Thirty-five years ago, four immigrants from Taiwan and China created a small à la carte restaurant in Brampton.

James Chiu, Diana Chiu, George Chiu and K.C. Chang named it Mandarin and it has evolved into a popular Chinese-Canadian buffet chain.

To celebrate their love of this country (and Mandarin’s 35th anniversary), the owners are planning a Canada Day feeding frenzy.

But there’s a catch. To eat free, you must show a Canadian birth certificate, passport or citizenship card.

Doors open at noon at all 22 Ontario locations and Mandarin expects to serve more than 50,000 sweet-and-sour chicken balls, 30,000 spring rolls and 30,000 fortune cookies.

From July 2 to 31, Mandarin will add a Celebrate Canada menu to its buffet with poutine, tourtiere, bannock, maple-glazed salmon, blueberry pie, maple walnut ice cream and more.

In 2009, Mandarin also offered free Canada Day meals to the tune of about $500,000. Police had to be called in to control crowds at one location in Rexdale.

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