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Nov 6, 2008 06:39 PM

Chinese Buffet in Calgary

My wife's parents enjoy eating out with us on Sunday evenings, but they aren't terribly adventurous. Their idea of exotic is Chinese, but they a prefer a buffet "because we can see what we're getting before we get it". Help me please, is there such a thing as a decent Chinese dinner buffet in Calgary? Where they can get won ton soup and sweet-and-sour pork and I can get something worth eating?

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  1. The only way to get through a Chinese buffet is to think of it as a different cuisine, totally unrelated to Chinese. Also, get there early and watch when dishes are being refreshed. Glop is bad enough, cold, dried out glop is worse.

    That said. The New Dynasty has a dish or two that can be ok. I've been to the one in Crowfoot but I gather there are others around. The salt and pepper squid if caught right out of the kitchen can be good as can the chicken wings. They also have roast duck and BBQ pork sometimes that are ok.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sharonanne

      I actually like the one at Singapore Sam's on 11 Ave SW. Their dishes are decent, they have yummy sticky rise and also a Mongolie Grill so you can get a stir-fry made-to-order if that's more to your liking.

      1. re: Jasz

        That's right, I forgot about them. Been there once. They incorporate some dim sum items into the buffet. They stand up a little better than stir fries.

    2. Regency Palace in Chinatown
      The times I have been there, there was enough volume so the buffet was re-freshed in a timely manner. And there is the a la carte menu for yourself.

      1. Sounds like my parents, does cheese mean, chedder or Whiz or Single? Do spices mean salt and possibly even pepper. This story is about our moms:

        I would second the regency palace suggestion, but would like to know some others. Also is there such a thing as 'high-end' chinese food? in Calgary?

        16 Replies
        1. re: fotze

          I don't think there is high-end Chinese food in Calgary, but Forbidden City does have very competent, innovative dishes (but unfortunately, not consistently across the expansive menu). In Calgary, it is difficult to get the fresh seafood that is often what makes a Chinese restaurant "high-end" (e.g. special kinds of crab roe, or abalone, or fish). At least, I think that's part of the reason for the lack of high-end Chinese cuisine in Calgary.

          1. re: aktivistin

            High end chinese? I recommend Asian Buffet between Heritage Dr and Southland Dr one block east of Macleod Tr. Find Regal Beagle and its around the back. Big big buffet with some sushi, a stir fry stand and lots of steam tables set up. Crab legs two ways on fridays.
            A fav sit down place would be Leo Fu's one block west of Macleod Trail about 3 blocks south of Glenmore Tr. Great little place, a must try is the shrimp and tomato sizzling rice.Yum!!!

            1. re: julie17

              I wouldn't call Asian Buffet high-end.

          2. re: fotze

            Xiaolongbao could be considered to be high-end, or at least extremely trendy. I have no idea if anyone in Calgary actually sells it though.

            I did recently go to a wedding dinner at Central Grand; it was by far the best 10-course Chinese meal I've had in Calgary. But you need to like things like abalone and jellyfish.

            1. re: Shazam

              There is definitely XLB on offer in Calgary- what do you mean "extremely trendy"?

              1. re: John Manzo

                I wouldn't call XLB trendy - but I do agree that there's been more general awareness in Calgary over the past 5 yrs as to what XLB is and recognition that perfectly done XLB with a thin wrapper, good seasoning/ginger flavour, and hot yummy soup takes a lot of skill and talent.

                Yes XLB is on offer in Calgary but I have yet to find any that is well done - not gummy, perfectly soupy, and well seasoned. I grew up eating properly done XLB so I'll admit I'm a bit of an XLB snob.

                Closest I've come in Alberta is Shanghai Grill in Edmonton. Best in Canada that I've tasted is still Wang's or Lin's in Vancouver.

                1. re: crazy_eoj

                  People say Forbidden City in the NE and Peking Garden in Varsity in the NW.

                  I've had them at Peking Garden at lunch on a weekend and found them underseasoned but i hadn't had them before so had nothing to compare to. My son had only had them in Shanghai and he agreed.

                  Believe it or not we had better at the Home Food Inn buffet but I had seen them delivered from the kitchen so don't think they'd be good if they sat out for long.

                  Also had them somewhere else at dim sum and they were ok, possibly T Pot but I have seen them on the menu at Brentwood Ginger Beef and possibly Snow Palace in Crowfoot.

                  Forbidden City
                  999 36 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A 7X6, CA

                  1. re: crazy_eoj

                    Crazy_eoj XLB stands for xiaolongbao. I'd say if it's a first time to try - worth it to drive to Edmonton to go to Shanghai Grill. XLB are great because when you bite into the small dumpling, hot broth will pour out and the gingery meat filling is sitting in the soup. Almost an art form. Definitely on my Last Supper list.

                    I used to eat the ones at Peking Garden to satisfy my XLB cravings in Calgary. The best I found in this city but inconsistent. Sometimes gummy wrapper. Agreed with Sharonanne more often than not they are underseasoned.

                    I had an ok experience at Forbidden City and MBA but the second time I went back to both places the soup had regurgitated back into the meat filling.

                    Forbidden City
                    999 36 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A 7X6, CA

                  2. re: Shazam

                    I'm amazed (or illiterate) that no one mentioned MBA Shanghai Cuisine in Chinatown. It's right beside Calgary Court. You can actually see them steaming the Xiao Long Bao and stacking the bamboo trays in towers because people order them so frequently. I would say if you need a quick fix of XLB to just go there and try it out and let us know how it compares to your other XLB you've tried.

                    1. re: pasaker

                      I mentioned it in my last post - I've had inconsistent experiences. Last time I went the soup wasn't so much soupy but regurgitated back into the filling from being oversteamed.

                        1. re: pasaker

                          No worries - I should actually give MBA a try again, maybe they were having an off day :)

                      1. re: pasaker

                        It's called MBA noodle house- or has it changed names?

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          Yep - MBA BBQ Noodle House

                          Has a bit of an identity crisis - started serving noodles and BBQ meat, then transitioned into more of a Shanghai restaurant sometime mid-2009.

                          Haven't been there for about a year, so not sure if anything has changed since.

                          The Noodle House
                          4815 48 Ave, Red Deer, AB T4N 3T2, CA

                          1. re: foodkarma

                            Oh I went there last night and my husband and I both got their steamed rice set meal. It's about $6.95 per set- a set includes rice, soup (seaweed soup), veggies (iceberg lettuce cooked in oyster sauce), small side dish (seaweed with vinegar we had), and a meat of your choice (my hubby had the steamed spare ribs and I had pork feet) and we had an order of xiao long bao. Plus when you first sit they give you sort of like a little appetizer or two steamed chicken feet with salted fried peanuts in black vinegar. The tea is free as well and they served chrysanthemum with red dates, wolf berries, and small rose buds I think in the tea (sooo good.......). The whole meal included taxes was just a little over $20.00 for the two of us before tips and we were stuffed. Like utterly stuffed. The meal it self was decent for the price. They were quite busy last night too. They also have deals on their xiao long bao during the week (not weekends) , something like half price, but I honestly don't think they can keep up with this price point for long so try it while you can....

                            1. re: pasaker

                              I found MBA in Chinatown fairly inconsistent, for the past couple times there, we had to wait a long time for the food to arrive.

                              Back to the original topic for Chinese Buffet, I enjoy Buffet Yangtze at the Deerfoot Mall with great selections to choose from, they are always topping up the trays, beats the Asian buffet down south.

                  3. Shanghai Palace in the NW has a great Chinese buffet but only for lunch during the week days. For Seniors, get 10% off on Tuesdays lunch.

                    1. I...I like China Rose. Don't judge me!