My trip to Alberta started by crossing the Canadian Rockies, my grandpa made a deal with me. He said my boyfriend gets to choose our sightseeing hotspot, my mom pays for the hotel, I get to choose places to eat, and he pays for the food. I was really excited since it is my first trip to Alberta. Sadly, the promise was not kept for long. The first few days while driving through the Rockies, I did get to pick what I want to eat. But choices were limited. The ones I was really looking forward to was in Calgary. By the time our family reached Calgary, my grandpa got sick of the food. He demand to eat Chinese. I was upset cause I know Vancouver has some of the best Chinese food and I everytime I visit him he brings me out to Chinese food anyways! Why extend it to Calgary? My dream was crushed.
Well, hungry tummies must be fed. I had no choice but to agree to Chinese and hope my boyfriend keeps his promise that he would bring me to Calgary again just for the food. Obviously, without doing research and homework on Chinese, we don’t know where to go. Grandpa, my clever man, obviously demand us to go to Chinatown. He said you won’t go wrong with Chinatown, there has to be Chinese. And so there is. The first thing he did was jumped off the car and grabbed another old man and asked him what is the best dim sum place in Chinatown. And he pointed us to Silver Dragon Restaurant.
Silver Dragon had that typical old school Chinese dim sum restaurant look. It seems like it had quite of a history around Calgary’s Chinatown. When we sat down there was no customers at all. It felt sketchy at first. Unlike most dim sum place in Vancouver, Silver Dragon doesn’t have a paper menu for you to draw on the dim sum you want. They bring dim sum out and you order when you see it. The only thing is, there was no customers. So we had to order.
There’s no doubt that Silver Dragon was a pleasant surprise to us. The restaurant is old school. The dim sum is also old school! I’m not going write in details on every single dim sum we ordered but I’ll highlight the ones that we were very impressed with.
STEAM BEEF RICE ROLL
Steam rice rolls are very hard to ace. Regular rice rolls would probably taste like a sheet of steamed flour made with rice. The bad ones, you will find them so thick that you could barely taste what was stuffed inside. I can honestly say Silver Dragon’s rice roll defeated all the rice rolls you could find in a Vancouver dim sum place. I said it is hard to ace because rice rolls are actually made by liquid rice paste. After the chef pour it on the mold, he would have to quickly evenly spread it so it becomes a thin sheet of rice paper. It had to be thin but not too thin so he can still lift it up and use it to wrap beef/shrimp/bbq pork/or whatever you want to stuff in the rice roll. This is why it is hard to ace. It is also very hard to give the rice roll the smooth texture. Traditional old school rice rolls are able to slip off of your chopsticks. I honestly never ever found a place that serve rice rolls like this other than the only one place in Hong Kong I use to visit. Silver Dragon’s rice not only is super thin. So thin that you could see through the rice roll. It is also super silky smooth! It actually slips off your chopsticks. I’m very impressed. So impressed that my grandpa ordered a plate of plain steamed rice roll so he could dip it in soy sauce and enjoy the silkiness.
DEEP FRIED TARO DUMPLINGS
Silver Dragon did a really good job with the deep fried taro dumplings. Vancouver has great dim sum places that have good deep fried taro dumplings too. The good taro dumplings are the one that has a deep fried coating we Chinese call the “honeycomb.” It is meant to be super light and crunchy. Light enough to see billions of holes on it’s crunch. This shows that it is super airy. The ‘honeycomb’ crunch is the best crunch among all.
DEEP FRIED SESAME LOTUS BALL
In Hong Kong, we always say it is hard to find traditional dim sum. Deep fried sesame lotus ball is one of the traditional dim sum that not a lot of chef makes anymore. I really don’t want to go in details but basically it had the good qualities of any deep fried food would have. The best sesame ball is to have the crunch outside but still have the chewy and soft texture inside like a mochi. Overall, I should say Silver Dragon is not just good on these two specific dim sum but it is the deep fried they are good at. We can tell that anything deep fried was satisfying our tummies.
This is where I’m going to stop because it wasn’t necessary for me to write about the followings. But here is a gallery of the dim sum we ate.
I have no doubts that Silver Dragon was better than we expected. I would come back again only if I had to. And the reason I would come back is because of the rice rolls. I swear I couldn’t find such nice rice rolls anywhere else. Silver Dragon’s dim sum was overall good. There are some quality in some of the dishes but not all of them. Like the BBQ pork bun was pretty bad. It was dry, too much bun, and the BBQ pork in it was dry. The steam shrimp dumplings were also not in its best game. The dumpling wrap is very sticky and it breaks because it sticks to the paper and sticks to your chopstick. I must mention, half way through our meal, the lunch hour crowd came in. Most of the customers were occasion. Strangely not a lot of Chinese were dining. I was not happy I had to eat Chinese but I was glad I get to come to Silver Dragon afterall. It was not the best Chinese dim sum place but it has its best dishes. Gotta give kudos to them!