I always wonder how many people know the origin of Ginger beef. Ginger Beef is a popular dish which consisted of deep fried strips of beef in a sweet and sour sauce julienne with carrots. You can easily find it in many food court places that serves chinese food and in some chinese restaurants. I am an Asian decent myself and whenever people ask me about ginger beef, I can never figure out the Chinese translation to it. Nor do I ever recall ever hearing about it during the time I lived in Hong Kong. So why is everyone in Calgary raving about how good ginger beef taste in a chinese restaurant? Apparently, this favorite westernized Chinese dish was invented 40 years ago in Calgary. To our curiosity, my husband convinced me to go to Silver Inn for dinner where the tasty ginger beef was originated.
Silver Inn is a quaint restaurant located right on the busy center street. When I walk right in, I noticed the atmosphere was a bit off. Where are the large crowds and noise level that you normally hear when you walk into a chinese restaurant? It was quiet, but with a few patrons quietly dinning under the dark dim litted room. Chinese restaurants are bright and loud! Not quiet and romatically lighted! Anyways, we are here for the food, not the atmosphere.
Once we are sitted, we ordered the main dish ginger beef and shrimp fried noodles. The ginger beef was good, but it wasn’t what we expected as it wasn’t as deeply fried and crunchy as we normally get them. We think the Ginger beef at Spicy Hut was better. Spicy hut was more crunchy and more spicy. The shrimp fried noodles were not the thin deep fried noodles as we expected. It was the think noodle type. So overall the food was ok, nothing great. if you are looking for authentic chinese food and atmosphere, this is not the place to be.
Besides the food, I was surprised they charged us for tea! Calgary chinese restaurants never charge us for tea! And they serve us fortune cookies just to remind me that their target clientel are westerners. I mean when I looked around the room, their clientele are almost all elderly westerners. The owner even seems to know them on a first name basis. Definitely a local joint! Also, the service is attentive and they ask how our food was. Another sign that they don’t serve authentic Chinese food because I always get poor service at a real authentic chinese restaurant. The ruder their service is, the better their food taste (wait did I just said that?). Maybe that is a bit extreme, but I’ve been to several good authentic Chinese restaurants and they all seems to have bad service. Such as taking forever to serve you and yell at you when you ask to clarify something on the menu. They felt like we are wasting their time. And if you don’t like their service, they don’t care because there are other people lining up to get in because their food taste that great!
Anyways, I apologize I went on a ranting spree here. I just wanted to give some context of what experiences I had with Chinese restaurants and Silver Inn just doesn’t stick to that paradigm. Although they may have invented ginger beef, I felt many other places have taken it to the next level to make it taste better. I love to support local business but Silver Inn is not the place that I will be going back. But if you like Chinese food and want a quiet place to enjoy the food and expect clean dishes with good service, this local flare may be worth a try.