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Chinatown’s Green Grocers


Kleinmann, carrying a bike helmet and dressed in shorts, boots and vintage top, is the chef at Dunlevy Snackbar, a cool hole-in-the-wall a few blocks away on Dunlevy St. where she makes yummy Asian style dishes. Korean bibimbop is always on her menu and she changes toppings, as dictated by her daily trips to Chinatown Supermarket.

“We’re trying to bring business back to Chinatown which is quickly changing,” says Claudia Li, one of the founders.

There’s no denying it. Condos are shooting up and Chinatown is gentrifying. It’s no longer ground zero for Chinese immigrants; rather, what remains of the Chinese community are mostly low-income seniors in single resident occupancies and care homes, says Li. “The young professionals who are moving into Chinatown might only speak English and aren’t used to shopping in Chinese stores.” That demographic also wants to know where their food is from and preferably, it’s local.

Ideally, the Choi Project honours both culture and sustainability and in the process, she hopes it will attract a young generation of Chinese, she says. “Young people are most concerned about sustainability and we want to turn that concern into market demand.” …