Panda Hut Express will be at Taste of Edmonton 2022! Learn more about the history of a favourite Prairie dish here.
Did you know that you are tasting Albertan history with every bite of ginger beef?
Along with other staples of Chinese-Canadian cuisine like Thunder Bay bon bons and fried macaroni, you are not likely to find ginger beef outside of Canada. This crispy and tangy dish is so ubiquitous that it may be shocking to learn it was invented in 1970s Calgary!
With an influx of Chinese immigrants due to the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chinese cafés started popping up across Western Canada. But, due to the Chinese head tax, these immigrants were prohibited from working most jobs. With limited options, they turned to restaurant labour and Chinese cafés became a crucial part of Prairie communities. For a while, these cafés primarily served Canadian cuisine. Slowly, they began incorporating Westernized takes on traditional Chinese dishes—and ginger beef was born! The dish is the sweeter, saucier, and deep-fried sister of a traditional Chinese dish.
So grab a bowl of Ginger Beef from Panda Hut Express at Taste of Edmonton! They will also be serving Lemon Chicken and Crab & Cream Cheese Wonton. And while you’re at it, add Ann Hui’s book Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Café and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants to your reading list! It’s the perfect resource to learn more about the rich cultural history of Chinese food in Canada.