I’ve heard about Silver Dragon but I never had the inclination to try it out before. Everyone that’s ever recommended this restaurant to me doesn’t eat traditional Chinese food. The bad ass crew I hang out with at lunch – the Ivy Leaguers – also confirmed this is a place that caters to the ginger beef crowd.
Inside, Silver Dragon is a nice looking restaurant. I like the lanterns and particularly, the attentive and friendly service. My buddy Office Dad knows the owners. He stated Silver Dragon is one of the oldest restaurants in Calgary. When I told him I thought Hi-Ball (now located in Montgomery after the fire at Stadium Shopping Centre) was the oldest, he corrected me and said Silver Dragon still has the original owners.
Dim sum is served old school – via carts. We ordered sui mai, which are steamed pork and shrimp dumplings. Served hot, the pork was juicy and flavourful. The shrimp had a good snap to it and the wrapper was nice and firm.
The best dish we tried was the squid curry. The squid was tender and soft, piping hot. The curry flavour was very nice. We savoured each bite.
The ha gow was good. The wrapper was soft and the shrimp ball was large but lacked that satisfying crunch and sweetness. I learned that I’ve been have been eating these shrimp balls wrong for decades. When we were kids, my older brother would eat only the shrimp and the younger one would only eat the wrapper. I eat the shrimp and wrapper separately. Office Dad shook his head in disgust. “Ha gow is meant to be eating with the skin and shrimp together. Otherwise you’re just eating a wrapper and how good would that taste on its own?” He’s right, but he could lose the attitude in his tone.
The only thing we didn’t like was the taro balls. Normally, these deep-fried delights are my favourite dish. This dish weren’t even lukewarm. There was hardly any pork filling and the little there was dry. My final beef was that the taro barely tasted like taro. The flavour was more like a potato. You know how people cut narcotics with cheaper ingredients to make more money? That’s exactly like the taro here, but the result isn’t deadly.
Prices are average for Calgary. Most dishes range from $5.25 to $7.00. I think the food would be even better if it was busier. The problem with the cart system is if it’s not busy, the food circulates around the room which results in less than fresh dishes.