Chinatown: Treats from my Childhood

Besides easy access to reliably inexpensive eats, my newfound proximity to Chinatown also allows me to relive my childhood. Through food, that is.

While the growing diversity of Edmonton’s population means ethnic products are readily available at some major supermarkets, nothing beats the selection and one-stop-shopping convenience at an Asian grocer.

I ended up at 99 Supermarket (10768 99 Street) on a random weekday recently, and was amazed with all of the treats I stumbled upon that I used to consume voraciously as a child.

I always find such colorful displays missing from Western supermarkets

The incredibly tempting cookie aisle – death for dieters to visit

I once handed out Pocky, thin chocolate (or strawberry, or vanilla, or…)-coated cookie sticks to my coworkers one Christmas. Though most of them hadn’t heard of Pocky before, I think the friendly packages are capable of bringing a smile to anyone’s face!


Nearly everyone in my elementary school class had one (or two) of these savoury cookie packages in their lunch kits every day. Satisfyingly salty, crunchy, and light, they’re like a Chinese equivalent to a rice cake. Asian producers definitely had the pre-sized snacks down pat ages ago.


Death to those with a peanut allergy, these caramel-coated pieces are a sweet, filling alternative to the more prolific sesame cookies. Made with peanuts, they also taste more substantial.

And who could forget the chip selection?


Our receptionist once stashed a family-sized bag of these shrimp crackers at her desk. Needless to say, they were gone within the day.


More oily and less crunchy than shrimp crackers, cuttlefish snacks just magically melt on your tongue. You’ll just have to try it and see for yourself.

Of course, relatively healthy snacks exist at the supermarket as well. One example are the packages of preserved mandarin peel. My sisters used to love to chew on these tangy bits of fruit – a bag can be head for just 69 cents!

Preserved Mandarin peel

Lastly, in the drinks aisle, I came across Milk Tea. Separated into individual, one-glass servings, the dry mix contains coffee, sugar, and milk powder. Iced, the sweet drink is perfect to be sipped out on a patio on a warm summer evening.

Milk Tea

Now that I know what is available just a few minutes away, it will be awfully difficult not to simply run over to one of the supermarkets every time I have a craving for a treat from my childhood.