Back in the summer, I was a part of a group of volunteers who piloted a series of free walking tours in Edmonton’s Chinatown. The tours covered the history of why the city has two Chinatowns, and included visits inside cultural institutions and retail businesses.
At the Harbin Gate
We didn’t expect the overwhelming response we received, averaging about 40 participants each tour. It was interesting to see so many Edmontonians join us who shared that they frequently passed through Chinatown, but wanted to learn more so they would have a reason to stay and explore the neighbourhood.
Overlooking Chinatown South
For some of the attendees, the highlights were the culinary stops: we had a peek behind the scenes of Ying Fat, which specializes in soy products; a taste of sweet treats at Ruby Bakery; and an introduction to grocer Kim Fat. Food can be such a great gateway into new cultures or places, and this was definitely the case with our tours. Many people asked us for restaurant recommendations afterwards so they could make the most of their time in Chinatown.
Inside Kim Fat with owner Phong Luu
While we chose to put the tours on hiatus over the fall and winter months, we did want to continue the momentum somehow, and provide people with the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity about Chinatown. And so, Chinatown Dining Week was born.
Downtown Dining Week has been a staple in Edmonton for more than a decade, offering set price deals to entice diners to try new restaurants. We thought a similar model could be replicated in another central neighbourhood with even more diverse culinary gems to discover.
Green curry at Viphalay – one of the featured Chinatown Dining Week dishes
We’ve partnered with 5 Chinatown restaurants who will be offering $15 two-course dinner menus from January 20-28, 2018: Asian Express Hot Pot, Cua Hua Gui Lin Noodle House, King Noodle House Pho Hoang, Taipan Cafe Restaurant, and Viphalay Laos and Thai Restaurant. Take a look at the menus and consider trying a new restaurant, or revisiting an old favourite.
Pho at King Noodle House – another of the featured dishes
There’s a lot to discover in Chinatown, and we hope that this event will encourage more Edmontonians to learn more about an often underappreciated area of the city.