April 6 update: Please see further comments posted on April 6, 2011.
I believe money can be made in the restaurant business, good food at a reasonable price and service, how hard can it be? But many restaurateurs just want to make their quick bucks and don’t want to put much care nor attention into the quality of the food they serve. As a result, Chinese restaurants that serve good Dim Sum is very hard to find in Calgary (especially in Calgary South).
Well, this past Sunday I had a great Dim Sum lunch at Chef Lau’s Buddha’s Veggie (its Chinese name: Fusion 菜) and I can now say there is a good Dim Sum restaurant in Calgary South that I can enjoy. And it is quite convenient (close to Chinook Centre).
We had one vegetarian and 6 meat/seafood dim sum dishes. Following are the snapshots of the names & prices on the menu and pictures of the dishes we had this Sunday.
Veggie Shrimp Dumplings (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)
Comment: The ingredients are finely chopped and the results is a very tasty creation.
Shanghai-style Soup Buns
Comment: Like Chef Lau said, the tiny “buns” are very juicy by design. And the skins are thin and you have to be careful when you pick it up. I was extremely careful but still manage to break a few of them. (Tip: take one and put it into your bowl and then add the red vinegar.) Very tasty.
Honey Comb Tofu
Comment: This is a must have. I love this dish the most. The tofu is quite soft in the centre. And the skin is “honey comb” textured. Very tasty.
Fish Roe Siu Mai
Comment: A nice “siu mai”. Love the texture and the mixture of ingredients. And like the touch of adding fish roes on top after the steaming process.
Supreme Shrimp Dumplings
Comments: The shrimps are quite big. Very tasty. Because I was quite hungry and tried to take out a dumpling while it was hot and the skin still very soft, I broke the skin of the dumpling. May be the skin were a little bit too thin this day? Or the stick together?
Comment: Very tasty. Another favourite of mine.
Mayonnaise Crispy Rice Rolls
Comments: One of the most pleasantly surprising and yummy dish. Very light and tasty. Highly recommended.
The above dishes not only look great but they are very tasty as well, highly recommended. Now, let me say a few words about the English names of the dishes. To be honest, the English names of the dishes can be a bit cryptic (e.g. “Chiuchau Fangor”) to people who haven’t have a lot of dim sum. I’ve written about translating names of Chinese dishes into English in this previous blog entry and Chef Lau can take a look in updating the names for future if he wishes.
A few more words about naming. Chef Lau explained to me Buddha’s Veggie is an established brand name in Calgary which is why he wishes to keep it even he has extended the menu to add meat and seafood dishes.
I think Chef Lau has to solve this dilemma in the long run, and I am afraid name change will likely be required. Will see. Now, articles like this will help people to know more about this fine restaurant but it is still confusing when the menu has been extended.
The reason I decided to put a spotlight on this fine restaurant is because it is good quality and value Chinese Dim Sum is hard to find in Calgary (especially Calgary South). And I want this restaurant to be successful so that it will continue to thrive and I will have one more place to eat.
If you do decide to visit Buddha’s Veggie, I hope you like the dim sum dishes. And to keep Chef Lau working hard, tell him if you enjoy the food or tell him if you think the dishes can be impoved.
The following is my English interview with Chef Lau talking about Buddha’s Veggie, his experiences as a chef and the 7 types of dim sum we had this past week.
Calgary Herald’s review, “Buddha’s Veggie Restaurant“.
May 22, 2010 Update: Had a great dim sum lunch at chef Lau’s restaurant again today. Repeated some of our favourites we tried and loved last time like Supreme Shrimp Dumplings, Fish Roe Siu Mai, Honey Comb Tofu, Chiuchau Fangor, and Mayonnaise Crispy Rice Rolls. We also tried chef Lau’s new creation: Abalone Siu Mai. I am happy to see chef Lau creating and trying new recipes. The sight of a whole (very tiny) abalone sitting on top of a Siu Mai is quite pleasing to the eyes. (sorry, I didn’t bring a camera) At the same time, the tasty but more chewy texture of an abalone is tough to mix well with Siu Mai. So I look forward to chef Lau creating more dishes over time, and adding some of the really good ones to the regular menu over time.
When I saw Chef Lau put his heart into his creations, it reminded me of the similar steps taken by the likes of Gordon Ramsay as expressed in his book “Three-star Chef” which I borrowed from the Calgary Public Library.
NOTE: All food review ratings are based on the initial date of review. Food quality may improve or deteriorate over time. Feel free to share your personal experience (respectfully) in the comments section.