Foreign Concept | Calgary’s 20 Best Restaurants 2019

Asian, French and Canadian flavours play with each other at this relaxed yet refined fusion restaurant.

Executive chef Jinhee Lee and chef-owner Duncan Ly.

FOOD | Modern Asian fusion.
VIBE | Relaxed yet refined.
DECOR | Classic meets contemporary Asian.
DISH | Char siu pork and foie gras steamed buns with fragrant herbs.
TIP | Go at lunch to try unique takes on burgers and banh mi sandwiches.


Fusion is no longer a trendy buzzword in restaurants. Diners are not surprised to find chefs taking the best parts of international cuisines and meshing them with North or Latin American ingredients and techniques. (Korean tacos, anyone?) Foreign Concept doesn’t fuse so much as it plays with Asian flavours and crosses them with French and Canadian flavours. A mix of Vietnamese and Korean with a soupçon of French? That is, indeed, a foreign concept.

With executive chef Jinhee Lee at the helm, bolstered by her mentor, restaurant owner Duncan Ly, this is just the team who can bring it together. Both award-winning chefs in their own right, Ly and Lee bring a knowledge and understanding of Asian ingredients and techniques to the kitchen. In Lee’s expert hands, the dishes are a riot of flavours, though none overpower the next. There is the requisite balance of spicy and cooling, crispy and tender in the unique creations served at this Beltline spot.

Local ingredients, such as Alberta trout and Angus beef, get the Foreign Concept treatment by combining with chili shrimp paste, lemongrass and kimchee. Even the tartare is spiked with chili and served with seaweed-and-tapioca crisps.

Order one of the equally creative cocktails, such as the green tea-infused gin martini, or a bottle of sake to make it a truly international affair.

1011 1 St. S.W., 403-719-7288,


Back to Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2019

This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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