We recently celebrated my mom’s birthday and for family birthdays we always have Chinese food. It seems as though my parents don’t have a favorite Chinese restaurant so they’re always trying a different one in the city hoping they’ll find one. It’s tough because Chinese food in Calgary is not the best compared to Vancouver and Toronto. My mom read in the newspaper that Emerald Palace recently hired a new chef so she wanted to checked it out and this is where we ended up for her birthday.
We started off with the peking duck course. Peking duck is one of my favorite dishes so I was happy when they set this down on the table but my happiness soon turned to disappointment. Although I appreciated their attempt to obtain that awesome crispy duck skin, the duck itself was quite dry and tasteless.
Next arrived the lettuce wraps. Lettuce wraps just isn’t my thing. I usually find that the fillings don’t fit into the lettuce wraps and with one bite, everything just comes tumbling out and I’m left with a mess on my plate. There needs to be some sort of glue to hold the filling together like rice. I did not taste this dish but the others found it to be quite good.
This fish maw soup was thick and chunky, there were lots of fish maw pieces in the soup but I did find it a bit bland.
I really enjoy eating this dish of shrimp in salty egg yolk sauce when it’s made with peeled shrimp. But with unpeeled shrimp, I find it just defeats the purpose of the salty egg yolk coating. This dish was pretty standard and I didn’t find anything stand out about it.
This dish of snow pea leaves and mushrooms was good. The snow pea leaves were tender and the flavors were just right.
The deep fried crispy chicken was bland. In most restaurants a small dish of salt and pepper is offered to dip your chicken in but this was not offered to us. The shrimp chips that accompanied this dish were not bad and I was surprised that they weren’t soggy and stale like most of the other restaurants.
Nothing particularly stood out from the crab in ginger and onion sauce dish either. It was on par with other Chinese restaurants.
The steamed tilapia was also pretty good. It was steamed just enough and the fish tasted pretty fresh.
The special fried rice was very disappointing. It was filled with many many ingredients like bbq pork, roasted pork, shrimp, carrots, peas, etc but the rice was dry and the meat was not uniformly cut. The pieces of roasted pork were in large pieces and the bbq pork was diced finely and nothing seemed to meld together.
I really enjoyed the vegetarian yee mein with snow peas and mushrooms. The dish was seasoned well and the noodles still retained it’s al dente texture.
We ended the night with a bowl of dessert soup. This one was tapioca based and filled with yam and taro. It was welcomed and I liked how they took the time to cook something other than the standard red bean dessert soup.
Overall, I’d say the food was average. There are many other better options for Chinese in the city. The service was as good as you’d get from any other Chinese restaurant which means not overly attentive but you can always flag someone down to ask them for water or anything else you may need. The restaurant is busy though, very popular with the neighborhood crowd and I don’t think you’d be able to get in without a reservation.
55 Castleridge Blvd NE