A week-long food festival in Edmonton’s Chinatown neighbourhood hopes to bring in people from all corners of the city to explore new dishes.
Chinatown Dining Week features 18 restaurants offering food specials for set prices. The event kicked off Jan. 13 and continues until Jan. 23.
“Each restaurant provides a dining special deal — either $10 or $18 — and it’s a good way for Edmontonians to check out Chinatown,” said Sonya Nguyen, one of the organizers of the event.
“There’s lots and lots of opportunities to try new food.”
This marks the fifth year for the annual event. This year there has been more of a focus on getting attention on social media to reach more people across the city.
“A lot of these businesses have been around for years and years and years, and the past two years have definitely been difficult for them,” Nguyen said. “A lot of these restaurants are mom and pop shops, so there’s not a really huge online presence, social media presence.
“This event will help promote these places that typically don’t really have an online presence.”
Through the pandemic period, Chinese Canadians have noted an increase in anti-Asian incidents, as well as an economic ripple effect on Chinatown businesses.
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Luan Cao, the manager of Co Chin Saigon restaurant, said the pandemic has been hard on many Edmonton businesses.
“We don’t receive a lot of dine in customers nowadays anymore,” Cao said.
“It’s been difficult, but we’ve tried a lot to overcome it,” he said. “I think (the dining week is) a good opportunity for everyone here in Chinatown.”
Nguyen said that all the restaurants involved are following COVID-19 protocols, and take-out options are also available.
“Over the past two years obviously with the pandemic, local businesses have been kind of suffering, so this is kind of a way for us to kind of bring business back to Chinatown and let people see kind of what it has to offer,” she said.
“A lot of the owners are friendly, they want to get to know the customers, they want to get to know the people.”
The menus for Chinatown Dining Week are available on the event website.