Restaurants are offering $10 and $20 meals until Jan. 28
By Steven Sandor | January 18, 2024
It’s a coincidence, for sure, but January 18 marks two very important dates for the Edmonton restaurant scene.
The good news is Chinatown Dining Week launches that day. From Jan. 18-28, a number of Chinatown and area restaurants will be offering $10 and $20 meal deals.
But, it’s also the due date for CEBA loan repayments. Scores of Canadian restaurateurs took out CEBA loans to see them through the COVID pandemic, and the path to repaying those loans has been made all the more difficult by inflation and a massive change in our dining habits. Restaurants still haven’t seen traffic return to pre-pandemic levels, and inflation hurts them on two fronts — it makes food and supplies all that much more pricey to procure; and it forces potential customers to stretch their pocketbooks, meaning they have to make hard decisions when it comes to eating out or not.
It’s a grim time. And, I’d argue that in all the years I’ve been with this magazine, the restaurant industry faces no larger crisis than it does this month.
That’s why Edify urges you to take advantage of the available deals at Chinatown Dining week.
The organizers set us up with a preview of the meals available at one of the participating restaurants — Spirit Bistro. This is a true hole-in-the-wall, if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it takeout spot.
The $20 menu features a choice of either a Big Rice Noodle with Beef or Lao Gan Ma fried rice meals. Each meal comes with two spring rolls and a choice of wonton or hot and sour soup. I fully endorse the hot and sour soup; there’s something so comforting about the thicker broth and the lip-smacking-ness of vinegar.
The entrees are sizeable, and expect lots of leftovers — or you might find that two meals can easily feed four people. (I have a family of four, brought these meals home, and we still had a bit left over).
The Big Rice Noodle with Beef is one of my wife’s favourite things to eat, and she gave it a nod of approval. The real test is how the smoky flavour of the beef transitions to the noodles and sprouts — and this came through big time. If you want to kick up the spice, the Lao Gan Ma Fried Rice brings a bit of heat thanks to the chilli oil, all with hearty portions of shrimp and barbecued pork.
Each meal represents 20 bucks, well-spent. You can stretch your dollars, and help a restaurant scene that needs us more than ever.
Spirit Bistro McCauley | Unit #3, 10824 97 St NW, Edmonton | 780.425.0183 | Spiritbistro.com
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