Sushi Kai Calgary – All you can taste buffet review

Friday, 16 July, 2010


To attract people to its new Kensington area to try its food, Sushi Kai Calgary created an “All you can taste buffet” (note: it is still an “All you can eat buffet“). The food at Sushi Kai’s old Chinatown location were reasonably good so I decided to give the new location’s buffet a try and review them at the same time.

[July 29, 2011 Update: Check out “Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review” which I have gone back to eat again a few times!]

Deep fried shrimp (3/10) & oyster (8/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 1

The batter for the deep fried shrimp wasn’t the fluffy tempura batter I had expected so I was disappointed. But the deep fried oysters used a lighter tempura batter which I liked more and it was quite tasty. Unfortunately, when I ordered some more deep fried oysters later, the chef (or a different chef?) decided to use different batter which I didn’t like at all.

Second batch of deep fried oysters (3/10) (they looked and tasted different from the first batch):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 13

Sushi (8/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 2

The presentation and taste of the first dish of sushi were pretty good. I particularly like the Mackerel and BBQ Eel (which were warmed up by the chef).

Now, what I can’t understand is why the second batch looked and tasted different? You can’t see it but the BBQ Eel were cold (the chef should have warmed them up like the first batch) and the Mackerel didn’t have the cuts and burn-marks like the first batch (see following photo).

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 11

Consistent presentation and taste of food over different days (let alone on the same night) should be a minimum requirement of any self-respecting restaurant. Most customers won’t go back after a bad food experience at a new restaurant.

Hand cone & Sushi Rolls –

Toro hand cone (7/10), mango paradise (8.5/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 12

Naraku roll (7/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 9

Deep fried shrimp roll (Age sushi) (1/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 8

The novelty factor of the deep fried shrimp roll ended badly after the first bite. Bad job in deep frying the shrimp roll. The Naraku roll was ok, not something I would order again. I enjoyed the Mango Paradise rolls and did order it again and still enjoyed it the second time. Other restaurant uses a thin slice of real mango but I found the mango sauce was an cheaper but still ok substitute. The Toro hand cone was ok, the distribution of the toro was a bit uneven as there were no fish left in the last bite.

Deep fried squid legs (6.5/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 10

The two same sauces are used here. And the chef might have forgot to add a tiny little bit of salt to the dish.

Mixed veg tempura (7/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 7

I’ve had better tempura, they were ok.

Steak & Chicken (1/10 & 3/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 5

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 6

The steak was so tough and chewy, Sushi Kai needs to buy a slightly better cut of beef or prepare them better. The chicken was barely ok as I can cook better chicken than this.

Octopus balls (7/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 3

For someone who likes octopus balls (essentially a ball of starch with a tiny bit of octopus in the middle), it was ok so I leave it as a 7/10. For me, I never like it and this one hasn’t changed my mind.

Grill squid (8/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 4

Other than the sauces (more on this later), the grill squid was tasty.


Sushi Kai seems to sprinkle the same two sauces on most of their dishes. Why? They should really spend a little bit of time to create appropriate sauces for each dish. There is no point in using the same sauces over and over and over again as it shows a serious lack of love of food.

Presentation & plates

Except the first dish, every other dishes were put on a cheap round glass plate. Why? Food presentation should be pleasing to the eyes and the big round plates do take up way too much space on the table. And have I said they look ugly?!

Final Comments

I want to give this restaurant another chance but given some of the poorly made dishes (simple stuff like beef, chicken) and the inconsistency of the food (the first vs the second batch of sushi), I don’t know if I will give it another chance.

P.S. Website

These days, every restaurant should have a proper website. And failing that, a simple basic site with basic information, including the hours of operation, should be posted. (note the word “Hours” is on the site but without the actual hours of operation).

Home page of


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.

Follow Me Foodie Asian Food Giveaway (Vancouver & lower mainland residents only)

Friday, 7 May, 2010

I love food and have been reading the really cool Follow Me Foodie blog that reviews restaurants & food in Vancouver (and sometimes even from around the world, e.g. Korea).

Mijune is having a Follow Me Foodie Asian Food Giveaway (contest closes May 20th, 2010) for people living in Vancouver and the lower mainland area, so check out the Giveaway and good luck. You may win one of the cool goodies.

Happy Chinese New Year of Tiger (Our Lunch & V-Day dinner)

Sunday, 14 February, 2010

Wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year of Tiger.






2010 V-Day and Chinese New Year dinner

Banana & blueberry muffin

Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food 2010 TED Prize talk (video)

Saturday, 13 February, 2010

Jamie Oliver is one of the most well-known TV chef and he was given a 2010 TED Prize and his prize video has now been posted online (see below). It is a great watch. Pay attention to the part about the sugar in milk!

By the way, TEDx is coming to Calgary this April 2010. Will see how TEDx is taking shape in Calgary when more details are available. Good speakers will make a big difference of the success of Calgary TEDx.

My Valentine’s Day home-cooked dinner @ Esquire – How Men Eat

Monday, 17 August, 2009

Home-cooked Valentine's Day Steak Dinner by you.

I am excited to see my “Home-cooked Valentine’s Day Steak Dinner” featured in “How Men Eat” in (see picture #11 or a screen capture here).

When one receive a sweet message from saying,

“In addition to credit and a link, you’ll get our undying devotion and respect, plus the ability to brag that you’ve got a photo up on and all the attention that comes with it.

It is definitely an offer one can’t refuse! :)

P.S. Special thanks to Ms. E. from for loving my photo and calling it an “incredible image”.

P.P.S. In our household, Schweppes Cream Soda is our Champagne. :)

Dim Sum & Money @ Ginger Beef

Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Dim Sum @ Ginger BeefOver the weekend, my better half and I tried the dim sum at Ginger Beef. They just had added dim sum to their lunch menu (a lot more varieties of dim sum than their usual lunch buffet.) Amongst the five things we tried, we liked this and this the most, this one is nice, and this and this less so.

Because dim sum is something new for them that they are trying out, they are also doing surveys to see what items customers like best and least, and also finding out what suggestions customers may have. So we will definitely give Ginger Beef another try as there are not many dim sum options in Calgary South and I like their attitude of trying to improve things.

Sep 2011 Update: Ginger Beef has stopped offerring dim sum in the weekends and has gone back to offerring all you can eat buffet.

Real Travel in Hong Kong

Wednesday, 21 January, 2009

My friend Daisann McLane is a travel writer,photographer and essayist. Her “Real Travel” column appears in every issue of National Geographic Traveler, and her articles about Hong Kong’s food, culture and politics have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune and Slate.

If you or your Canadian or American friends need some expert advices in traveling to Hong Kong and Macau, tell them to contact Daisann if they want to

“… find the best Cantonese restaurants–not the over-hyped and pricey hotel restaurants in the latest Michelin Guide, but the word-of-mouth ones that only locals know. Or you want a deeper insight into the history and politics of Asia’s most multi-cultural, cosmopolitan city, and see how the “One Country Two Systems” relationship with mainland China really works.” And much more.

Check out Daisann’s Real Travel Hong Kong site where they can contact her for information and cost.

P.S. Daisann knows Hong Kong eateries well as I personally benefited a few times when she showed me a few good word-of-mouth restaurants. The food were inexpensive but very tasty.

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