Road trip down to Calgary with my family~
We left our house ~7:10AM, & tbh, we didn’t have much on our schedule for the day bcos it was only a 1day trip. It was mostly for eating, & the whole time we were there, we spent it in Downtown/Chinatown area.
zzzzzzzzzZZZzzZ in the car haha just kidding. I can never sleep/nap in the car or on the plane -.-
We planned to get there ~10AM bcos that’s when the dimsum starts. We did arrive ~10AM; however .. good luck finding parking in/around Downtown/Chinatown!! I didn’t think it would be so bad considering it’s a Wednesday >.< Can’t imagine what it would be like on the weekends. Also, their parking meters are different than the ones here in Edm; ours is just…insert coins like a slot machine, with pretty standard rates, I would say. Not in Calgary! Spent a good 5mins figuring out how to work the meter, which looks like an ATM - no coins allowed, for some reason, even though there were “coin” options indicated on the meter; you have to know the zone your vehicle is parked in (4 digit #); have your vehicle # ready; pay attention to what the max parking time is (usually 2 or 3hrs max); do quick math to know how long you’re gonna park there for. This last one is important bcos .. there are different rates :’( The 2nd zone we parked in, which had a 3hr max time: it was $1.25 for the 1st 30mins, $1.50 for the 2nd 30mins, $3 for the next hr, & then $0.25 for every 5mins……..
Anyways, we parked like 2mins away from 龙成商场/Dragon City Mall. It has 3 levels: only the main & 2nd floors are shops; the 3rd floor is strictly a restaurant. I wouldn’t exactly call it a mall because it’s pretty small, & there weren’t a lot of shops. Shops here include “souvenir” shops (sells all sorts of phone charms/cases, to vases, to Chinese home decor products, etc), Chinese “HMV” that sells dramas/movies/concert DVD’s/CD’s, Chinese herbal medicine store.. yeah pretty much it.
The main reason why we came here was for dimsum @ 富丽宫/Regency Palace. It’s the Calgary equivalent of Edmonton’s Dynasty Century Palace (aka the old Marco Polo) that’s located in Chinatown. It’s a family-oriented restaurant that also does banquets & large community events. It has a long history, making it a hallmark of Calgary Chinatown.
Not surprised, even the interior was similar to the Dynasty Century Palace we have here. Quite a big restaurant, with lots of seating, & a decent-looking reception area; there’s a stage, a buffet area, & a bar inside.
豉汁蒸排骨/steamed spareribs with black bean sauce, & 鲜虾肠粉/shrimp rice rolls.
hehe what you can’t NOT try out at any dimsum place = 烧卖/pork dumplings & 虾饺/shrimp dumplings.
Not bad!! haha I heard dimsum in Calgary (or just.. anything, for that matter, in Calgary) is better than Edm -.- I can’t really judge by 1 meal so… but the pork dumplings, I can say, are better than Edmonton’s. It has more shrimp & mushrooms in it, I find. & also, it has scallops, which the ones here may or may not have. Altogether, I was satisfied with the meal =)
Then we found our 2nd parking spot .. & walked in the Chinatown/Downtown area. Chinatown was alright, I didn’t take pics bcos it kinda looked like the Chinatown here. The only difference would be Calgary’s Chinatown is bigger… I did, however, take many pics of Downtown Calgary~
Old Hudson’s Bay Building.
Bank of Montreal.
Both of these buildings are old; what I liked about them was that they’ve been kept in their original form, rather than our Downtown, which is continually undergoing construction & renos. These buildings are in really good shape.
The Calgary Tower - pretty much symbolizes Calgary.
Walking in Downtown Calgary.
Their City Centre Mall is sooooooooooooo bright & blinding! Not kidding .. its glass-tiled ceiling + white tiles/walls of the mall… You really don’t need any lighting in the main mall area, just the individual stores. Plus all the reflection from the rails of elevators… It felt a little too bright for me.
^ Stephen Avenue. It’s a pedestrian area like our Whyte Ave. Even though it was Wednesday, it was packed bcos it’s IN Downtown (so lots of office ppl having lunch).
This guy was singing Gangnam Style hahaha
Those directories can be found at the end of each block. I found them to be very useful/informative. You really don’t need to carry around a map.
Love this leafy structure
One of the cooler shops I found on Stephen Avenue haha a bit different than our Whyte Ave is that there are fewer shops on Stephen Ave - most are restaurants & pubs. I don’t even find that many coffee shops, which was a bit unexpected.
I was a little excited when I saw the “Art Gallery of Calgary” lol but unfortunately, it wasn’t the Art Gallery…….. Not sure why the sign says that :S
Moving away from Stephen Avenue, but still in Downtown - heading in the direction of “larger” avenue #’s.
I thought this was pretty cool .. used to be the train station, but it has now become a bridge.
Reminds me so much of New York……….. :’( I wanna go back to NYC again!!
Let me introduce you to one of our family cars - the 2004 Nissan Altima, aka “Altie” :P thanks for taking us to Vancouver in 2005, Banff/Jasper in 2008, & now Calgary in 2013.
A foreshadow of what’s for lunch………………….. Doesn’t that look like “tornado potato”, the famous Korean-style fried potato??? 8D
Since this Calgary trip was mainly for food, of course I did research for it :D Considered to be a hidden gem of Calgary, I can’t miss out Soban Korean Restaurant!! It’s located in Dragon City Mall - main floor in a little corner……
The 5 banchan: sweet potato tempura, radish kimchi, beansprouts, peppers+onions, & fried potato coated with sugar. Besides the radish kimchi & beansprouts, the other 3 banchan’s are new to me (had sweet potato tempura before but not as a banchan). I LOVE the fried potato… We don’t have that in Edm :’(
GamJaTang - pork bone soup with potatoes & vegetables. I’ve never had this before… It was super rich, but not too salty. The cabbage was the best part bcos it soaked up the flavor of the soup. & surprisingly, there was quite a bit of meat left even though it was technically pork bone soup. Yummy!
Dolsot Bibimbap - stone bowl rice, with veggies, egg, mushrooms, & the heavenly bibimbap sauce. I don’t think I have had this dish with mushrooms in it before. Weren’t much in it, but it added another variety of texture ^^
Bul-go-gi Bento - usually bento boxes appear in Japanese cuisine, but not in Korean. Decided to give it a try. Bulgogi was good; the same sweet potato tempura & fried potatoes from earlier. The sauce of the salad was surprisingly good! It was sour, kinda of like vinegar, but I also tasted Korean soy sauce (salty, & more on the sweet side compared to Chinese soy sauce). It was very appetizing.
YukGaeJang - spicy (shredded) beef soup with veggies & glass noodles. Amazing! Umm 7.5/10 for spiciness :D Glass noodles were delicious! I don’t know what ppl normally go for when they order a soup… For some ppl, the meat cos well..it’s meat. For others, the soup bcos it’s a soup, afterall. Then there are ppl like me, who go for the things that soak up the soup, like glass noodles/veggies that are in the soup, as well as, the product you get from mixing soup ingredients & plain steamed rice haha nonetheless, I think this dish will satisfy anyone who belong to any of the above categories :)
Will be back for you again, Soban!!~
After lunch, we did some Chinatown driving, & passed by the Chinese Multicultural Centre. Our main goal was to search for the city’s best eggtarts. I have read reviews & got the name “Diamond Bakery”, so we were looking for that.
Found it! Except … closed on Wednesdays! :’( It’s located in the basement of a mall, in a hidden corner, again haha “hidden” gems, I tell you. At initial glance, I thought this place closed down… Look at how torn-looking it is.. They didn’t even have their HOURS sign. But I found the sign on the far right (above the yellow thing), taped to a “public” area instead of on their gate/property HAHA. Well, at least I’m glad they’re not closed for life… Will be back for it next time I’m in Calgary.
As such, we didn’t get eggtarts for afternoon snack :(
Heading out now - Cross Iron Mills, which is an outlet mall located ~25mins away from Downtown Calgary. Heard REALLY good things about this place; ppl from Edm travel down here JUST to shop, so I thought it was bcos #1. cheaper; #2. nice mall; #3. more choices. What does it have that Edm malls lack?!
Answer: Coach factories (1 for mens, 1 for womens)
*sigh…………. I am fully aware that this is a food + travel blog, but I just have to say this on here. Right now. I absolutely dislike above stated brand. That’s all~ But if you’re a fan, GO THERE & CHECK IT OUT! :) I can’t tell you anything about it though .. Walking in there was never a thought.
I consider myself to be in the ”efficient shoppers” category, & so I only go to the few stores I am interested in, esp since we were a little tight on time (& my mom hurt her foot). However, it was disappointing as well :( Stores were neat & tidy, wasn’t crowded at all, friendly staff; but styles & prices were same as in Edm. Bcos it’s an outlet, I had some diff expectations, & unfortunately, they weren’t met. I didn’t feel like there would be a need for me to come down here for shopping again… It would be good to browse through once every few yrs (unless they open stores I’m interested in), but really, nothing special. A “might as well”/”do we have time? We have some time.” place if I pass by again.
One thing I do applaud for is the layout of the mall. I love the diff themes of the “neighbourhoods”. I especially liked the Fossil Neighbourhood ^^ had dinosaur spine display on the ceiling.
This one was pretty too~~
Altogether, I definitely would come back again :) Not just for those eggtarts, but perhaps when there’s an event on Stephen Avenue (like the Fringe or Street-Performers, etc). I love squares & pedestrian streets like these!!
Bye for now, 403!