Delicious Country – Calgary, AB
1325 1 Street SE
Sometimes in life, you’re faced with the prospect of a long night with your can of Chunky Soup, or wandering out into the city and dining alone. Shokutsu is a big proponent of dining alone. I am a bit less enthused about it, but do so anyway – that can of Chunky can live to see another day.
On a weekday, when it’s late, there are generally very few options for food. With the exception of many of the diners in town (Denny’s, Blackfoot Diner, etc..), your general choices are Chinese, Chinese, and Chinese. The higest concentration of these restaurants is Chinatown. And lately, there has been a lot of turnover in several locations.
Delicious Country is in a location that used to be any number of iterations of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. A location that has consistently failed, their focus on Chinese (by way of Fujian Province) has the potential to generate a lot of business. Good Chinese restaurants are not generally lacking for business.
Inside, the decor itself has been cleaned up a lot. A very simple black and white decor, with condiments on the table, and some jade and sculptured pieces on the walls, they’ve done a great job of cleaning up what used to be a tacky, questionably clean location.
The menu is Chinese Heinz – 57 flavours with a variety of types of food ranging from Cantonese, Sichuan, Peking, Shanghai. There’s generally something for everyone on the menu, including one of my favorite comfort foods Mapo Tofu. Mapo Tofu is a popular Sichuan dish that combines meat, tofu, wok-fried in a spicy bean sauce. Chen Kenichi, from the original Iron Chef, has this as his signature Sichuan dish. On a cold day, nothing is more comforting and warming than Mapo Tofu. While the spice is often tamed down here in North America, it typically has a strong heat, with a big kick from all the Sichuang peppercorns.
Delicious Country does a very interesting rendition of Mapo Tofu. First off, it is a HUGE portion. This is definitely a meal for two. They use fresh tofu, which is a bit of a departure from the standard packaged tofu. The meat is well fried, and the spice – a small notch above your typical level of heat. Lots of chili oil, which is a bit different. This is slightly radioactive. I’m used to a bit more corn starch. But it’s tasty. Rice is ordered separately, making for one heck of a meal for one.
Dining alone is generally an accepted thing at most Asian restaurants. You won’t be asked if someone is joining you, and you don’t be stared at and treated like a second class citizen sitting at a table for 2. So the next time you’re craving some food, save that can of Chunky, and head down to Chinatown. If you happen across Delicious Country, give the tofu a try. It’s “Delicious”.