This Spring I teamed up with Travel Alberta to shares the stories of amazing immigrant entrepreneurs and their businesses that you have got to check out! The third video of this series that I worked on with Chad Kruger Productions for Travel Alberta is all about:
In the Town of Stony Plain, located just west of Edmonton, you’ll find Bing’s #1—an iconic Chinese restaurant that has been serving the community on Main Street for more than 50 years.
Bing’s #1 is your quintessential, family-owned, Prairie Chinese restaurant. It’s been around for three generations! It’s current owner is William Choy, who also happens to be the town’s mayor! And William’s grandfather was the one who started the business back in 1970.
I actually first tried Bing’s #1 in 2020 when I visited the Town of Stony Plain for tourism work—promoting things to do, shops to see, arts and culture to experience, and of course—food to eat!
As I described at the time, Bing’s #1 is a super popular, no-fuss Chinese restaurant and institution in the community. It started with William’s grandfather, then his dad took it over, and now William’s in charge—though his mom and dad also still work at the restaurant!
Bing’s #1 has also been featured in the Royal Alberta Museum’s Chop Suey on the Prairies exhibit, as well as Chop Suey Nation, an amazing book about small town Chinese restaurants across Canada (it’s a really, really good read. Read it!) and if you ask the locals where to eat—it’d be at the top of their recommendations.
Although William described Bing’s #1 food to me as “Western Chinese not authentic Chinese,” I cannot help but think back to what I read in Chop Suey Nation—about how Chinese food created in the Prairies, IS authentic Chinese food. It’s food that was created out of the ingredients that were available to Chinese people at the time. It’s food that was made with love. It’s food that played (and still plays) such a vital role in so many small town communities across the country.
So yes—try the chicken balls!! They’re really good, and as William says—Bing’s #1 does not skimp on the meat (the most disappointing part about ordering a chicken ball is when you cut into the bal and realize it’s mainly just dough lol, that is NOT the case here!)
William’s other recommendations include the fried rice, vegetables, stir fry, and his favourite—dry garlic ribs!
“There’s a lot of history here. The walls, we have pictures of our family, and it opens a lot for conversation for the customer, making sure they feel like part of the family.”
– William Choy, Bing’s #1
Something so special about generational family businesses like this is that William ate here with friends growing up, or his friends ate with their families growing up, and now he sees those friends as adults, bringing their kids, or with their grandparents.
He grew up in the restaurant but so did so many in the community.
“It’s amazing to watch generations grow up here,” William tells me.
The location is also great. Stony Plain actually recently renovated their Main Street (downtown) and honestly one of my favourite things to do in small town / small cities is explore their Main Streets. There’s often a ton of history (as is the case with Bing’s #1), and lots of charm!
“It’s great to come out to these little communities because there are so many unique mom and pop stores that people haven’t had a chance to explore yet,” William says.
Stony Plain actually has SO many locally-owned boutique shops. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Thank you so much to William for taking the time to talk to me, share your family’s story and being part of this Travel Alberta video!
Watch the video below and check out my Stony Plain Travel Guides:
- Travel Guide: Day Trip to the Town of Stony Plain (Things to Do, Eat, See) – October 2020
- Shopping Guide to the Town of Stony Plain – October 2020
And be sure to subscribe to Travel Alberta’s YouTube Channel for more video inspiration on ways to make the most of your adventures in Alberta.
Note: this post is NOT sponsored by Travel Alberta. I’m working with them as a contractor for video production but not for blog / social media (these are just things I’d share about anyway lol).
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