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Feb 9, 2008 06:38 AM

Best chinese resturants in Edmonton

Hey all,

Just wondering what people are thinking about Chinese resturants in Edmonton for dim sum. I've heard many people complaining about how small the dishes are getting while prices have been going up. It always seems like the more people eat out the worse it gets in terms of customer service and quality of food.

Thanks for your info!

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  1. I've lived in Edmonton for 8 years, and haven't found any Chinese food that was better than mediocre. When we moved here, we tried as many as possible, and finally just gave up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dan G

      I understand that frustration - lol, good rule of thumb for good chinese restaurant (more of an authentic style) is: FIND THE ONE THAT HAS CHINESE PEOPLE EATING IN IT. Preferably more than half of people that frequent the restaurant should be asians. May I suggest Double Greetings Wonton House in downtown off jasper ave. Keep in mind, no chinese restaurant in edmonton is really authentic.....this place isn't truly authentic, but it is as good as it gets in my opinion without paying a lot. Scary neighborhood, yes, but it is a hidden gem. I think it is fun to "rough" it up a little sometimes for some good, wholesome, cheap chinese food LOL

    2. The best chinese I've had in Edmonton is at Lingnan's but, for dim sum, I haven't had that in years. Last time was in '98 at Dynasty off Whyte (which I thought was pretty good) but, I haven't had it anywhere else so I can't compare. Also, I haven't had Chinese in any other city really (like Vancouver/TO) and everyone I know talks about how great Asian food is at those places.

      Sorry not much help. (Wouldn't surprise me if they made the dishes smaller and jacked the price. I found it expensive in '98 so ??)

      1. sleepycat:

        I think I fit in with many Edmontonians who "struggle" to recommend good Chinese. Years ago when I lived in old Strathcona I used to enjoy North China on Whyte and then their northside location on Jasper which is now Taste of Ukraine.

        However, like many Canadian cities I think Chinese suffered from being "Canadianized"..i.e. chicken bo - bo balls in that too yellow or too red sweet sauce, etc. etc.

        When I moved out here in '80 I remember even ordering from the infamous Lydo...yep watching football on a Sunday afternoon and spied the ad in the tv listing...just the once I swear!

        Chinese acquaintances have recommended the Sai Woo on 97 Street near 105th Ave and we used to go to Pearl River but that was years ago.

        Is the Mandarin still open? It used to be just north of Whyte across from Campus Towers. People who lived in the area swore by it. I never got it. Besides, I like restauranters but I do not necessarily want to share my table with the owner.

        There is a take out spot called Leng's south and west of "da Mall" in I think the Belmead strip mall that can be ok but with it too it has been years since we last either went there to pick up or had them deliver.

        I have heard good things about Jumbo on the east side of 178th Street for dim sum but have not been myself and there is supposed to be a more "mom and pop" outfit in one of the stripmalls on the west side that is reputed to be good.

        I think asian cooking is one of those things which really depends upon what you grew up with as to whether you like it or not. I miss the days growing up in Montreal where a friend's dad would write out what we should order and that was the extent of it. Never did see a menu on those Sunday morning metro rides to Chinatown. Had some incredible food that I certainly did not ordinarily get from the spots closer to home.

        I am looking forward to reading some recommendations.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bob Mac

          Bob's right about North China. I used to eat there (both locations, found the southside better) occassionally, and it was more than passable, though still not what I hoped for.

          Mandarin...on Whyte, not at Campus Tower but beside College Plaza , right? Still there. Was there two weeks ago, because I work on campus...still very mediocre, and though I've been told it has new owners not too long ago (past few years anyway) they still seem a bit too friendly.

          I've also tried Lingnan that livetocook mentions. Found it really disappointing.

          Has anyone else tried Blue Willow, up in Railtown. Been there for years, I just tried last year when I had inlaws visiting who like bland Canadian Chinese food. It was maybe the best I've had in Edmonton. Not high praise however...

          1. re: Dan G

            Dan G:

            Thanks for the correction. Yes it was/is College Plaza not Campus Towers.

            I have not been to Blue Willow despite the fact that yes, it has been around for years. I think that it is Vic Mah's spot.

            1. re: Dan G

              For Chinese dinners (not dim sum), I used to go to the unfortunately named Buddy Wonton (10415 80 Ave) just off Whyte Ave.

              Of course, it's not Vancouver high-end Chinese quality but there were tons of Chinese families chowing down there on any night. That's where I'd go to get my home-cooking fix.

              There is a menu of "set dinners" - ie, choose four dishes for $36 - but written only in Chinese. I can't READ Chinese, but I understand it conversationally so I'd get the waitress to read out dishes to me, until I heard something I liked.

              I'm sure you could ask for the Chinese specials menu and ask them to suggest "a chicken dish" or a "beef dish" and that way they could narrow it down?

          2. Hi,
            I'm Chinese and grew up in Vancouver but having lived in places like northern New Brunswick, there are times I'll take anything that resembles home-cooking. ;-)

            Having said that, there are two places for dim sum I'd recommend based on when we lived in Edmonton (we moved a year and half ago):

            Cha for Tea Palace, 17512 Stony Plain Rd. It's in a strip mall near the West Edm Mall. We found this place just as we were moving but wish I'd known about it earlier. It's a big resto so no need for long lineups and the dim sum was really tasty and fresh. I don't remember dishes being small or prices being high.

            For no-frills, consistent dim sum, we went to Noodle Noodle in Chinatown. Reasonable (I don't think anything's cheap anymore) prices and decent-sized portions.

            4 Replies
            1. re: alau2

              Darn... this isn't looking well. You would think with a big city like Edmonton there would be some really good Chinese resturants especially for dim sum.

              Cha for Tea seems a bit far but i'll try anything once.

              I boycott Jumbo. I won't have anything to do with them.

              As for Noodle Noodle, I don't think I've ever been as I was under the impression that they are Canadian Chinese and not authentic Chinese. I could be wrong.

              1. re: sleepycat

                Yeah that was the problem with us too - Cha for Tea isn't exactly centrally located, otherwise we would've gone a lot more.

                Noodle Noodle does have offer "Chinese-Canadian" dishes - but they also do a decent dim sum with authentic dishes.

                1. re: sleepycat

                  The few times I've been to Noodle Noodle, I thought the dim sum was decent. Occasionally, I've gone to Dynasty for dim sum as well. Haven't been to Golden Rice Bowl for a number of years, so can't comment on it (even though I had my wedding reception there many, many moons ago).

                  I've went to Sai Woo once upon a time (a number of years ago) and thought the food was very good. But due to location, I've eaten mostly at Good Buddy and The Boss on the southside.

                  1. re: Libertycafe

                    Yeah I have been to The Boss once. They do have good noodles there. I don't think they have dim sum. I have yet to try them out for dinner.

              2. Chinese food in Edmonton has gone downhill over the past few years. My guess (which could be totally wrong) is it's because of a lack of good cooks from HK. And it hasn't really been filled by any decent ones from the mainland either.

                For dim sum, I would say these ones are decent:
                Noodle Noodle (they get a lot of Canadian customers but they do serve real Chinese food)
                Century Palace - service is HORRIBLE
                Mirama - service is also horrible, would not recommend it for dinner at all

                Cha for tea - The last time I went there some dishes were good but some were bad, and the pricing was a little too much

                If you're looking for a mom and pop authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner I would recommend the very tiny Ah Chin Kitchen in the south side.

                9 Replies
                1. re: anonymoose

                  Well guess the everyone is confirming what I thought in the first place. There are no really good Chinese resturants. I tried them all myself. I agree with the lack of service. Sometimes I'll sacrifice service for really good food but I can't find that either.

                  I still hate Jumbo.

                  I have been to Ah Chin... that is on 99 st I think. We thought it was pricey too.

                  So where all the good cooks going then? Van ?

                  1. re: sleepycat

                    Van always gets the better ones before we do! (Although, according to my highly critical parents the food there has gone downhill too. Take that with a grain of salt as I haven't yet found a place that they don't have a criticsm about.)

                    Service in general has never been fantastic, but I've been to Century Palace for dim sum twice in the past month - the first time we got our own hot water refills for the tea and the second time I chased down the food carts because they didn't like coming down our aisle.

                    What's wrong with Jumbo?

                    1. re: anonymoose

                      Well... long story short. My close friend had a special dinner there with a couple of tables. When her mother paid the bill with tip, the main server came back and told her that she didn't put enough tip on the bill and proceeded to bully her into putting down another $100.00. The service wasn't that good and they also did not serve all the wine that they charged for. Last time I checked tip is based on service. I've never been bullied into giving more tip if I don't warrant it. I haven't been back there. It's just wrong.

                      On another note, I asked an aunt if it was true that all the cooks go to van and to and she told me that they thought that as well.

                      1. re: sleepycat

                        Oh wow, I've never heard of anyone having that experience and I've been there for banquets many times. If that had happened to me I wouldn't go back either. I'm not surprised you're soured on it.

                        I've had mixed service there over the years, but never quite that bad. The majority of their dishes are decent but I've had a few clunkers as well. And sometimes they don't put enough food in the dinner dessert buffet so it runs out quickly.

                        It's too bad there aren't any new restaurants opening up; more choice would be nice.

                        1. re: anonymoose

                          We've eaten in a lot of places internationally and I have never encountered this situation ever.

                          I wouldn't hold my breath. I don't see any new authentic Chinese resturants coming this way soon unfortunately.

                        2. re: sleepycat

                          Many restaurants have a minimum "gratuity" for large groups, usually any group larger than 15 people, and can be between 15 and 20 % of the total bill. But It has to be printed on the menu or you must be told up front when making the reservation.

                          1. re: felix the hound

                            Yes I know that. There wasn't a policy like that. I'd say I've never seen anything printed. I know the paying party certainly wasn't told.

                        3. re: anonymoose

                          When I go for Dim Sum (which is about once or twice a month) I'm not looking for good service, fancy atmosphere, or even any effort re: presentation...

                          What I'm looking for is:
                          - getting seated in a reasonable amount of time
                          - good variety of dishes
                          - hot dishes, fresh with good turnover (not having been sitting on the cart for hours)
                          - attentive-enough waiters to fill tea, take special orders, etc.
                          - cheap pricing

                          To that end, we've really found that:
                          - Noodle Noodle wasn't authentic enough; it really catered to a squeamish Canadian clientele (and it was expensive - a plate of guy lan cost me $13!!).
                          - Dynasty was okay, the variety wasn't great and food was often lukewarm.
                          - Cha (west end) had poor variety, was expensive, and food didn't come around quickly enough.
                          - Golden Rice Bowl is over-rated. While the dishes are authentic, the staff aren't attentive for special orders. Also, the lineup system is bananas.
                          - Jumbo was surprisingly good. We got seated quickly the variety was good, food was hot, servers went out of their way to tell you what they had in their carts.
                          - Buddy's Wonton was poor - shrimp Haw Gow weren't fresh at all on my visit. Didn't feel like a Chinese restaurant...
                          - T&T's new dim sum kiosk (to make this a thorough list) was way overpriced, and there's a crazy system where the counter clerk needs to exit the kiosk to get you potstickers, etc.

                          - Mirama is our personal favourite... Yes, there are days where you have to wait a long time, sometimes you get seated in what we call "the bermuda triangle" where no carts come your way, or you wait and wait for specific dishes (in my case Lo Pak Go) but it never comes. Still, I think that this is part of the charm of dim sum. It's kind of a gamble to know what you're going to get. Mirama's prices haven't gone up since I've lived in Edmonton (8 years) and the food size/quality has stayed the same; in fact, I think the diversity has improved. Lots of good and weird dishes for variety (though we typically go as far as the small spare ribs black beans which we proudly eat by chomping down on the whole thing and spitting out bones). While the cart ladies can be surly, the other servers are good about refilling tea, taking special orders, etc. Because of how big the restaurant is, you get good turnover of dishes. It's busy, loud and cheap, in and out - I'm a happy customer there.

                          1. re: egirlwonder

                            Good to know I haven't been doing it all wrong. Mirama has a fairly central location. My family(ies) have been going there for the past couple years and it has served pretty much exactly as you describe. Sometimes you get everything you ever wanted other times you get "the bermuda triangle". I find that the service varies a bit, sometimes you can order guy lan and have it arrive before your meal is finished and other times you never get it at all. same with water/beverages. overall, the food you do get is good when you get it and i have never waited more than 5-10 minutes on a weekend.