One of the city’s strangest claims to fame is that last year council took the time to vote the drippy donair our Official Food. But instead of making a case for why the no-frills, late-night snack defines our collective palate, we’ve created a menu of unofficial Halifax foods that can give you an introduction to what fuels us.
Other than the donair, there is perhaps no fast food closer to the hearts of Haligonians. Make sure you get it right, though: The proper way to eat garlies is to dip them in some sugary donair sauce. If they’re served with marinara, someone is doing you dirty.
Meat paste eggrolls
The signature dish of a Nova Scotian Chinese dive, meat paste egg rolls are Halifax’s definitive Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em food. Sometimes they smack of five spice, other times they taste of curry. But here’s the dirty little secret that really unites them all: They are made with bean paste. You’re basically enjoying the world’s craziest take on pork and beans!
Halifax loves nothing more a meat cone, and so shawarma has come to define the city almost as much as donair. Middle Eastern food has become the Next Big Thing through the US in the past year, but Halifax has always long had love for that region: Some of the city’s consistently best food can be found in Lebanese, Syrian, Persian and Turkish restaurants.
Pizza Corner will forever live in our memories, hazy images of all those giant slices eaten in the glow of streetlights and neon signs. And while there is only one Corner still standing, giant slices can still be found in every pizza shop in town, corner or not, and will probably always mark the beginning of the end of a night of downtown antics.
Greek diner rice pudding
Everybody’s gotta have a favourite family restaurant in their back pocket for family dinners and hot turkey sandwich fixes. And your best bet is to go Greek: Cousins, Palladium, Athens, Hellas. Why? Because everybody needs a restaurant where the daily special comes with a cinnamon-topped rice pudding.
If you don’t like beer, why are you even here? At this point, this city is 40 percent overpriced universities, 55 percent craft breweries and five percent rats. If you don’t like beer, you should not have moved to Halifax. Call your parents and tell them you’re coming home. There is nothing here for you. Unless you like rats.
Fish cake breakfast
If you’ve never had fish cakes, here’s a tip: Salt cod is the real deal. Chances are you’re going to find a lot more haddock and salmon at the restaurants that serve it up, but that’s OK. The main point of fish cakes is to eat green tomato chow anyway.
Chowder is tricky. It can be creamy, milky or even watery. It can be clam, lobster or assorted seafood. Find one you love and never let it go.
Maple-curry chicken pasta
This is the dish that will not die. There will likely never be a day where this dish isn’t hiding in the worst corner of a shitty restaurant menu somewhere in the city. They say the 1990s are back, but when it comes to maple-curry chicken pasta, they never left.