The true test of good Chinese food is at 2 a.m., the morning after you’ve eaten out. If the first thing you’re craving when you open the fridge is more of what you’d eaten the previous night, the restaurant has passed the test.
And while we can debate the authenticity of many of the Chinese dishes served in Alberta restaurants – after all, the Chinese cuisine we see here is a hybrid of Western and Asian ingredients created by the first waves of migrant workers to come here – there is no debating how addictive some of The Lingnan’s offerings can be.
The Lemon Chicken Canton is maybe the most addictive of them all; it is an all-too-perfect mix of savoury and sweet. Nearly as habit-forming is the peaches-and-cream shrimp; seafood combined with fruit and a creamy sauce that’s also a winner when it comes to mixing salt and sugar.
Just in case your table finishes them off when you’re at the restaurant, it’s best to go with double orders of these dishes. You’ll want to have some for the refrigerator the next morning. –Steven Sandor
10582 104 St., 780-426-3975, thelingnan.com
Dim sum is served daily until 3p.m. and, even on a cold weekday, this southside restaurant draws a pretty decent crowd, with more than three-quarters of the tables full.
If you need to try just one item, make sure it’s the curried squid; the meat is covered in a sauce that isn’t light on spice. But the squid itself isn’t chewy or tough; it’s just the right texture.
Of course, no one goes to dim sum to try just one thing, right? You’ll want to sample as many of the dim sum staples as you can. The steamed shrimp dumplings and pork offerings are solid, and you will be judged if you don’t try the chicken feet. Yes, those funny looks are aimed at you, chicken-foot denier. –Steven Sandor
#700, 3803 Calgary Tr., 780-430-7720, beijingbeijing.ca
Sitting down to dim sum at Golden Rice Bowl, there are enough food carts going by in the bustling room to make your head spin like the lazy Susans on the tables. Don’t be intimidated, though – just about every choice is a good one.
The siu mai (minced pork and shrimp dumplings) are juicy and succulent. The barbecue pork buns are light and airy inside, with a sweet and crispy topping. If you’re feeling more adventurous, get a plate of crispy fried sardines or the bean curd rolls filled with mushrooms.
Just remember: At dim sum, as in life, seize opportunities as they go by, because they may not come around again. –Glenn Cook
5265 Gateway Blvd., 780-435-3388, goldenricebowl.ca
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