I love the subs and the owners at the Thi Thi (Chinatown location), but I also really like Trung Nguyen. The line-up is also shorter than Thi Thi and the service is just as nice. I usually get the Assorted Sub ($5.50) but the Sate Chicken ($7.50) is also an excellent choice.
The baggette is soft with a crusty exterior. The ratio of meat and veggie to bread is perfect. The assorted sub comes with cold cut meat, mayo, pickled carrots, onions, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro. I’ve added extra vegetables before but it just throws off that balance of bread vegetables and meat.
The sate chicken is good, with its spicy peanuty sauce. However, there’s just something classic and comforting about the assorted sub. Whichever filling you pick, you can’t go wrong. The prices are great and the flavour unmatched. I noticed a duck sub ($7.00) which I’m interested in trying if I can manage to pry myself away front my beloved assorted sub.
The female owner told me to call ahead of time and she’ll come out to hand me the sub, so that I won’t get a parking ticket. Apparently, Calgary Parking is lurking out often enough that it’s not worth the risk of parking illegally. I don’t drive but I appreciate the gesture.
Kim Chi House is located in Chinatown, inside the City Plaza building. The main floor houses several restaurants, such as Han’s, Delicious Country and Gui Lin. Kim Chi House is one of three stalls in the food court. The other two stalls include a bakery and a vegetarian joint.
Don’t make the rookie mistake I made when I first ate at Kim Chi House. I ordered a rice plate. What you need to order is the stone bowl bibimbap. What a deal! For $10.00, you get a sizzling stone bowl filled with rice, vegetables and a protein of your choice. All stone bowls come with complimentary vegetable side dishes, barley tea and miso soup.
The owner carries these red hot stone bowls to your table. Please do him a favour and get out of his way. What’s up Hamsup was his usual oblivious self and blocked the owner as he was carrying out trays of the heavy, sizzling bowls to a table.
I enjoyed the Spicy Pork and Crispy Calamari bibimbap stone bowl. The squid was tender and the batter was crispy. The addition of the julienne carrots, daikon and sprouts cut into the spicines and oiliness of the rice and squid. I let the rice sit against the hot stone for a few minutes, which made into a crunchy layer. The portion of the pork and calamari dish was large. I ended taking about a quarter of it home.
Office Dad ordered the chicken bibimbap stone bowl, which came topped with an sunny side up egg. The chicken is chopped up finer than Stone Bowl Korean. I like the big juicy pieces of chicken from Stone Bowl Korean, but flavour-wise, I prefer Kim Chi House.
The food court gets busy, with the vast majority of the customers digging into a stone bowl. The husband and wife team do an admirable job churning out bowl after bowl during the lunch rush. I’ve been a few times and the quality and presentation is consistent. If you’re in the hood, I would totally recommend this cash only joint.
Chong Fat is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants. The hours are odd. The restaurant closes early for dinner and isn’t open on Tuesdays. The room itself is utilitarian. However, none of that matters to me. It’s the food and service I love. The dishes are simple and well-cooked. The food isn’t sloppily cooked like so many other Chinese restaurants in Calgary.
Most customers order the hearty noodle soups, like the meatball, brisket or seafood balls. The homemade fish cakes have a nice bounce and a nice sweet, clean taste. I often see customers chowing down on plates of chow mein and duck. Lately, there’s one dish that has caught my fancy but it isn’t on the menu.
What is this mystery dish? Eggplant, tofu and peppers are stuffed with shrimp paste. Doesn’t sound exciting but it is amazing. The eggplant is silky smooth. The peppers are crunchy and spicy. The exterior of the tofu is crispy and the interior is soft and light. The savoury oyster sauce has that wok hei smell and taste that I love.
You can order this dish with rice or soup noodles. I prefer rice, so all that sauce gets soaked up. A whole plate of the stuffed vegetables and tofu with rice will fill you up.
A warning if you drop by during the lunch rush. If you’re only one or two people, you might have to share a communal table. The last time we sat at a shared table, Office Dad chatted with a group of four. When I got up to leave I said jokingly,”Thanks for the meal. That was very generous of you. Next time it’s our treat.” Everyone at the table knew I wasn’t serious with the exception of one guy. He looked alarmed and said firmly, “No, I’m not treating.” I walked up to the front and I made a big production of pointing to his table while I paid for our meal. The guy stood up and shouted, “No. You pay for yourself!”. Hahahahaha. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.
Chong Fat is located in Far East Shopping Centre. You’ll know you’re in the right place if you smell the Chinese herb store. There’s a reason why this shopping centre is commonly referred to as the ‘stinky mall’.
If you want to try the dish I described above, just show the server the picture on my blog. I always find the service to be welcoming and kind, despite my limited Cantonese. Cash only.
Ms. Biz, LV and 24/7 Mom took me out for a belated birthday lunch. As we walked over to Chinatown, we have to cross this tricky two-lane left turn intersection on 4 Ave SE and 1 ST. Ms. Biz always sticks our her arm straight out and stares at the drivers as we walk. However, this time around it didn’t prevent a driver from almost hitting us. Ms. Biz turned around and pointed at the driver and then at the walk sign, her Louis Vuitton bag swinging on her dainty arm. The driver scowled at us as we commenced and tried to gun pass us. Seriously! There is no respect for pedestrians in Calgary.
After my near death experience, I wanted to eat at Chong Fat. The owner always gives me a compliment, and greets me with a a friendly leng lui (pretty girl). I didn’t get my customary greeting, so I’m guessing I wasn’t looking so hot after almost being run over.
Ms. Biz consulted with everyone before ordering Soy Sauce Duck ($9.99); Fish Balls and Noodle Soup ($8.99); Black Bean Beef Noodles ($10.99) and Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice ($10.99).
The duck was meaty and lean. I like how the soy sauce flavour is soaked into the skin. The cuttlefish was razor thin, crunchy and not chewy. A winner in my book.
The black bean sauce was not overpowering. Everyone agreed it was ho sic (delicious). The beans were crunchy and sweet. The beef was tender. We couldn’t finish this dish because we ordered so much food.
The fish balls and fish cakes are homemade. Ms. Biz really liked the bouncy texture and she was relieved the fish balls didn’t have that mushy texture.
The highlight of the meal was the fried rice. This dish was hou hoeng (fragrant). You could smell the wok hei and contrasting taste of the salted fish, which gave it a nice umami flavour, kinda like anchovies in a Caesar salad. The rice was caramelized from the wok. There were so many little treasures in the rice. Honestly, this was the best fried rice I ate in Calgary, almost as good as my famous duck fried rice.
I love the friendly service and the homestyle food. Remember it’s cash only. Thanks girls for a wonderful lunch. On our next foodie adventure, we are heading to Ms. Biz’s favourite Thai restaurant, Khao San Thai Kitchen.