Exotic cultural shopping and dining experiences are everywhere in Winnipeg’s historic Chinatown. Formed in 1909, this is the neighbourhood to visit if your taste buds savour the flavours of Cantonese, Szechwan, Huaiyang and Shandong cuisine. There are also plenty of shops filled with spices, teas and ancient herbal medicines to browse through. Completed in 1987, the gardens at the Dynasty and Mandarin buildings offer visitors a tranquil and exotic spot for an outdoor lunch or place to reflect. The Dynasty Building's many roofs are a symbol of good luck, while the Mandarin Building is decorated with a replica of the Imperial Nine Dragons mural. The ornately decorated street bridge connecting the Dynasty and Mandarin buildings welcomes visitors to the area.
Location: The approximate boundaries are James Avenue to the south, Logan Avenue to the north, Main Street to the east and Ellen Street to the west. Located in downtown and 8.5 km from the airport.
How to get there: From the airport, head east on Wellington Avenue and turn right onto King Edward Street (Route 90). Take the first left onto Ellice Avenue. After 4.7 km, turn left onto Smith Street. Take the first right onto King Street and continue north into Chinatown.
Bus routes: # 3, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 35, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 58, 67, 99
Top Places to Eat
• At lunchtime, students from neighbouring Red River College campus and downtown workers flood Foon Hai for generous portions of fresh, flavourful Chinese food. A local favourite is spicy Szechwan beef. 329 William Avenue, 204-943-5032.
• Superb, Cantonese-style cooking leads the charge at Golden Terrace, where you’ll find beef, pork, chicken and seafood. Dim sum and familiar Chinese fare—including barbecue duck, sweet and sour pork and shrimp fried rice—are included in the culinary line-up. 245 King Street, 204-944-9400.
• Metal trolleys stacked high with bamboo baskets and small plates of traditional dim sum are a sight to behold at Kum Koon Garden. The grand dining room is decorated with beautiful red and gold Chinese lanterns and seats hundreds for dim sum on weekend mornings. 257 King Street, 204-943-4655.
• If you’re looking for a vegetarian spot, Little Saigon offers heaping plates of Vietnamese food with plenty of meat-free options, including refreshing salad rolls. For meat lovers, order the deluxe vermicelli, featuring succulent pieces of charbroiled pork. 333 William Avenue, 204-947-3888.
• Maxim Bakery & Pastry specializes in Chinese pastries and baking. Try a moon cake—a mid-autumn festival favourite, or nosh on flaky barbecue pork puffs. 285 Alexander Avenue, 204-774-8452.
• Enjoy a jumbo bowl of deluxe wonton soup at hidden treasure, Sumhay. The savoury broth brims with pork, mixed vegetables and plump wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp. 225 Logan Avenue, 204-957-5050.
Top Places to Shop
• Young’s Trading stocks essential ethnic ingredients that appeal to beginners, foodies and expert chefs. Each visit is a unique and exotic adventure. 397 William Avenue. 204-957-0230.
• Located on the main floor, the Dynasty Eating and Shopping Centre has shops and services that cater to the Chinese neighbourhood. Businesses include a small grocery store heaving with Chinese decorations and imported food, a travel agency, and Noodle Express restaurant, renowned for its fresh dim sum. 210 Pacific Avenue, 204-956-7948.
• Nan Bei Hang Herbal Products Co. has the look and feel of an old-fashioned apothecary. Dried mushrooms, roots, ginger, seaweed and other herbs are displayed in large glass jars at this Chinese medicine and tea shop. 231 King Street, 204-421-9008.
• Housewares, produce, frozen food, imported dry goods, sauces, noodles, rice and other staples line the shelves of Oriental Market. 268 King Street, 204-943-4103.
• Sun Wah Supermarket not only carries a vast array of imported Asian food and housewares, it houses a barbecue counter (the duck is excellent), butcher and Asian medicine shop. 303 King Street, 204-944-9162.
Top Things to See and Do
• Located outside the Dynasty Building, the well-maintained Chinese Gardens boast beautiful flowers, a shallow pond with a walking bridge and pagodas. Special events are held here in warmer months. 180 King Street.
• The Dynasty Building’s Chinese-influenced architecture makes it a must-see structure. Home of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, this building is a centre for arts and learning, and houses the only Chinese library in Manitoba. 2nd floor, 180 King Street, 204-943-2627.