Calgary’s food culture is greatly enhanced by the fact that one in six Albertans are born outside of Canada.
Chef Roy Oh, owner and chef at Anju Restaurant, was born in Edmonton but his parents immigrated from Korea. Chef Oh learned to cook from his mother. And from a few years at the school of hard knocks learning the restaurant ropes at Joey Tomatoes in Calgary. He brings Korean sensibility to his fusion abilities inspired by beautiful Alberta produce. He makes his own kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage) and tofu – using his Mom’s recipes – and the results of his efforts are delectable.
Korean food flavours include sultry undertones of sesame and a zippy Sriracha like spicy past called gochujeng. Tofu and seaweed, pork and seafood, soy and yuzu (an asian lemon) all factor into many dishes. Chef Oh weaves these into a tapestry of local ingredients like farm fresh tomatoes from Gull Valley, fresh B.C. sockeye salmon or Alberta Beef oxtail.
The photo with chef Oh above shows a few fresh plates of his famous Crispy Tofu on a bed of kimchi and maple-glazed pork belly. The photos below are of Gull Valley Tomatoes with Tofu, Korean Fried Chicken Sliders, Oxtail Tortellini and B.C. Salmon Poke. These are five dishes I recently enjoyed. I’m sure it will change the next time I visit as there are many more things on the menu that look enticing.
You can join us Saturdays and Sundays for our Savour 17 SW food tour where we feature Anju Restaurant and chef Oh’s food as one of our stops or do what I did last night and just pop by and see if there’s room at this bustling (open late) eatery on 17 Ave SW at 4 St in Calgary. On second thought – better make a reservation, it was VERY busy.
Plan to enjoy the patio in summers or the beautifully decorated main room with its collection of Kimchi pots and soft natural tones. There’s an incredible beer, wine, sake and cocktail list because after all, Anju is a Korean word for “food that goes with alcohol.”
We say Gumbai to that – that’s Korean for Cheers!
Founder/Owner – Alberta Food Tours, Inc.