Just head to the International Farmers' Market, Fridays between 10am and 6pm at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (Pier 20, 1209 Marginal Road, halifaxfarmersmarket.com). You'll find unexpected flavours from around the globe and an abundance of friendly vendors eager to share their favourite dish from back home.
Rakhsana Aslam brings the mouthwatering dishes of her native Pakistan to her stall. Aslam lets patrons create their own combo meals by choosing between cheaply priced menu items. Though traditionally a breakfast curry, her tender chicken nehari ($3) makes an excellent mid-day stew and is best served over rice ($2) or with naan bread ($1). The chapli kabob ($3.50) can't be passed up either, consisting of beef kabob seasoned with coriander and crushed pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate adds an unexpected twist, adding a nice zesty flavour to the meat.
Madras native Viji Ramesh will dish out a hefty helping of black-eyed-bean curry, a deep-fried lentil-based pakora, a chapati to mop it all up with and an Indian sweet of your choice, all for $7. Soaked in sugar syrup with a hint of rosewater, her Gulab Jamun is so good you'll likely eat desert first.
If you're only a little hungry, stop for some flavour-packed meat on a stick. The chicken satay hits the spot for $2.50, with chicken smothered in sweet and salty peanut sauce. A crunchy fried onion topping lends the satay great texture. For a fresh, unusual palette cleanser, try a lychee fruit cup ($2), basically a more sophisticated Jello Jiggler.
Shelly Michayi's stand
Zimbabwe native Michayi's stand smells of garlicky goodness and doesn't disappoint. Six bucks nets you a serving of beef stew, which has been simmering for hours with chilis, onions and veggies, over a fresh chapati. Alternately, try pairing the chapati with a chicken drumstick ($5), served swimming in a buttery and tangy peanut sauce. But opt for the beef if you're prone to make a mess. The gooey drumstick is so delicious it can inspire those who eat it to get excited and slosh sauce all over the place.
An overflowing takeout box of satisfyingly greasy noodles and a spring or egg roll sets you back just $6.50. The rolls are flaky without being too dry, and bean spouts add a fresh flavour to the noodles. If you've got a head start on your weekend, a Friday lunch at Cheelin's stand will likely cure you of a hangover. If you've yet to hit the town, it will coat your stomach before a big night out. Either way, it's a win-win situation.