With many businesses suffering the effects of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, some restaurants in Edmonton’s Chinatown are hoping an annual event will draw new customers and inspire former guests to return. 

Now in its fourth year, Chinatown Dining Week has become a fixture for local foodies. Without a dine-in option this year, 10 participating businesses hope fans of the diverse cuisine will support the take-out menu each is offering. 

“When we started four years ago, that was part of the movement in trying to showcase some of the culinary gems -- most of which are family owned," organizer Sharon Yeo told CTV News Edmonton. 

"To ensure that people don’t forget about them, because Chinatown is often overlooked." 

Yeo added, "Certainly now in the pandemic, with the current restrictions, it's even more important.”

From Jan. 14 to 24, menu options are presented in special feature combinations for either $10 or $18. 

Anita Sayaphet’s family-owned restaurant Syphay has been offering Thai and Lao dishes to appreciative diners for 16 years. Though it has been challenged in the absence of normal business, she credits loyal clientele for keeping Syphay open.

“We’re just surviving and trying to get through this tough time because we have the wonderful support of our customers,” she explained. 

“They’re continuing to order take-out and really show their love for the local community.”

While diners only have 10 days to take advantage of the special offers, organizers hope the long term effect will be to have repeat visitors in the future who appreciate the diversity of cultures in the central Edmonton neighbourhood.

“I think there are lots of misconceptions about Chinatown,” Yeo asserted. 

“One of which is that there are only Asian cuisines represented. So I know for the event its very important for us to have a representation of the diversity of cuisines that are available in Chinatown, which also includes Indian cuisine, it includes sort of French pastries and bakeries. Hopefully this will allow people to find something new maybe or return to a business they haven’t been to in a while. And then go back, hopefully after the restrictions are lifted.”

Details of participating restaurants and menu items can be found online