Chi­na­town Din­ing Week of­fers a culi­nary tour of Asia

Chi­na­town Din­ing Week will spot­light a broad cross-sec­tion of Asian culi­nary styles

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LIANE FAULDER lfaul­[email protected]­media.com Twit­ter @eat­my­words­blog

If you’ve only seen Ed­mon­ton’s Chi­na­town from the in­side of your car, Chi­na­town Din­ing Week is an op­por­tu­nity to live a lit­tle.

From Jan. 17 to 27, eight Chi­na­town res­tau­rants are of­fer­ing a spe­cial, two-course menu for $15. The res­tau­rants rep­re­sent a cross­sec­tion of Asian cul­ture, from south­ern and north­ern Chi­nese cui­sine, plus menus from Viet­nam and India. And of course, there is bub­ble tea.

Freya Fu is one of the vol­un­teer or­ga­niz­ers of the event, which kicked off last year and has ex­panded in 2019.

Born in the Can­ton prov­ince of China, Fu im­mi­grated to Ed­mon­ton in 2007 and im­me­di­ately sought out the lo­cal ver­sion of home.

Though she doesn’t live in the area, the Can­tonese and Man­darin speaker vis­its Chi­na­town once or twice a week for gro­cery shop­ping and to visit the plethora of eater­ies. When­ever she trav­els to a big city, Fu also seeks out its Chi­na­town area.

She says that Ed­mon­ton’s Chi­na­town has a lot of po­ten­tial.

“It’s phys­i­cally lo­cated so close to the core of Ed­mon­ton, with the ice dis­trict and down­town, and tran­sit is so con­ve­nient,” says Fu, whose day job is as en­gage­ment co-or­di­na­tor at the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre at NAIT.

Fu loves the fact that there is a lot to do in Ed­mon­ton’s Chi­na­town. There are great gro­cery stores, in­clud­ing larger out­lets such as Lucky 97 and Kim Fat Mar­ket, plus smaller green gro­cers, herbal­ists, Chi­nese bar­be­cue out­lets, bak­eries and va­ri­ety stores.

“Just the food alone, if you want to have din­ner there ev­ery day, you could go for at least a month with­out re­peat­ing any res­tau­rants,” says Fu.

Fu and the other vol­un­teers with Chi­na­town Din­ing Week came up with about 20 pos­si­ble res­tau­rants, even­tu­ally whit­tling the list down to eight that rep­re­sent just a few of the food choices avail­able in the area.

If you favour beef brisket in a savoury broth brim­ming with noo­dles, you might con­sider check­ing out Tony Young ’s Gui Lin Noo­dle House (10626 97 St., 780-4978280). Dur­ing Chi­na­town Din­ing Week, Young is pair­ing his best­selling brisket dish with an order of ba­con prawn skew­ers for $15. Din­ers may also want to con­sider the Chi­na­town sta­ple, Pad­manadi (10740 101 St., 780-428-8899) which spe­cial­izes in ve­gan com­fort food from Malaysia and south­east­ern Asia.

Kanto 98 (10636 98 St., 780-2447388) riffs on Filipino street food, whereas the Tea Bar Cafe makes up­wards of 30 dif­fer­ent kinds of Hong Kong street food (in ad­di­tion to bub­ble tea).

Fu rec­om­mends the What­ever Drink at the Tea Bar Cafe for those days when you feel over­whelmed by the dozens of dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions that make up bub­ble tea. The staff at the 20-year-old cafe (10640 98 St., 780-424-0696), which was the first bub­ble tea shop in Ed­mon­ton, will sur­prise you with some­thing tasty upon re­quest.

If you are a fan of hand-pulled noo­dles from north­ern China, con­sider Fuqing Lanzhou Noo­dles (10824 97 St., 780-760-1110). King Noo­dle House Pho Hoang (10613 97 St., 780-428-8983) has Viet­namese pho at the cen­tre of the ac­tion, and Asian Ex­press Hot Pot (10586 100 St., 780-4218300) makes a meal of the fa­mous Chi­nese stew that’s put to­gether within a sim­mer­ing pot of soup stock right at your ta­ble.

Na­maste India, which re­cently opened a second lo­ca­tion in Chi­na­town (10023 107 Ave., 780-5400100), of­fers a host of cur­ries and samosas.

“Chi­na­town is not just about Chi­nese cul­ture. It’s a mix­ture of a very di­verse Asian cul­ture (in Ed­mon­ton), too,” says Fu.

Watch for the din­ing week menus and more de­tails about the res­tau­rants in­volved within the next few days on the ed­mon­tonchi­na­town. ca web­site.

If you want to have din­ner there ev­ery day, you could go for at least a month with­out re­peat­ing any res­tau­rants.

GREG SOUTHAM

Gui Lin Noo­dle House owner Tony Young will pair his beef brisket noo­dle soup with ba­con prawn skew­ers as part of a spe­cial menu for Chi­na­town Din­ing Week Jan. 17 to Jan. 27.

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