Sunday, April 10, 2011

13 years later at Silver Dragon

The last time I visited Silver Dragon in Calgary was over a decade ago.  The restaurant was pretty much a go to dim sum restaurant every time we took a trip down to Calgary.  Each visit had been pleasant and I talked to a few people who are acquainted with the restaurant often referred to as "the place upstairs".   My recent trip to Calgary landed us with the question of where to go for dim sum this time.  Due to time constraint and limited knowledge of the city, it was a coin toss between Silver Dragon and Forbidden City.  Between the 2 restaurants, they both have decent ratings on Urbanspoon which made it even tougher to choose.  In the end, we stuck with what we know and revisited Silver Dragon in Chinatown once again.  

After all these years, the restaurant was still as busy as I had remembered which was a good sign.  After about 20 minutes, we were finally seated in a far back corner which made it hard to see the food carts coming around.  The service was also a bit slow due to the lunch rush and our (almost invisible) location.   The main staples, hagow and siu mai (shrimp and pork dumplings), were the first to arrive the table.  They were fairly large and though the siu mai were a bit too oily, they were quite decent.  I was craving something deep fried, and since I didn't see any deep fried shrimp wonton with mayonnaise coming around, I settled for its cousin made with spring roll wrapping and sweet sauce instead.  When I bit into the fried wonton, it was really crunchy and flakey.  Unfortunately, it was almost entirely just wrapping.  I couldn't find where the shrimp was until I get to the centre, which was only about the size of a nickel.  I found that to be a little stingy on the filling even for my taste.  Next up was the steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce.  The skin on the feet was tough and leathery and I kept smelling orange peel from the marinade.  The flavour was just sitting on top and there wasn't anything to bite into.   Again, I was also disappointed with that dish.  The sticky rice with chicken and chinese sausage or lo mai gai was actually okay.  The texture of the sticky rice was tender and chewy.  The pan fried turnip cake came out bland and mushy and was not enjoyable even with an aid of sauce.  And the last thing we ordered was the beef rice roll or cheong fan and I didn't like the spongy, gummy texture beef paste either.  Overall, I was disappointed with the food as they were not as good as I remembered.  

Silver Dragon Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. The worst thing about established restaurants is that they get 'tired'. And they don't even know it. And start shovelling out the same uninspired, mediocre fare day after day. Nobody tells them any different ... so they don't change / smarten up.

    As far as Chinese food is concerned in Calgary this is a sad tale because we are really deficient - there are very few good Chinese restaurants here.

    Because of this I've almost gone exclusively to Vietnamese food - it's better - and cheaper.

    1. I totally agree with you.. and it's not just in Calgary. Once some restaurants get the hype they need, they either become too tired, too cocky, or too greedy to care to check back on the quality control or customer service.