Restaurants & Bars 2

Mah Mah Asian, Cgy: As "hole in the wall" as they come

John Manzo | Jun 15, 200803:13 PM

There are many high-rise condos in Calgary's downtown west end that were built before the Centre City Plan mandated certain design standards to enhance the public and pedestrian realm (consider the new construction in Victoria Park for how this SHOULD have been done), so that whole area, around 10 St between 8 and 5 avenues SW, has the odd character of being both densely populated and, at the same time, desolate. There's simply nothing there. However, even in this urban planner's nightmare there are some gems among the few storefronts. We've discussed Matsarang, fast-service Korean, on here before; that's in Tarjan Pointe, which has a full blocks of retail bays but sadly little real retail there... in the same building is a pretty good (based on two visits) Chinese place called Pearl Fantasy, and I noted that it's celebrating its first anniversary, so maybe there is hope, even if Key West Bar and Grill is closed and I'm not sure that wine bar (in the arts and crafts house to the north on 10th) is still open....

Hope is also furnished by the recent opening of a very interesting tiny place called Mah Mah Asian Food (or cuisine? There's not an actual sign)- it's in West Pointe, the building just south of Tarjan, which the good (if architecturally addled) people at Point of View also built with main-floor retail (Bosa Developers of Vancouver, of all places not to honour urban design principles, put zero public amenities in their three massive condo towers and that's part of why the area is so unwelcoming and undiscovered). This place was a pizza joint for some time, with completely forgettable pizza, but now it's this little- I don't even know how to categorize it. It has a menu of subs (viet? The owners are from HK), rice and noodle dishes, noodle soups of what provenance I know not, and what I got: sticky rice. A big slab, leaf wrapped, for $4.50. Now this might be more than some dim sum but it was delicious, perfect texture (sticky but not gummy and sort of crisp around the edges) with lovely pork inside, fresh and savoury, not gamy and MSG-tasting. I really enjoyed it and am very curious about how the other items are. Nothing is more than about $8.

This place seats TWO so I assume they're hoping for lots of biz from the condo dwellers (and why not, there are something like 4000 residents within a block of this place).

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