Chorney-Booth: Golden Sands raises the bar for local dim sum and Chinese seafood options

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Chinese cuisine has long been part of the Canadian cultural fabric. Westernized Chinese restaurants are important to food communities across North America, while places that serve more traditional Chinese dishes are increasingly easy to find in major cities, attracting customers seeking cuisine from various regions of China, as well as local takes on modern food trends. . Chinese food lovers will often argue that the best of these less westernized Canadian restaurants can only be found in Vancouver (or better yet, Richmond, near the Vancouver airport), but a new restaurant in Thorncliffe-Greenview specializes in fresh produce and flavorful cuisine that rivals that of the West Coast.

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Golden Sands was dreamed up by Anna Ho, who moved to Calgary after running a restaurant in Vancouver, but yearned for the food she enjoyed in British Columbia. Ho had long wanted to open a restaurant in this city to satisfy the cravings of other Chinese Canadians who lacked dishes they couldn’t easily find here while introducing a style of food for the rest of us that we may not have known before. When a large food court on Center Street north of McKnight Boulevard became available, Ho knew she had found the perfect spot. She and her business partner Jason Lu set out to build their restaurant.

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Owners Jason Lu and Anna Ho of Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Calgary.  Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Owners Jason Lu and Anna Ho of Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Calgary. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

“One of the reasons I moved here from Vancouver was because there were so many opportunities, but I also found Calgary lacked some of Vancouver’s food options where everything is just cooler” , says Ho. “We felt like there was a void we could fill when it came to the quality of the ingredients.”

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The renovated room is light and bright, with 160 seats, many at large round tables designed to bring groups of people together to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. At the bottom, the basins are filled with giant crabs, one of the restaurant’s luxurious specialties. The piece is cozy but also has a sense of white tablecloth formality to match Ho’s dedication to the best of the best when it comes to ingredients. Although Golden Sands has found a number of good suppliers to deliver fresh seafood and other items, it is not uncommon for staff to travel to Vancouver to source specialty ingredients that are not readily available in Calgary.

The Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant in North Calgary is well-appointed for families and groups.  Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
The Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant in North Calgary is well-appointed for families and groups. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Armed with kitchen staff who hail from some of those upper-tier Vancouver restaurants, it was more than clear that Golden Sands offers something special when it comes to food. After opening last fall, the restaurant quickly caught the eye of some of Calgary’s most discerning food bloggers, who were particularly raving about the restaurant’s lunchtime dim sum offerings. It’s easy to see where this excitement is coming from – Golden Sands’ dim sum list is long and the food is amazing. The menu includes favorites like steamed pork shao mai sticky rice balls with fish roe ($7.50), gorgeous swan-shaped taro puffs ($7.50), pies sweet egg custard ($5.50) that sell out often and steamed pork buns ($6.50). Lunches and brunches can also order from a menu of filled rice pancakes, congee, and rice and noodle dishes.

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Crispy chicken with sliced ​​garlic, front, salt and pepper squid, top left, and sweet and sour pork with pineapple dishes from Chinese seafood restaurant Golden Sands.  Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Crispy chicken with sliced ​​garlic, front, salt and pepper squid, top left, and sweet and sour pork with pineapple dishes from Chinese seafood restaurant Golden Sands. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Dinner is a different matter altogether, and at 5 p.m. Golden Sands transforms into an elegant seafood restaurant. That’s where delicacies like Abalone with Sea Cucumber come in ($43.88 ) and these giant live crabs and lobsters (market price), plus other dishes like salt and pepper squid ($18.88), chilled chicken with black truffle sauce ($18.88), a lemongrass pork chop ($16.88) and various hot dishes.

Golden Sands is located at 5010 Center St. NE It is open daily for lunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend dim sum. The restaurant can be reached at goldensandscalgary.ca or 403-455-2777.

One of the specialties of Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant is fresh crab.  Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
One of the specialties of Golden Sands Chinese Seafood Restaurant is fresh crab. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

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In other restaurant news, now that staff are beginning to level off and more workers are being called back to their offices, restaurants that previously only dined in are expanding to offer a lunch service. One such place is DOP, the ultra-popular (and extra-small) Italian restaurant that took over the space previously occupied by Bar Von Der Fels last year. Due to the buzz and size, getting DOP dinner reservations has been no easy task, but the restaurant recently added lunch service on Thursdays and Fridays to make way for intimate business lunches and to casual evenings on the weekends. robust power supply.

Other popular dinner-only restaurants are expected to follow suit as more Calgarians leave their home offices, so be sure to check with your favorites to see how things may change as we all get used to it. a little more to break bread together. In the meantime, DOP is located at 1005A 1st St. SW and reservations can be made at dopyyc.com.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @elizaboothy or Instagram at @elizabooth

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