had. Roots - take notes.

Worth a second visit, if only to try ordering off the Chinese menu. Have fun stabbing awkwardly at your food with chopsticks. We were given forks as well, but the chopsticks and soup spoon combo is the real way to go. Prices are somewhat reasonable, especially considering their central Colombo 7 location, plus all dishes were inclusive of taxes and service charges which was nice. We didn't opt for dessert as we stuffed. Although the little cakes next door did look appealing. They also deliver through UberEats.

Avatar for Malinthe
21

3/5

0

Malinthe YAMU STAFF

Didn't really enjoy the food. Found it somewhat bland and uninteresting.

N
1

1/5

-2

nadeerar

Went in yday for lunch. The chili beef rice and black fungus pork noodles came with the smallest amounts of pork and beef that I've ever seen served anywhere. They made no effort to add more when we complained but reduced the price by rs 100, and didn't charge for the tomato soup they made especially for one of us. Still a rip off. The rice, egg, beans and capsicum drowning the beef wouldn't have cost them rs150 to make but we were charged rs 850!

Avatar for asiya
4

4/5

2

asiya

Newly opened authentic chinese restaurant running by chinese, only one sri lankan person i notices working here. They have separate menu for locals and separate for chinese peoples. in locals menu items are named in chinese and english as well. So no dough about that. But the menu in the wall completely chinese.
Okay, foods. My opinion is if your really not in to authentic chinese cruising (like if you love "chinese dragon cafe" foods) this is not the right place for you.
Because taste of the every foods items here i tested have feeling of authentic chinese cruisine.
Quality of foods in here i can say, just okay! but, not the favorite though. I mean, im not blown away buy the tasting of foods, all just had a very lean flavour.

Portion sizes are okay, but compared to the images in menu of items reality is little different :D. So dont expect to see the exact item in front of you in the desk after ordered.

We ordered six(6) items
Sea food chinese noodle - Rs:850.00
Fire chinese noodle - Rs:750.00 x 2
Fried sea food rice - Rs:800.00
Fried Veg and edd rice -Rs:500.00
Fried Spring Rolls - Ra:300.00
So,as you can see foods are no the the cheapest though. Our total bill came a cross 4000Lkr for 4 peoples. and gota bill full of chinese letter which cant read. Its good if you bring you mobile with google translate installed on it.

Theirs spring rolls are really good! But for one portion they only serve 3 spring rolls cut in half :3
In the lunch time and dinner time place get packed by chinese peoples.
We havent try anything from chinese menu.
Foods are okay! Not the quietest place when chinese peoples arround.

D
2

4/5

0

Duminda

I went in and tried the wonton noodle soup with noodles, and a side of spring rolls. The wonton noodle soup was a bit on the bland side but for the price, it was worth it. The spring rolls, however, were pretty good. Initially, when I sat down they gave me a menu in English and it had a lot of common Chinese dishes you find in most Chinese restaurants in places like North America. Unfortunately, I wish I had spoken to the Sri Lankan waiter and asked him to bring me something a bit more authentic Chinese. A group of Chinese men next to me at another table were eating Chicken Feet and another rice dish which didn't seem to be on the English menu. I would recommend this place to give it a shot and see if they would allow you to order stuff from the Chinese menu (if you are adventurous ). The service was fast and brisk but not that friendly. I wasn't too bothered about it as this is to be generally expected in many casual Chinese restaurants like this.

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