Ginger beef: A Chinese food favourite in Calgary

Alberta’s favourite Chinese-Canadian dish, ginger beef is believed to have been invented decades ago in one of the city’s Chinese restaurant kitchens. Battered, deep-fried beef strips smothered in sweet-and-tangy orange chili sauce (sans ginger!), it’s a guilty pleasure for foodies and just plain old delicious comfort food for everyone else. These restaurants serve some of the best ginger beef you’ll find anywhere.

Silver Inn Restaurant

2702 Centre St NE, Calgary, AB T2E 2V6

Credited as the inventor of the dish in a Royal Alberta Museum exhibit on Prairie Chinese restaurants a few years back, Silver Inn serves the glowingly delicious ginger beef this prestigious nod implies. Located in a squat, brick and ceramic-tile building on Centre Street and 26th Avenue Northwest, Silver Inn serves Peking and Szechuan dishes as well as Prairie Chinese standards.

Silver Dragon Restaurant

106 3 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B6

One of the oldest and best-known restaurants in Chinatown, Silver Dragon is a casual, contemporary spot accented with dragon-and-phoenix designs. Its à la carte lunch and dinner menus feature ginger beef. A perfect balance of meat and sweet, it’s one of a handful of western Chinese dishes on a menu that’s primarily Cantonese with a selection of other Chinese regional favourites including Szechuan dishes.

Shanghai Classic Restaurant

A handful of chopped onion, another of diced carrot, plus a whole lot of sliced beef all tossed together in that magical sauce equals one heck of a ginger-beef plate. Pair this Shanghai Classic dish with standout standards such as pot stickers, stir-fried snow pea leaves and Singapore-style vermicelli. This tidy restaurant and popular takeout spot is tucked away in a petite strip mall on Centre Street Northeast in Beddington Heights.

Kam Golden Inn

107A 2nd Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B2

This landmark Chinatown restaurant with the yellow-and-red awning keeps late hours that make it a favourite after-dark dining spot among night owls. The Golden Inn always seems to exude a warm, sociable glow, and the food at this family-run place is always spot on. Recently refurbished, its menu features a raft of Cantonese dishes from hot and sour soup and singing chicken to Shanghai noodles and steamed lobster. And, of course, the restaurant serves a killer classic ginger-fried beef. Arrive hungry.

Golden Gate Restaurant

14-430 Acadia Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2J 0B2

If it ain’t broke, ginger fry it! Among this Acadia restaurant’s mix of western and regional Chinese dishes (and Thai appetizers and entrees) you’ll find its spicy ginger beef dish. You’ll also find tentacled and terrific ginger squid as well as ginger chicken. Ginger beef also figures into Golden Gate’s set Peking dinners. It may be located in an un-fancy strip mall, but the popular takeout spot has a loyal clientele.

Kam Han Restaurant Inc

2314 Spiller Rd SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4H2

A brick banquet hall serving Szechuan food on Spiller Road Southeast in the Ramsay neighbourhood, Kam Han’s menu features a saucy mix of Chinese dishes. Beef, chicken, pork and squid are available as ginger-fried sharable entrees, and ginger beef is one component of the restaurant’s set dinners. Also visit the restaurant’s Lake Fraser Drive Southeast location.

You & Me Restaurant Ltd

201-233 Centre St Sw, Calgary, AB T2G 2B7

A Hong Kong style café and restaurant overlooking Centre Street, U & Me in Chinatown does serve a few Westernized set meals and individual entrees including salt-and-pepper beef short ribs, stir-fried beef in black bean sauce and battered, ginger-fried shredded beef. The dish is featured on both the dinner menu and late-night menu, which is available from 9:30 pm to 8 am when dim sum service starts.

Leo Fu's Restaurant

511 70 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2V 0P5

Located in Kingsland, Leo Fu’s offers a lengthy menu of Szechuan and Mandarin cuisine. The beef here is served in multiple flavourful permutations, including with orange sauce, stir fried with shrimp, Hunan and Mongolian style, curried and with oyster sauce. But this generous selection just wouldn’t be complete without ginger beef that regulars order again and again.

2324577 Alberta Ltd

1006 16 Ave Nw, Calgary, AB T2M 0K5

Kitty corner to SAIT on 16th Avenue Northwest, Emerald Garden is not fancy, but its loyal dine-in and takeout patrons swear by the place. Specializing in seafood and Peking-style dishes, the restaurant serves ginger-fried beef, but also ginger-fried pork, prawns and squid.

Golden Hill Chinese Food

2-12 Castleridge Dr NE, Calgary, AB T3J 1V4

Tucked away in a tidy Castleridge strip mall near the intersection of Falconridge Boulevard and Castleridge Drive Northeast, Golden Hill serves a tight selection of Chinese standards including Peking-style dishes. Entrees include a lightly spicy take on ginger beef. Also order it as the main-course selection of the restaurant’s set dinner served with wonton soup, chicken-fried rice and spring roll. Or, as one of two combo-meal entree selections with chicken-fried rice.

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