Foreign Concept | Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2022

Duncan Ly’s flagship restaurant serves up delicious dishes like Mama Ly’s pork and shrimp imperial rolls in a cozily lit dining room.

Chef Duncan Ly. Photograph by Jared Sych.

If you know Duncan Ly, you will know that he doesn’t stop moving. Takori, Melo, Greenfish, Concept Catering, Iron Chef appearances and multiple Canadian Culinary Championship regional wins and national competitions are just a short accounting of his activities after leaving Hotel Arts group in 2015. Most notably, he has also mentored numerous chefs who have gone on to open their own restaurants.

Ly’s flagship, Foreign Concept, is antithesis to that frenzy with its cozily lit room, warm and sturdy wood tables, and muted colours. Time ceases to exist as Mama Ly’s pork and shrimp imperial rolls land on the table: crispy, savoury and meaty, with the freshness of mint leaves and the acidity of nuoc cham. Chicken, shiitake and rice cakes steam in a traditional clay pot, making anyone who has spent time eating their way through Asia nostalgic for the days when one could freely travel.

Foreign Concept has continued to be the anchor in Ly’s ventures. His warmth is evident through the time he takes out of his frenzied schedule to talk to his guests and to visit his protegés’ restaurants.

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

Hot Tip
Chef Duncan Ly has a passion for the art of dim sum. The pork siu mai with truffle soy and sesame chili is just one example of his successful experiments towards developing an innovative dim sum menu.


Back to Calgary’s Best Overall Restaurants 2022

This article appears in the March 2022 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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