Less than 10 years ago, Asian food in Halifax consisted of dishes tweaked for western palates. But in a city where Chinese food used to mean dishes drizzled with cornstarch-laden sauces, we now have places like JiXiang serving mouth-numbing Szechuan dishes such as ma po tofu or pork tongue salad.
And it's usually worth asking what's written on the walls. You may not be able to read Chinese characters, but your tummy will recognise deliciousness no matter the language barrier.
One of Halifax's best-kept secrets is in a strip mall on Parkland Drive in Clayton Park. 9 + Nine serves the glorious steamed buns and some of the tastiest northern Chinese dishes you'll eat in this city. But that's not even the best part—once a month the owners hold a supper club featuring a 10-course menu for $40. Go—no matter what is served, it will be memorable.
Korean food is a hot ticket these days. Seung Hyuk is one person who is pleased to see the recent rise in its popularity. The owner and operator of Seoul Restaurant on Duke Street points to Canadians who moved to Korea to teach English. When "Canadians come back from Korea, they want to experience authentic Korean food," he says. "They introduce it to their friends, and that's why it's growing."
We don't care why Korean food's popularity is growing, we just want everything served with kimchi on the side.
And it's only getting better. In a city where pho was only served in Vietnamese homesteads, you can now try various types of the soothing broth across HRM. Dim sum is everywhere, a weekend balm to Chinese families across the city, and hungover thirtysomethings. Sushi rivals donair as the edible symbol of Halifax, and it's hard to believe Thai was actually slow to arrive. Although Halifax and its environs don't have everything Asian under the sun—Cambodian or Malaysian anyone?—it is getting tastier every day.