Celebrating more than 100 years since it was established, Winnipeg’s Chinatown offers an exotic cultural shopping and dining experience. Formed in 1909, Winnipeg’s Chinatown is a place where one can savour the complex and sophisticated flavours of Cantonese, Szechwan, Huaiyang and Shandong cuisine or browse through shops filled with spices, teas and ancient herbal medicines. 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. Street banners celebrating the district and the Chinese year adorn the area. 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 Ave to the south, Logan Ave to north, Main St to the east and Ellen St to the west. Located in downtown and 8.5 km from the airport.
How to get there: From the airport, head east on Wellington Ave and turn right onto King Edward St (Route 90). Take the first left onto Ellice Ave. After 4.7 km, turn left onto Smith St. Take the first right onto King St and continue north into Chinatown.
Bus routes: 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 26, 32, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 65.
Top Places to Eat
- At lunchtime, students from the 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, 943-5032.
- Superb, Cantonese-style cooking leads the charge at Golden Terrace, where you’ll find plenty of preparations of 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 St, 944-9400. http://www.goldenterrace.net
- 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—decorated with beautiful red and gold Chinese lanterns—seats hundreds for dim sum on weekend mornings. The lunch and dinner menu lists traditional Cantonese dishes. 257 King St, 943-4655. http://www.kumkoongarden.com/
- 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 Ave, 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 Ave, 774-8452.
- In winter months, cozy up inside the modest dining room of Sumhay over a jumbo bowl of deluxe wonton soup. The savoury broth brims with pork, mixed vegetables and plump wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp. 225 Logan Ave, 957-5050.
Top Places to Shop
- Located on the main floor, the Dynasty Eating and Shopping Centre has a few shops and services primarily catering to the Chinese neighbourhood. Businesses include a small grocery store crammed with Chinese decorations and imported food, a travel agency, and Noodle Express restaurant renowned for its fresh dim sum. 210 Pacific Avenue, 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 St, 421-9008.
- Housewares, produce, frozen food, imported dry goods, sauces, pastes, noodles, rice and other staples line the shelves of Oriental Market. 268 King St, 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 St, 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 St.
- You can’t miss the The Dynasty Building with its Chinese-influenced architecture. 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 St, 943-2627.