On Sunday morning, Beep Beep and I went shopping at Calgary Farmers’ Market. We picked up a cappuccino and chai latte from Analog and walked around the market. After I finished showing her around my favourite vendors, she told me there was a shop she wanted to check out. I was curious where she wanted to go, as she didn’t say a peep when I gave her my tour. Let’s listen to “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye for this post.
“Where is this place?” I asked. She spun around and said, “Right here.” I looked around and noticed several displays of crystals. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that this is where she was most interested in shopping. I must have stood around for half an hour while she cradled different rocks in her palm, feeling their energy. I overheard her talking to the staff about a green crystal that grew within another crystal. I felt like L, but without his patience. While waiting for her to pick a suitable rock, I called Golden Sands and made a reservation for 11:30 a.m.
Getting a table here during peak hours is stressful. There was a long line-up when we arrived at the restaurant. The host was surrounded by customers, who were constantly badgering him for a table. I bugged him several times because I was worried we would be overlooked due to my inability to speak Cantonese or Mandarin. The host was polite and professional, and I have to say, adept at calming the angry. This was a tough crowd. Beep Beep could sense my anxiety rising with each passing minute. I started to wish she brought in her healing crystal. She passed me a menu to distract me. When I apologized to her for waiting at a crowded entrance, she said not to worry, and she knew the food would be good because it was so busy. I’m telling you, getting into a club in Vegas is easier than eating at Golden Sands. I even considered slipping the host a twenty-dollar bill, but I figured the other customers would eat me alive. Half an hour later, when the host gave us a table, I was so happy I wanted to hug him. I imagine that social display of affection during COVID would have gotten me kicked out of the restaurant.
We ordered the Steamed Scallop w/ Black Truffle ($8.88), Deep-Fried Minced Pork Dumplings ($6.50), Pan Fried Turnip Cake ($6.50), Special Seafood Rice Crepe ($7.50), and Lemongrass Pork Chop ($9.88). I tried to order the Crystal Noodles with Beef Brisket & Tendon and Salty Fish with Scallop, Tofu and Eggplant Hot Pot. However, the kitchen was out of beef brisket, and the hot pot was only available at dinner.
The wait was worth it. The steamed scallop dumpling arrived piping hot. The shrimp was large and crunchy. The scallop was silky smooth and sweet. The truffle wasn’t overpowering. Beep Beep mentioned that she’s never seen this dish in Vancouver. I told her the chef is from Vancouver, which is why Golden Sands is better than what we expect in Calgary. I hate to say this but Vancouver/Richmond has a much higher standard when it comes to Chinese cuisine.
The best dish was the seafood rice crepe. The rice crepe was similar to a wrapperless shrimp spring roll. The shrimp center was filled with a large cylinder of toothsome, bouncy shrimp. The noodle itself was glossy and silky, hot and gooey. Beep Beep mentioned she thought the seafood rice roll was unique and tasted fresh. I would order this again.
The lemongrass pork chop was covered in a salty, pungent orange sauce. The batter was soft, puffy and sticky. I found the meat fatty and chewy. I liked the addition of the onions and seaweed-like garnish.
The turnip cake was lightly fried. The cake itself was soft and fluffy, and the texture was smooth. I would have preferred if the radish cake was served at a warmer temperature. No biggie, as I still enjoyed it.
Beep Beep enjoyed the minced pork dumplings. The pork filling was saucy and hot. She liked that the dumplings were shaped and coloured like a carrot. I found the dough sweet, and still sizzling from the fryer.
Service at Golden Sands is excellent and far better than what I experience in Vancouver or Richmond. I found everyone friendly and helpful, despite how busy it was. I plan to go back for dinner to try the other dishes Miss Foodie recommended. Hitting the Sauce gives Golden Sands two fat thumbs up.