Choose Chinatown YEG
A love letter to an Edmonton icon.
Architecturally and culturally diverse, Edmonton’s Chinatown Business Improvement Area (BIA) is home to approximately 120 businesses in operation – most of which are local and family-owned. Approximately one-third of these businesses are restaurants that serve nutritious, inexpensive, delicious food. There’s an array of cuisine to choose from, whether you want Hot Pot, BBQ, Vietnamese, Dim Sum, Filipino, Thai, Korean, African, South Asian, or Japanese (and the list goes on!).
Chinatown YEG also offers fresh, reasonably-priced grocery food, a Greek deli (the nearby Omonia Foods Import at 10605 101 Street), and a wholesale vegetarian grocer who makes fresh tofu and soy proteins (Ying Fat Foods Ltd. at 10512 98 Street). Like their Alberta Avenue neighbours to the north, Chinatown features local bakeries and butcher shops, including halal options. Chinatown also hosts a wide range of health services, such as pharmacies and Chinese traditional herb stores, western medical clinics, and acupuncture/traditional Chinese medicine.
The wide selection of products and services offered in Chinatown (along with Little Italy and Alberta Avenue) are expressions of the culturally-rich communities in which we live – and provide many opportunities to support local businesses who need our patronage more than ever before. While the economic effects of COVID-19 have been felt across the city, Edmonton’s core neighbourhoods have been additionally impacted by recurring incidents of property damage (such as fires and break-ins).
According to the Chinatown Business Association, many smaller business owners within or near the BIA have experienced so many repeat occurrences of property damage that they’re no longer allowed to access insurance funds to cover repairs. These expenses (in addition to extra costs for cleaning and security measures in the space) are difficult to shoulder after the two-year loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. Many fear that more of these family businesses will close their doors if they do not receive increased support, that Chinatown will disappear, and that Edmonton will lose an iconic part of its identity and history.
As life opens back up from COVID-19, I humbly ask readers to offer your support for Chinatown by regularly shopping at Chinatown stores and ordering from Chinatown restaurants (if you have the means). A big part of why I’ve lived in the area for 16 years is because there’s a community spirit of looking out for each other. I believe we can keep helping one another and show our Chinatown neighbours some love.
Brandy Basisty is Program Coordinator with the Neighbourhood Organizing Initiative at REACH Edmonton. She lives in the Alberta Avenue district.