Small towns, big flavours. Japanese and Korean cuisine at the Alliance Valley Inn Restaurant, Alliance, AB

Japanese cuisine in small town, Alberta? We found remarkable Bento box lunches at the Alliance Valley Inn Restaurant village of Alliance, AB, making it a true Destination Eatery

Alliance is a village in Central Alberta, population 154, according to one website. 154 people isn’t many people. Heck, my immediate family, uncles, aunts and first cousins count about the same number.

My motorcycle friends recently found the Alliance Valley Inn Restaurant, run by Sunny and Allen Choi. Our first visits there surprized us with good, home cooked country burgers, and we rode our motorcycles the couple hours southeast of Edmonton just to enjoy lunch there.

We discovered the Chois, who are of Korean background, serve up Japanese-style dishes. Sunny told us if we gave her some notice, she’d prepare Bento lunches for us. Bento is a Japanese style meal of meat or fish, rice or noodles, and cooked vegetables, served in a partitioned box dish with the individual servings put into compartments.

Bento box lunch with tempura broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, shrimp, sweet potato, teriyaki beef on lettuce, cucumber and red cabbage salad, Spring roll and dipping sauce
Korean Beef Bulgogi, beef marinated in soya sauce, garlic, sugar and sesame

When we made the trip to Alliance to enjoy the Chois’ interpretation of Japanese Bento lunch, which our group of fine dining devotees unanimously gave an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up to, I asked Sunny if they could prepare the classic Korean Beef Bulgogi for us on another visit.

Sunny happily agreed to make Korean Beef Bulgogi, and we returned a few weeks later to sample the dish – beef marinated in soya sauce, garlic, sugar and sesame. Although slightly sweeter and bit more Japanese teriyaki-like than the Beef Bulgogi I’ve tasted before, it was a delicious, and it confirmed that we’d found another small town, Destination Eatery – a small restaurant that prepares surprisingly unique, quality food in a wholly unexpected location.

We’ll unquestionably be back for burgers, Bento or Beef Bulgogi, all of which are superb.

Alliance Valley Inn Restaurant. Highly recommended.

206 Main Street, Alliance, AB. T0B 0A0

Tel.: 780-879-3699

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