The holiday season is in full swing and if you’re looking for unique, tasty, and affordable Stocking Stuffer ideas for loved ones this year, might I suggest a visit to Edmonton’s Chinatown?
Supporting local has never been more important, as so many small businesses are still feeling the impacts of the pandemic. Statistically speaking, your dollar also goes a long way (and back into the community) when you spend it at a local shop compared to a big box store or chain!
While most of the 100 businesses in Edmonton Chinatown are family-owned restaurants, there are also a number of Asian grocers including one of my favourites:
Lucky 97 Supermarket, located at 10725 97 St., which is the main destination I’m recommending for this Stocking Stuffers / gifts-themed blog post.
I’m here to stop you from reaching for those predictable (albeit delicious) Ferrero Rochers to stuff your stockings (we all do it lol), and instead, encourage you to stuff something a bit more unique this year! 😉
This blog is part of my partnership with the City of Edmonton, focused on highlighting and promoting visits to Edmonton’s Chinatown (#YEGChinatown_Partner).
- Related: Check out my blog post 10 Soups to Warm Up With in Edmonton’s Chinatown
- Related: Check out my blog post 10 Bites for Under $10 in Edmonton’s Chinatown
I’ve often posted about Chinatown over the years (especially because my parents restaurant is located in Chinatown, and I’ve worked and played in the area for most of my life!) but be sure to watch for more Chinatown-specific content from me going forward, as I share the many ways this district—its people, and its places—are special, and how you can get the most out of your Chinatown experience through this City of Edmonton partnership.
Note: these are Stocking Stuffer ideas based on my personal preferences, and just at one of Chinatown’s Asian grocery stores. I encourage you to visit a few of them and really explore the aisles to see what you might find that works for you + who you’re shopping for! I’ve also noted gift shops and stores selling gifts in Chinatown that might be of interest during your visit too.
Also: although I have partnered with the City to promote Chinatown, all recommendations, opinions, etc. are my own. I have been a longtime supporter of Chinatown and have always encouraged visitors!
12 Stocking Stuffers under $12 to get in Edmonton’s Chinatown (and other gift ideas)
Stocking Stuffer ideas listed in alphabetical order
All items stocked at Lucky 97 Supermarket in Edmonton’s Chinatown (10725 97 St.)
Can of SPAM
Oh, how I love thee. As I detail in my ‘Local Foods to eat in Maui, Hawaii‘ blog post, spam is a popular, canned, pork luncheon meat. (Did you know: Hawaiians actually eat more spam than in any other place in North America (and I mean I think safe to say the world?) They consume 7 million cans per year with a population of only 1 ish million! In Hawaii, you’ll also find spam flavours that you can’t get anywhere else!)
Although Lucky doesn’t carry a very wide range of Spam flavours, the standard will do just fine in your rice bowl, soup, or sandwich, or prepared as a “spam musubi” (pronounced moo-soo-bi), a fried spam stacked with rice and wrapped in seaweed.
You could gift the can of spam from Chinatown and also pair it with a spam musubi maker kit!
Canned Bubble Tea (various flavours)
Cost: $1.99 up to $4.89
For the bubble tea lovers in your life, which are probably many, because bubble tea is great and really spiked in popularity over the last few years—consider stuffing their stocking this season with Canned Bubble Tea! There are a few different brands you can try including Lady Boba, INOETA, or Rico, with different flavours including matcha green tea, honeydew, taro (purple yam), or brown sugar—and yes they do come with the “bubbles” (tapioca pearls) in the can!
Chili Garlic Sauce or Paste
Cost: $2.69 up to $4.99
You probably have a bottle of sriracha at home, but do you have one of Chili Garlic Sauce or Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste? All of these products are made from the same producer (Huy Fong Foods) and I would argue that their chili garlic and paste offerings are a far superior taste to the mainstream sriracha. For a spice fan in your life, switch things up for them this season with one of these other spicy options for their stocking!
Lychee Jelly Cups
I used to always ask my mom to add a pack of these lychee jelly cup snacks in our cart during trips to the grocery store growing up. They’re especially good chilled first! Full of juicy flavour, jelly-like in texture, and filled with coconut bits, it’s a sweet treat that (like I guess many of the snacks listed in this blog), is very easy to go through quickly. I like to suck and slurp from the cup after pulling back the lid a bit, however it does present a swallowing hazard so do be careful (chewing is recommended, and don’t give this snack to kids under the age of 3).
Matcha-Flavoured Kit Kat Bars
Do you believe there was a time that people would fly to Japan in order to get their hands on matcha green-tea flavoured Kit Kat bars? Ha ha, okay well they wouldn’t go to Japan SOLELY for these green tea chocolate bars but they definitely were not leaving the country without stocking up on them to bring back as snacks and gifts.
Japan has a lot of fun flavour snacks and for the longest time you could only get these popular green tea kit kats in that country—but now Asian grocers like Lucky 97 do carry them! Made with green tea matcha powder that covers the Kit Kat wafer, this is such a treat!
MAMA Brand Instant Noodles (various flavours, tom yum is my fav)
$0.59 cents per bag (or buy a case and save per item)
Anyone can appreciate having a handy bag of delicious instant noodles in their pantry and the MAMA Brand of Instant Noodles is the one to gift (and stock up on yourself).
For as long as I can remember my family has had a case of MAMA noodles in the pantry for quick bites, cravings, or emergency meals. My dad even brings MAMA noodles with him wherever he vacations so he can satisfy the tasty instant noodle + soup craving.
Please do yourself a favour and try MAMA Brand if you haven’t yet—and even better, gift it!
Mogu Mogu Drink (various flavours)
I enjoyed Mogu Mogu drinks even before my favourite humans BTS endorsed them in two episodes of their online reality show (lol). I love this juice for its fruity flavour but also fun chewy texture. Each drink comes with cubes of a jelly “nata de coco” (coconut pieces). As Mogu Mogu says itself, it’s a drink and a snack in one! I usually get lychee flavour but there’s lots to choose from.
Pickled Eggplant and other Pickled / Preserved Vegetables
Cost: $3.59 up to $4.19
Growing up in a Vietnamese household, we ate a lot of pickled vegetables. Pickled eggplant is a popular one, or pickled cattails with chili sauce. Or grab a can of Preserved Vegetables (known as “Dua Mon”—made with a variety of pickled vegetables like daikons and carrots).
For the pickler, pickled, or vegetable lover in your life, see what they think of these Asian-flavoured pickled items!
Pocky or Yan Yan Sticks
Cost: $1.69 up to $2.69
Of all Asian snack foods, I think Pocky has maybe solidified it’s place in mainstream / North American culture (grocery stores) more so than others. These chocolate / cream covered / flavoured biscuit-like sticks are creamy, crunchy, and easy to empty a box quickly. Chocolate and strawberry are classics, but you can also get cookies and cream flavour, matcha green tea, and chocolate banana.
If you’ve had Pocky before, consider a Yan Yan snack instead. Similar idea except the biscuit sticks aren’t pre-dipped so this snack adds a layer of interactivity as you dip the biscuit yourself. Yan Yans are great for kids too for this interactive reason!!
Prawn Crackers / Shrimp Chips
Cost: $1.79 up to $3.79
Forget about your standard chips and instead gift the addictive Prawn Crackers / Shrimp Chips (Oishi brand or otherwise), which can be found among the chip aisle at the Asian grocer.
These snacks are crispy, salty goodness (with just a hint of shrimp flavour), and are somewhat low in calories compared to its Western chip counterparts, but it’s still a chip so it’s not winning health awards lol.
Rice Cakes (Mochi, various flavours)
Cost: $3.49 up to $6.99
Have you ever tried a Mochi Japanese rice cake? These are popular, sweet dessert buns made of glutinous rice, filled with an assortment of flavours. You can get red bean, green tea, taro, or mix and match flavour boxes at the store. They are simply delightful! Sticky, soft, chewy, and always a little different depending on the filling.
Rice Seasoning (Ajishima brand, various flavours)
Cost: $4.39 up to $5.29
Level up your rice (and noodle!) dishes with Ajishima rice furikake seasoning! There is an assortment of flavours designed to satisfy any palate. This is a quick and easy way to add layers of flavour to your rice. Choose from wasabi, salmon, yasai, ebi, shiso, wakame, and more flavours!
Edmonton Chinatown Grocery Stores
Lucky 97 isn’t the only Asian grocer you can visit in Chinatown though—there’s a few different options that would make for a fun, adventurous browse! Here’s a few other spots:
- 99 Supermarket – 10768 99 St.
- Hiep Thanh Asian Wholesale Supermarket – 10718 98 St.
- Kim Fat Market – 9905 107 Ave.
- Lucky 97 Supermarket – 10725 97 St.
A few Chinatown Gift Shops to Check Out
And although Edmonton’s Chinatown is primarily comprised of restaurants, you can also find a few gift shops / stores selling gifts (perhaps for actual presents not just stocking stuffers)!
- Creative Gifts & Etc. – 10859 97 St.
- Floral Valley – 10867 97 St.
- Noms at Roman Purple Hair & Beauty
- Pacific Gifts – (inside Pacific Mall) 9700 105 Ave.
And check out the Chinatown Greetings project to see whether you might be able to purchase locally-designed artwork supporting Edmonton’s Chinatown!
So I hope this gives you some unique (and tasty!) ideas for potential Stocking Stuffers for your loved ones this holiday season (or really as gifts year-round! Who wouldn’t love to be gifted a fun snack they’ve never tried before?) Give your friends and family something thoughtful + new to try while exploring and supporting Edmonton’s Chinatown!
As mentioned, while I have formally partnered with the City of Edmonton to share inspiration to encourage you to visit Edmonton’s Chinatown (#YEGChinatown_Partner), this is an area I’m always in + around + eating at + ordering from + supporting year-round anyway.
I love Chinatown and I hope you will come to love it—its businesses, its families, too!
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Disclaimer: This blog post was published in partnership with the City of Edmonton, however all recommendations, opinions, etc. are my own. I have been a longtime supporter of Chinatown and have always encouraged visitors!