Victoria ’s small Chinatown surrounds a short, colorful strip of Fisgard Street between Store and Government Streets. The restaurants welcome everyone and generally the menus are filled with all the familiar westernized Chinese choices.
Near the top (east) end of Fisgard is QV Cafe and Bakery (1701 Government St., 250/384-8831, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $7.50–16), offering inexpensive western-style breakfasts in the morning and Chinese delicacies the rest of the day.
Named for the Chinese province renowned for hot and spicy food, Hunan Village Cuisine (546 Fisgard St., 250/382-0661, Mon.–Sat. for lunch and daily for dinner, $9–17) offers simple, well-priced food.
Step into the world of British colonialism at the
Bengal Lounge, in the Fairmont Empress  (721 Government St., 250/389-2727). The curry lunch buffet (daily 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., $27) and curry dinner buffet (daily 6–9 p.m., $29) come with the three condiments I love to have with curry—shaved coconut, mango chutney, and mixed nuts.
If you’ve never tried Thai cuisine, you’re in for a treat at Sookjai Thai (893 Fort St., 250/383-9945, daily 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., $9–18). The tranquil setting is the perfect place to sample traditional delights such as Tom Yum Goong, a prawn and mushroom soup with a hint of tangy citrus, and baked red snapper sprinkled with spices sourced from Thailand. The snapper is the most expensive main, with a number of inspiring vegetarian choices under $10.