The Dessert House/B-Tsai (Calgary) – Solid late night desserts in Calgary for 10 years +
I’ve been coming to B-Tsai or Dessert House as it is known in English since I was in Grade 11. Prior to being able to imbibe, we were always looking for a place to eat, drink, and just socialize. We hit up Dairy Queen a lot… but there is only so much DQ you can eat. And it closes at 10pm. It is funny. From Diana Krall’s album The Girl in the Other Room, one song has a phrase: “…going to the Diary Queen at dusk”. I guess my experience with DQ was a shared cultural phenomenon?
Dessert House has served simple dessert and snacks for many years but their specialty has been bubble-tea. If you don’t really know what that is… I invite you to the year 2000 when people were listening to ‘N sync and all the Asian kids were drinking brightly coloured drinks with black “pearls” out of really thick straws at the local arcade. Dessert House moved locations in Chinatown a few years ago and now they have much more seating. They also have expanded their menu substantially.
These are the Shanghai Style Steam Dumplings off their new menu for $8.95. These are some of the best I’ve had in Calgary. The noodle is thin, there is a lot of juice, and it just bursts in your mouth when you bite it. There is a ton of pork flavour in the juice in the dumpling. They are a bit expensive though… almost $2 per dumpling. I recommend putting the entire dumpling in your mouth. This is not a two bite dumpling.
This is the Steam Sticky Rice for $3.95. Basically glutinous rice wrapped around some pork and dried pork shavings. Very tasty, salty, slightly sweet, and satisfying.
This is the Stewed Egg with Fresh Milk (hot) for $5.50. Basically a gently baked egg so that it is really smooth and slippery. A good dun-dan (as it is called) is judged on the consistency of the egg. This one was velvety smooth and delicious. Not too sweet either!
This is the Stewed Egg White with Fresh Milk and Black Sesame (hot) for $6.25. Basically the same idea as above. Again velvety smooth and delicious. A nice dessert after a heavy meal. It satisfies a sweet craving without being sedating.
This is the large Fresh Fruit Drink (Fresh Watermelon with Mango Star Jelly) for $4.95 + $0.75 for the jelly. Dessert House makes some of the best bubbletea I’ve had. This is attributed to great ingredients and their careful consideration of the sugar content. They tend to make their drinks just sweet enough without being too sweet. Other places I’ve gone to tend to go overboard with sugar and it hurts your teeth! The mango star jelly is really interesting as a change but I still prefer the plain ol’ bubbles made of tapioca.
Overall, Dessert House is the only real option for late night dessert in Calgary. They close at midnight on the weekend. Fortunately, their drinks are great and their snacks are delicious. Be prepared to wait though… service can be a bit slow. Usually it isn’t a problem because you come here after another meal and need some time to digest anyway.