My family recently had a reunion in Calgary. Whether we’re from New York, Hong Kong or Canada, the Pangs love to eat! Here are five stops on our Calgary food tour, including some places off the beaten path.
1. Poutine at New York Fries
Poutine is French fries with cheese curds and gravy. A savory snack from Quebec, it has spread across Canada.
We had two servings from New York Fries at a mall’s food court. We ate one with gravy, and the other with spicy pulled pork.
My mother bought both for the price of one ($4.69 U.S. dollars), thanks to a coupon that the mall, CrossIron Mills, gives only to tourists.
Despite its name, New York Fries is a Canadian company founded by two brothers from Ontario.
Address: 261055 CrossIron Blvd., Rocky View, Alberta
2. Analog Coffee
The downtown cafe “offers a variety of yummy drinks, such as Japanese-style drip brewers and lattes.”
Analog had an awesome atmosphere. Vinyl records line the shelves, artistic photos adorn the wall, and the smell of freshly ground coffee lingers in the air.
My cold brew coffee, however, wasn’t strong enough for me. Both its color and taste were diluted. Maybe the barista added too much ice.
When I ordered a small latte, I asked for an extra shot of espresso. That did the trick. The drink tasted much better and stronger.
Address: 740 17th Avenue SW
3. Papa Chocolat
He’s Calgary’s most famous chocolate maker. But Bernard Callebaut can’t even use his own name.
Over three decades, the fifth-generation chocolatier expanded his business of retail shops selling high-end chocolate. The fifth-generation chocolatier became known as the city’s king of chocolate.
After a real estate deal went bad, his business went into debt. Another company bought Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut. He lost his brand, business and the right to use his name.
We met Callebaut at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. He was selling his goodies, which ran the gamut from chocolate pretzels to chocolate smartphones. Definitely worth a taste!
4. Calgary Farmers’ Market
Speaking of the Calgary Farmers’ Market, it offered a gamut of goods. Vendors were selling spices, bison, cheese, seafood.
One merchant sold only olive oil. Another sold paintings. Analog Coffee had a booth right by the indoor market’s.
The market has various food stalls, including Vietnamese food, sushi and crepes. Were my belly not full from a ramen lunch, I would have eaten more here.
We did buy two palm-sized pies from a pie baker. One was filled with butter chicken, the other with mushrooms. The baker also sold dessert pies.
One thing didn’t make sense, though. The market closes at 5 p.m., rather early in a region where the sun doesn’t set until 9:30 p.m.
Address: 510 77th Avenue SE
5. Chinese Cowboy Waiters
At most dim sum restaurants, ladies push food carts around while yelling each dish’s name. You stop them and order a dish.
Not at T.Pot China Bistro. They give you pencils and paper slips that list every dish. Want pork buns? Draw a check mark inside a check box.
Our trip coincided with Calgary’s rodeo festival. People take the Calgary Stampede very seriously. Even T.POT’s waiters and waitresses wore bandannas and flannel shirts!
“T.Pot” is a play on words. In Chinese, a dim sum meal is called “drinking tea.”
Address: 9650 Harvest Hills Blvd NE
Honorable Mention: Ninja Soup Ramen
I ate ramen with “ninja soup” at Muku Japanese Noodle House. It cost $7.67 U.S. dollars.
Muku describes “ninja soup” as a blend of “pork and chicken broth, seafood, vegetables.” The dish itself, koku-miso ramen, consists of barbecue pork, green onions, bean sprout and corn.
Yelp rated Muku as four out of five stars. Although Japanese people run the place, some of the noodle bowls clearly had Chinese designs. A bit disconcerting.
A friend of my cousin drove us there. He even treated us all to lunch! Canadian hospitality, eh?
Address: 326 14 Street NW
My Foodie Family
My sister came up with the idea to visit the coffee shop, a farmers market and a ramen shop. My cousin takes great food pictures; I used Oic Yan’s photos of Calgary Farmers Market, Papa Chocolat, Analog Coffee and a poutine closeup for this post.