chinese take-out in cowtown
We're packing up our Oiler gack and moving south to Calgary later this month. My wife and I are hoping to find a go-to Chinese take-away place along the lines of what North China Restaurant provided us in Edmonton. Not only did North China offer killer szechuan beef, singapore noodles, and potstickers....it was the kind of place where the owner knew your name, knew your favourites, talked about his family, asked about YOUR family. I know it's getting picky to ask for personality with your take-out, but you never know unless you ask. We'll be living near Bow Trail & Sarcee, but one of us will work downtown, so we can cover a bit of territory.
I don't mean to sound patronizing when I say this, but it takes time to become a "regular" and to have owners or employees give you this sort of attention. We have tons of places like this in Calgary- great food plus that lagniappe of personality. But it'll take a while to build the sort of rapport you're seeking- fear not, people here (many of them) can be friendly!!
If you want an at-times TOO "personality" accented level of service right out of the box, go to Jimmy's A and A - for the best shawarma you've ever tasted and the sense that you're the audience member getting ribbed at a comedy show.
The one working DT has the advantage of being near Chinatown and its varied delights- here I have five chinese places I frequent (there is a lot of Vietnamese and sushi in Chinatown too):
1. Han's, in the tiny City Centre "mall" on Centre St. Not the food court, not Double Greeting Snack House, the OTHER place at the end of the corridor by the 2nd Ave entrance. It's Taiwanese (by way of Malaysia, right, Yen?) and is my favourite Chinese in town. Chili Chicken (maybe it's called kung pao here?) is astoundingly tasty; taiwanese beef noodle soup is rrrrich, and they do things with simple cabbage that amaze. Tiny space, CHEAP, wonderful people!
2. Double Greeting Snack House- also in the mall, the bigger place enclosed in glass windows off the food court. Killer prices, killer congee, cheap and cheerful, FAST service.
3. Veggie House- okay, this one is in the food court. I always get the large mixed gluten combo w/ rice, a massive pile of gluten (mock pork, sweet and sour, curry, etc). It's not as good as Buddha's Veggie (Macleod and 58th, near Chinook Centre) but for me (living near-ish downtown) it's more convenient, less crowded, and much faster.
4. Harbour City. We started going here for dim sum when we moved to Calgary in 2000 and have never stopped. We've never ordered off the menu here, either. They have this dim sum dish that's deep fried eggplant stuffed with ground shrimp- it's fantastic.
5. Calgary Court- this is a sister resto of a Sun Chiu Kee on N Centre St (check this strip out too, it's a sort of Chinatown North and has an increasing lot of character) that is, my sources tell me, a perfect example of a Honk Kong Diner. They have all sorts of dishes that you would not expect (given North American notions of "Chinese") on a Chinese resto menu, like spaghetti done all these odd ways, but get over that and try it for some comfort food par excellence- and again, cheap cheap cheap.
These are not the best Chinese places in town; they are the places that I frequent to give you some idea of what's out there.
WELCOME TO CALGARY and happy chowing! There is much to discover here!
We understand where you are coming from given your comments about North China. However, we have not been in years.
When we lived on Saskatchewan Drive we too were "regulars" at the location just west of 99th Street on Whyte Avenue. Later, until it closed we would regularly stop in at their Jasper Ave. spot near 124th Street before it too closed to be replaced by Bistro "O" and now Taste of Ukraine.
In fact we rented the southside location for our wedding anniversary dinner some 18 years ago.....miss their food, have not found a replacement.
Good luck and good eating in Calgary
All may not be lost on the North China front, Bob. From what David told us it sounded like the plan was to take some well-earned time off, do some traveling, see some family, have a life, etc... Don't be surprised to see the North China sign resurface somewhere on the south side (if it hasn't already!)
A little out of the way but in that part of the SW is The Golden Leaf... It is on 37th ST SW across from Sarcee Plaza. I ate there all the time when I went to Mount Royal College.
I also like Bow Bulgogi house (Bow and 33rd Stret) for Korean, and Misato in West Market Square for Japanese.