Korean restaurant in Quebec threatened not to serve in French reopens with help from the community

A Korean restaurant in Quebec, Canada, will reopen after closing two weeks ago due to harassment and threats not to serve in French.

Bab Sang, a restaurant located at 1282 Maguire Avenue in Quebec City, reportedly received threatening phone calls after Le Soleil, a local newspaper, published an article that highlighted the inability of the restaurant’s servers to speak French and that their menu did not was only written in English.

“Some called us and they said ‘just leave Quebec’,” said the restaurant owner, identified as Joe. Radio Canada.

The harassment came during the election campaign, where party leaders promised to ensure the viability of the French language. Bruno Marchand, the mayor of Quebec, also said businesses must operate in French in the city.

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“I don’t want to talk about this particular situation, but I want to say that we will not make concessions on the back of the labor shortage… [Quebec] is in French, it’s non-negotiable,” Marchand reportedly said.

Joe, who moved to the city with his family from New Brunswick four months ago, said he was disappointed with the hostility he faced in the area. It is also struggling to find French-speaking employees.

“Honestly, I’m still afraid to pick up the phone,” Joe said. “My heart breaks when my employees get the phone and [people are] mean and menacing. It was really a difficult time for me. »

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“I’m really sorry for my clients who want to get service in French,” he added. “I want to serve them in French. I can’t speak French and I don’t have French staff now, but I can’t figure it out on my own.

When members of the Quebec City community learned of the harassment the business was facing, many rushed to visit the restaurant and promote the business online.

“It’s good to see the English-speaking community coming together on this, but I also think there are a lot of French-speaking people who think the restaurant probably got a raw deal here originally and they want to support it” , community member Hoffman Wolff told CBC. “[They] could have chosen to live anywhere in Canada, but choose Quebec and start a business here. This is absolutely the kind of person we want in our community.

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Joe’s situation also reached Terrance Keller, who edited and translated the restaurant’s menu items into French.

“Central to all of this was their menu, which really needed a lot of work. He certainly did not present a French face. And so I took it upon myself with the help of Joe,” Keller told CBC. “I know Google Translate exists and it looks very easy at first glance, but it actually takes a long time.”

“I think that period was really not fun, he was a little scared for his kids,” Keller added. “But I think we have reached a milestone, I think the community agrees. I think you can imagine that your problems are behind you.

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The publicity also helped Joe find French-speaking staff, including three CEGEP (General and Professional College) students who were affected by his situation.

Jo, who thought before to move, says he tried to learn French.

It will reopen Bab Sang on Wednesday evening with its usual opening hours. He is grateful to members of the community who have offered their help and support to the restaurant.

“I made my mistake to make a bilingual menu, it was my fault. But a lot of supporters and Quebecers want me to reopen and they are really lovely people, ”said Joe. “I love Quebec City.”

Image selected via Google Maps

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