Because I am committed and determined to create interesting blog posts, I decided to go to two YYC Thai restaurants in the span of two days to test out their food. You may think that it’s just because I had Thai cravings and really, really love coconut rice and cashew chicken, but no – it’s because I was committed to writing a Thai food blog post. Not at all because I’m gluttonous and wanted a ton of Thai food.
Over this weekend, I went to the Rose Garden on Stephen Ave and Juree’s Thai Place on 16th Ave. Rose Garden has been our go-to for Thai for a long time. The only issue is that it’s located on Stephen Ave, which is a far drive for me, and a relatively long walk during the winter months. Juree’s Thai Place is a lot closer, and the parking lot doesn’t require a 10 minute walk.
For the sake of the blog post, we ordered the same items from each restaurant: cashew chicken, red curry chicken, and coconut rice. At Rose Garden, we did order chicken satay and spicy basil prawns, but that was only because we had a larger party.
Rose Garden is tucked in a small, unassuming location of Stephen Ave. I’ve only been there a couple times when it was busy – often, the restaurant is quiet, with a few scattered tables. Typically, low patronage isn’t a great sign, but I think it is in large part due to the fact that I go for dinner. The Rose Garden is catered more for those who work near Stephen Ave and would like a Thai lunch buffet.
The coconut rice here is divine. The rice is soft, not chewy, and offers the distinct and heavy aroma of coconut cream. Never overcooked, the rice absorbs the flavours and sauces of the rest of the dishes you will order. Especially delicious is when you order coconut curry and mix it in with the rice – the blend of mild spice, herbs, and coconut is amazing.
The cashew chicken here is my favourite. The chicken isn’t too fried, and the sauce is a perfect sweet combo with the cashews. Fried chicken can often make you feel bloated, but the cashew chicken from Rose Garden features a softer crunch with a great blend of sweet and savoury.
Rose Garden’s red curry chicken carries a hint of coconut, and heavy basil tones. I would have preferred this curry to be spicier, and while Thai curry is often mellowed by the coconut cream, I felt like this curry would have benefitted from more of a hit. Don’t get me wrong – the curry is still delicious. I just wish the flavour was spicier. However, Rose Garden’s other menu items, like the chicken satay with the amazing peanut sauce, the cashew chicken, and the spicy basil prawns, definitely make up for the curry.
Juree’s Thai Place has some crazy, inventive decorations, and the place was bustling. Nearly every table was full, and thankfully, we were squeezed in just in time.
My favourite item from Juree’s was the red curry chicken. We were actually offered three different levels of spice, and chose medium, which was perfect. The spice didn’t overpower the coconut and basil flavours, but was enough to add a hit of something different. I would definitely go to Juree’s just for the red curry chicken next time!
In comparison to Rose Garden, Juree’s coconut rice and cashew chicken were lacklustre. The rice was on the drier side, and didn’t have enough coconut cream for me. Though once mixed with the red curry chicken, the rice had a much smoother texture.
Juree’s cashew chicken had a deliciously sweet and spicy sauce, but was fried on the heavier side, leaving a dry interior. Unfortunately, the cashew chicken left us feeling a bit bloated. Next time we go to Juree’s, ordering the red curry chicken will be at the top of my list.
Ultimately, Rose Garden is the Thai restaurant I will be going to for my fix. Juree’s was good, and I’ll definitely be back if I want Thai that’s a bit closer. However, Rose Garden’s coconut rice can’t be beat, and their ingredients are fresh, cooked perfectly, and their chicken is always soft and juicy. If you want some delicious Thai food in Calgary, head over to Rose Garden on Stephen Ave, and if you’re really hungry, go for their lunch buffet and eat your heart out.