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Feb 9, 2010 12:16 PM

Dim Sum Calgary and Edmonton?

Where do you like your dim sum at?

Calgary I love T Pot and Edmonton Golden Rice Bowl

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  1. I've never been to T Pot, I usually go to Central Grand at Centre and 16th NW, mainly because it's close and parking is better than in Chinatown, I've always found the dim sum to be really good. We went to Happy Hill for a chowdown, some things were really good but a lot was meh. My Chinese S-I-L (from the US) says Forbidden City in the NE T&T mall was better than Central Grand, I haven't tried it for dim sum but their dinners are great.

    I also went to Golden Central on Centre near McKnight, just once when visiting up in that area, quite good as well. A lot depends on what you like for dim sum. I'm not chinese but I've learned the names of the stuff I really like because they're often described differently on the english menus. If you ask "which of these is --?" they'll smile (probably at your atrocious pronounciation) but will point to the right item on the list.

    Golden Central Chinese Cuisine
    5016 Centre St NE, Calgary, AB T2K, CA

    Central Grand Restaurant
    1623 Centre St NW, Calgary, AB , CA

    Happy Hill
    806 Centre St N, Calgary, AB T2E 8K1, CA

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

    1. I wouldn't say there are any dim sum places in Calgary/Edmonton that I LOVE - I found Golden Rice Bowl in Edmonton to be fairly boring in their selection but will fix my dim sum cravings.

      I do enjoy T.Pot and Forbidden City (I think they are owned by the same people?) in Calgary. I found T.Pot's menu seemed slightly more innovative but I also thought Forbidden City had a longer dim sum menu (could be my imagination). Again, will take care of cravings for Chinese dim sum.

      I do like Peking Garden in Calgary for Shanghainese/Szechaun style dim sum - their sesame pockets with salty meat stuffing is very yummy and so far, the best xiao long bao I've found in Alberta. I also like their fried glass noodles.

      Still, I try to overload myself on dim sum during visits to Vancouver for the juicy xiao long baos (these are my true LOVEs), pineapple bbq pork buns, individual tea pots, xo sauce fried lo bok go, durian sticky rolls, congee boiled at your table, and other innovative menu items.

      5 Replies
      1. re: foodkarma

        Can you get xiao long boas in Calgary? I love them!!

        I don't really love any dim sum places in Calgary. I really enjoy the old way of pushing the carts and I find a lot of places are replacing that. I don't mind Silver Dragon, but mainly because they have tofu fah (which I L.o.v.e). Regency is ok if you have a really large group of people because they have TONS of options and you can get some of the dim sum yourself (which is nice if you're starving and you can't wait for a cart to come around. Haha.)

        In Edmonton, I like Cha for Tea Palace because I find their service really good (which is pretty rare during dim sum). My family has always been treated well and the staff are really friendly.

        1. re: Bex_03

          Yes, you can xiao long boas in Calgary at MBA. They are not bad if you are not very picky.

          1. re: ilikebigmactoo

            I tried those - was very hopeful. Found the wrapper really gummy/thick and all the soup had reconstituted into the filling (or leaked out).

            But then again, I am a picky XLB eater.

            1. re: ilikebigmactoo

              I'm willing to try! Where is this MBA place?

              1. re: Bex_03

                Mba Bbq Noodle House Ltd

                123 2 Avenue Southeast
                Calgary, AB T2G 0B2

                It's in Chinatown.

        2. I haven't been to T-Pot myself, but heard that their dishes are relatively smaller compared to other dim sum places. Forbidden City is okay, I prefer going to Pebble Street next door rather than having their dim sum though...

          I personally like U&Me Restaurant down in Chinatown, they have quite a selection of dim sum and occasionally introduce new items. There's also this new place in the basement of the Chinese Cultural Centre, their dim sum are pretty good too, and cheap...since it's still relatively new (opened within the past few months), But it's really hard to get a table down there during the lunch hour, and the waiting area gets extremely crowded and it made me want to get out of there right away. Apparently, you have to get there before 10 to guarantee a table without the wait. Hopefully this place would last since every dim sum place in the basement of the Chinese Cultural Centre lasted for about a year only.

          In the NE, I like the Pearl Garden (formerly Singapore Sam) along 32nd Ave...though it isn't exactly the most comfortable place to be eating in, I always get the feeling that the tables are all sticky and the chairs are kinda gross with all sort of stains in them.

          I wish they have a decent dim sum place down in the south...Ginger Beef is just no match for all other dim sum place in Calgary...

          1 Reply
          1. re: overseastar

            Pearl Garden aka Singapore Sams is no longer there.

          2. I like T Pot too. Good variety and things arrive hot but when we want carts or the best egg tarts in town we go to Grand Central. The tarts are made to order.

            We found the Peking Garden XLB to be quite bland.

            13 Replies
            1. re: sharonanne

              Sharonanne, I agree they could improve in seasoning and the wrappers could also definitely be thinner and less gummy. I haven't found any other XLB in this city though that still retains the soupy-ness inside. All other ones I've tried are deflated or wrapped improperly or steamed too long so the soup has leaked out. Or soup seems to just make filling mushy. Would gladly take recommends if you have better options.

              My favourite and second favourite and third favourite XLBs are all in Vancouver. *sigh*

              1. re: foodkarma

                I finally remembered where we had better, been thinking about this all night. No one was more surprised than me but we had good XLB at the buffet at Home Food Inn on MacLeod Trail. Go figure. They have to be fresh so it may have been just luck but they were soupy and better seasoned.

                We ate there because it was convenient and fast and expected the usual Chinese buffet but they have a few dim sum dishes and some weren't even too bad. My rule for Chinese buffets is to eat food I've seen brought from the kitchen.

                1. re: sharonanne

                  Thanks - good to know although I don't think I'll make it out to that place... I have quite an aversion to buffets (especially Chinese ones). I always end up feeling disappointed and have that sinking gut feeling from the grease. Don't blame you for only eating food coming out of the kitchen.

                  1. re: foodkarma

                    I hear you. It was an unusual day and we won't likely be going back but I was surprised at the XLB.

                2. re: foodkarma

                  foodkarma, I have tried the XLBs at Peking Garden and thought it was also the "best" in Alberta until I tried the ones at Shanghai Grill (west end Edmonton near Mayfield Inn). The wrapper is thin and filled with soup and a choice of pork filling or pork with crab filling.
                  If you happen to be in Edmonton, give it a try. You can google the address.
                  Of course, no comparison to Vancouver.

                  1. re: hungryneko

                    Hungryneko - Thanks for that. It so happens my bf lives in Edmonton so we commute back and forth. Will definitely go there. How's the rest of the Shanghai cuisine? Would love some good pan fried buns or dan dan noodles, or that really fatty pork belly braised in preserved vegetables (mui choy kau yook).

                    1. re: foodkarma

                      Foodkarma, the rest of the Shanghai dishes I have tried were okay. The drunken chicken (cold appetizer) was very good, so was the stirred fried long beans. They have a cold noodle dish that was good too. I personally did not try the house made beef dumplings but a relative who is Shanghainese said it was decent. I tried one of the ducks, I have forgotten which one it was underwhelming. I did not try the pork belly, would have to try that next time.
                      Note, oddly they are closed on Wednesdays.

                      1. re: hungryneko

                        Great! We'll give this place a try in March. Very exciting.

                        1. re: foodkarma

                          So, I popped by Shanghai Grill this weekend - WOW! Thanks hungryneko for this recommend. The XLB is definitely the best I've had in this province. The meat was firm, not mushy from the soup, and yes there was soup. The wrapper was not gummy. It was perfectly steamed and not overcooked so only one of the six dumplings broke, leaking juice. The only thing that could be improved upon - the filling could have been better seasoned.

                          Of course Lin's or Wang's in Vancouver is still the best I've eaten with an unbelievable amount of soup and unbelievable thin wrapper but the ones at Shanghai Grill will definitely help me with my XLB cravings.

                          Also tried the drunken chicken (really yummy) and the red oil wontons which had lots of chives inside the filling and tasted super fresh.

                          Definitely will go back and next time I may order two baskets of xlb for myself.

                          1. re: foodkarma

                            Great! I am glad you had a chance to try it!
                            I felt the same way about the XLB fillings, but it will do while in Alberta.
                            (Just saw this thread on the board again just now, hense the late response.)
                            If you are up in Edmonton next time, you can try Old Szechuan for something a little different from usual Cantonese fare.

                            1. re: hungryneko

                              Hungryneko - thanks so much for the recommend I will try it since the Shanghai Grill was such a hit.

                              Took my bf to Shanghai Grill, now we're both addicted to their XLB. We have now tried both variety and my fav is still the original. We also love the green beans although agreed with some of the posters that it's a bit oily. The crispy duck was alright agreed underwhelming. I'd rather use the stomach space for more XLB.

                3. re: sharonanne

                  When does Grand Central do Dim Sum carts? Just lunch on Sat/Sun?

                  1. re: jrader

                    No, I've done lunch through the week and they had carts.

                4. I tend to end up at Golden Rice Bowl or Jumbo. Neither are fantastic but are "good enough."

                  I do have to say though, I went to GRB this past weekend after not having been there for dim sum in a while, and suffered from high sticker shock. Anyone else noticed that they jacked up their prices?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: anonymoose

                    Yes truly agreed with that since the new owners they made a lot of changes in there. Also I noticed its one of the cleanst chinese resturants around including the restrooms.

                    1. re: misterpeer

                      The restrooms have been renovated - they now look like any you'd find at an Earl's or Cactus Club. The fee hikes are probably to pay for all of that....

                      1. re: misterpeer

                        I am a big fan of Central Grand... food and service never disappoint. Forbidden City on the other hand... not so much. It is not that the food was bad, I always enjoyed my dim sum when we went there. My issue with FC was how management handled "the incident". A group of co-workers used to frequent Forbidden City once every couple of weeks. We typically order one particular dish that is not from the dim sum carts. It is a steamed leafy greens dish in garlic sauce... sorry I cannot recall what it is actually called. Anyways, the last time we ordered this dish I took a chopstick-full portion of the leafy greens and placed it in my bowl. As I was about to eat some, I looked down in my bowl and there it was, a bright green insect of some sort. YIKES!!!

                        I get it, things like that happen all the time. It is gross but whatever, it is not that big of a deal. We flagged the manager down and showed him the insect in my bowl. He grabbed my bowl and the bowl that had the dish of leafy greens and left. He came back about 10 minutes later and said he is taking that dish off the bill. I am not sure what I was expecting but I thought they should have done more than that. We were regular customers... perhaps comp our entire meal? Gift Certificate to get us back to the restaurant? After the insect incident, we took our business to Central Grand and we have not been back to FC since.

                        1. re: DeeDub

                          It's rare for chinese dim sum places to comp the entire meal for their fault, or gift certificates, they usually just take the dish back, may be apologize, and everything continue on.

                          As for Grand Central, it's sort of a hit and miss, some days the dim sums are good, some days they are not. The reason that we don't go there anymore is mainly because it's hard to find a parking spot especially during prime lunch hours.

                          For XLB in Calgary, I found the ones at Ginger Beef (down by Willow Park) pretty tasty :)