Our Calgary Food Tour continued with a series of food excursions, but I’ve decided to save that for another day so I can talk about our dinner at Anju Restaurant. We hit Anju on our second evening in Calgary for an early dinner before A. and I saw her friend star in “Evil Dead: The Musical” (side note – this was super campy but fun).
Anju is where I introduced A. to the glory that is Korean soju. Soju is a rice based alcohol that I would describe as a milder, sweeter vodka that tastes great mixed with things like aloe vera juice. Because I love soju, we ordered some mixed with aloe vera – it was 750ml so essentially a 1:1 ratio of soju (one bottle = 375ml) to aloe vera. A bonus for us was that it was Soju Saturday (yay!) and we got 20% off our bottle.
Anju is Korean for small plates so we decided to do everything tapas style and share a bunch of dishes between the three of us. Let’s just jump right in with the Panko Breaded Crispy Tofu with Sautéed Kimchi and Citrus Aioli. I am a huge tofu fan so I enjoyed this and the kimchi added a nice kick to the dish. Although I am going admit that if I had to choose between this dish and some of the following ones – I would probably pick the others first.
Afterwards we had the yam fries… These were ridiculously delicious! A. and I have serious opinions about fries (French and yam varieties) and we really enjoyed these. The texture of the fries was a great balance between crispy and soft but they were not soggy at all, even towards the end of our meal. The aioli was a great match for the fries as you would get a hit of sweet and spicy in each bite.
I insisted on ordering the pork belly sliders because I think they look too adorable and I had to have them. These were pretty tasty but there might have been a bit too much bun for me – that didn’t stop me from eating the entire thing though! I liked the addition of cucumber into this because it helped cut some of the sweetness in the hoisin by giving this a more refreshing flavor.
The pork shoulder tacos were very good and I liked the mild level of spiciness in it as I cannot handle super spicy food. One of my favorite things about this dish was that the taco contents weren’t too wet so it didn’t cause the tortilla to tear easily as I was eating it.
Out of all the non-dessert dishes that we ordered, I definitely liked this one best. The oxtail tortellini is Carmen’s favorite and I can see why. These were just amazing bites of deliciousness. I am surprised at how well the truffle oil, soy sauce and grana padano worked together. I can’t even describe how good this was… So all I can say is try it, I don’t think you will regret it.
And finally we get to the famous gochujang wings. All my twitter friends rave about these and I am now joining them as these were some of the best wings I’ve had in a long time. The wings are fried to crispy perfection with very moist meat inside and then coated in a spicy gochujang (spicy Korean chili paste) sauce. It was a smidge too spicy for me as I can’t really handle spicy foods in general, but I didn’t care – I just drank more water (or soju) to kill the burn in my mouth. If you don’t want to have the gochujang sauce with the wings, there are other options available but I would say these are a must if you’re going to visit Anju. In fact, I was so inspired I tried to make my own gochujang wings at home a few weeks later.
After all that, we still had room for some dessert! The pear dumplings were not bad but the ice cream was my favorite part. When you have the dumplings together with the ice cream, it was nice with the mix of hot and cold but if I had to pick one dessert (only one?!), I would definitely get the black sesame creme brulee instead.
Speaking of the black sesame creme brulee, this was my hands down favorite dish all night. The sugar on the creme brulee was beautifully torched and I heard a hugely satisfying crack as I tapped my spoon on the surface. The black sesame custard was amazing – I loved the texture and flavor of it and once you added the Chantilly cream… my mind was blown. If you don’t order anything else (but I highly recommend that you try some of the other dishes) – you must get this.
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
Our dinner bill came out to $110 before tax and tip and $30 of that was due to our soju and a kimchi caesar (not pictured) so it was $80 for food which averages out to $10/plate. Our bill breakdown was:
- Soju and Aloe Vera – $20 (normally $25 but it was 20% off for Soju Saturday)
- Kimchi Caesar – $10
- Crispy Tofu – $10
- Yam Fries – $9
- Pork Belly Sliders – $10
- Pork Shoulder Tacos – $10
- Oxtail Tortellini – $12
- Gochujang Wings – $13
- Pear Dumplings – $8
- Black Sesame Creme Brulee – $8
So our bill with tax and tip would have worked out to ~$135 which makes it about $44/person. We were really full after this meal and could have done with fewer dishes but it was worth being super stuffed just so I could sample so much of the menu.
Overall though I had a great time at Anju – our server was fun and super adorable as he always came by and made sure our soju glasses were full (how dangerous!). The food was delicious and I am definitely going back for the oxtail tortellini and black sesame creme brulee the next time I am in Calgary.