Is anyone else disappointed in our Chinatown? I’ve been here for over 25 years and I swear there were more Chinese vendors before than now. Please show your support by ‘liking’ my post if you agree. It used to be the central place to go for Chinese food and to buy Chinese ingredients for my cooking. Now it’s hard to find anyone who speaks Chinese in Chinatown. The energy is just not there anymore.
When Chinese New Year came about, I went down to celebrate it at the Cultural Centre. I hope you did too. Gung Yee Fat Choy to you too! Before getting into the crowded centre, we went for lunch on 2nd Ave. at a place called Great Taste Chinese Restaurant. My sister-in-law read the name to me in Chinese but it didn’t sound like anything close to Great Taste.
Was it great tasting food? You can say it was. We ordered what adjacent tables ordered and were pleased. We had two rice cake dishes, one in soup and one fried. I like the fried one better because I heard the one in soup was mushy. The duck was delicious. It came served with bread dumplings, the kind that you order at Shanghai restaurants. The duck was crispy and was nicely marinated. Skip the dipping salt if you’re on a low-sodium diet because it is quite salty. The duck is good with the dumplings or with rice.
After attending the Chinese Festival on Saturday in Chinatown, I have to admit that it was better organized than the first year. My day started at the James Short parking structure with a nice surprise – free parking. That was very nice of the City to provide that to alleviate parking woes in Chinatown.
We were greeted by the dragon or at least the kung fu master who was holding the dragon’s head. He said we had some time before they started the dragon dance so we decided to wonder and browse the kiosks selling knick knacks.
There were the usual stalls that were selling iPod cases for $5, $10 and $15 for the premium cases. One stall sold Angry Birds slippers, Angry Birds pillows and Angry Birds keychains. There was even t-shirts that read Save the Birds – not sure if that was a play on the Angry Birds franchise.
Our friends from Asia Snacks were setup, but not selling our favourite egg puffs. They were too busy with taking orders for their Vietnamese sandwiches, to fire up the waffle-like maker so they kept telling us to come back later. We ran out of patience and ended up at the Dessert House for the egg puffs which were excellent. The mini doughnuts van was out and so was the Noodle Truck, both were very popular. TD Canada Trust were giving out personalized zodiac pins, ZipCar was promoting their new hourly car rental service in downtown Calgary and GlobalFest was selling tickets at their booth. There was something for everyone that attended the festival. Too bad it was only for one day, August 11th but I’m glad they ran it from 10am to 8pm.