A Taste of Canada in Dalian

We couldn’t quite believe our ears when we heard the news that the iconic Canadian cliché had arrived in Dalian. A co-worker had excitedly called it “Team House” and said we must love it because we’re Canadian. We were slow on the uptake but after she showed us a picture we couldn’t help but smile. A very surprising and unexpected arrival in our small(ish) city but welcome nonetheless. We just had to try it the first opportunity we got!

The coworker gave us the location and we were ready to transport ourselves home.

As we arrived, we were incredibly shocked at how busy it was. Word had spread about this popular chain, resembling an OnRoute pitstop on the way to the cottage. Maybe the people here have some Canadian spirit in them yet.

We got in the long line while noticing and admiring the differences between this Timmies and the ones back home. Firstly, there was an employee handing out menus in line for all the (what had to be) first time visitors. Next, their food selection was more akin to that of Starbucks, but still had some of the classic favourites you’d expect from Tim Horton’s. And lastly, the amount of employees and the speed at which they were operating was top notch. Some might say the service level at Tim’s has decreased over the years in Canada, but here in Dalian, it’s fresh and trendy and the employees are on the top of their game.

We arrived at the counter to an employee wearing a red-plaid uniform shirt (even the uniforms are better here) and he smiled, no doubt believing a couple Canadians had stumbled into his midst. We had decided to go with our regular orders from home, Dark Roast, 1 Cream and an Iced Capp, both of which were in the “Favourites from Canada” section on the board.

“Do you want a Double-Double?” said the employee.

We actually laughed out loud. For all you fellow Canadians, you will know the meaning and significance of this question. It was so awesome that that specific terminology had made its way to China. You certainly can’t say Double-Double in any other cafés around here.

We also had to try the donuts. With our hometown of Hamilton being one of the best destinations for donuts in Ontario, we hadn’t indulged in this sweet treat the entire time we’d been here.

They had a 3-donut deal or a 6-Timbit deal and we opted for the 3 full-sized ones. Evidently boxes of 40 Timbits had not made their way over.

We avoided the strange looking ones that had obviously been added to appeal to the local market, and opted for the classic Maple Dip, Boston Cream, and Rainbow Sprinkle. They weren’t exactly like the Canadian equivalents but they got the job done.

The coffee and Iced Capp were, to our delight, just as we remembered them and we couldn’t have been happier. To be honest, we didn’t really partake in Tim Horton’s all that much while we were in Canada, but on this day everything had that little tiny amount of comfort added to it.

(Note: just like back in Canada, don’t take too long to finish your coffee too long or it’ll start to get ‘that’ taste we all know and love. Adam couldn’t help but be pleased as the nostalgia rushed back to him through one sip of 20-minute-old coffee.)

Unfortunately, there was no Stan Rogers or Alanis Morrissette playing over the sound system, but what can you do?

We loved our trip to the first Tim Horton’s in Dalian and we’ll definitely be making a return visit before our time here is up!

PS: this post is not sponsored. But we’re open to it. Tim Hortons… Call us…


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