Bobby Chao’s Chinese Cuisine and Dim Sum
#18 – 34 Edgedale Drive NW
When you look at Chinese cuisine, I find it to be an interesting study in regionalism. While we often lump “Chinese” food together into one category, I can think of no other culture that has such a clear differentiation in ingredients, styles, and techniques between regions. Whether it’s four, eight, or ten defined regional styles (with thousands of provincial distinctions), the differences between regions can be as pronounced as the difference between most countries.
I think I sometimes forget just how big China really is – and that regional differences, climate, and local ingredients are bound to strongly impact how a cuisine develops. In fact, based on how old Chinese culture is, are we looking at the future of other large countries – say for example the US, and what lies in store thousands of years in the future? Very strong, independent culinary identity based on geography?
In Calgary, the lines between regions in Chinese cuisine are blurred- mostly because there aren’t a lot of restaurants that present “pure” cuisine. In fact, i’d argue that there are none, but the most predominant cuisine is almost always Cantonese. Not a huge surprise based on the makeup of the Chinese immigrants in Calgary itself.
While most Chinese restaurants are concentrated in a small area between 4th Ave and 16th Ave N, in the deep Northwest there are small enclaves of high quality Chinese restaurants. One of my favorites, Edgemont Palace, was a standard for years before a variety of unfortunate incidents removed it from the consideration. Bobby Chao’s is another of those establishments.