Must-try Chinese restaurants in Halifax

Halifax doesn't strike outsiders as the place to find authentic Chinese food, but its abundant seafood, farm-fresh veggies and sizable Chinese population create a perfect combination for just that. You will never have to drive too far to sate your urge for fried bean curd, kung pao chicken or Shanghai noodles.

Silver Lake Restaurant

1649 Bedford Row, Halifax, NS B3J 1T1

Since 1984, the ever-popular Great Wall has been dominating downtown Halifax's Chinese food scene. Voted the best in the city by readers of local alt-weeky The Coast every year since the category began in 2002, its vast Cantonese and Szechuan menu, spearheaded by veteran owner Patrick Wong, is diverse enough to agree with anyone's palate. But it's the hefty dim sum lunches that keep regulars coming back. If you're there on a weekend, get there early, because it fills up quickly.

Jean's Chinese Restaurant

5972 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS B3H 1Y7

A venerable Spring Garden staple and university student hotspot, Jean's has been winning over locals with affordable prices and a huge menu for years. Its curries and sweet-and-sour dishes are particular favourites, though if you are in search of quality Japanese and Thai food, you can also find pad Thai and teriyaki noodles that will fill you up for the rest of the day.

Fan's Restaurant

451 Windmill Rd, Dartmouth, NS B3A 1J9

The mark of a good Chinese restaurant is specialization. In this category, Fan's takes the mooncake. This exclusively Northern Chinese restaurant serves up some of the best ginger beef and black-bean chicken in the area. One of a few solid reasons to take the short ferry hop across the river into Dartmouth, even if you're staying in the 'fax – although they offer delivery across the water due to popular demand.

9 plus Nine Chinese Cuisine

480 Parkland Dr, Halifax, NS B3S 1P9

One of Halifax's best-kept secrets, 9 + Nine is tucked away in a Clayton Park strip mall, a 20-minute drive northwest of downtown. Casual diners know it for its steamed pork buns, dan dan noodle soup and ginger beef, but for die-hard fans, it means just one thing: A monthly $40, 10-course menu hosted by the owners and open to everyone. Go with an empty stomach.

Canton Garden Restaurant

30 Farnham Gate Rd, Halifax, NS B3M 3W8

For a quieter dining experience, this clean little Clayton Park hideaway is the perfect one. The food's not as greasy as the city's more popular restaurants, nor are the line-ups as long, but the grub is no less delicious. Try the egg and spring rolls to start, then move onto various dim sum rolls and steamed buns – or opt for one of the titanically portioned pineapple chicken, vegetable lo mein or Fu Jing fried rice dishes.

New Wing Wah

347 Herring Cove Rd, Halifax, NS B3R 1V5

For truly authentic Chinese food, New Wing Wah, south of Long Lake, is a great option outside the downtown core. You could hardly spend more than $15 per person if you tried, while the dishes – ranging from authentic (fried calamari and mapo tofu with Szechwan peppercorn) to Canadian-style adaptations (sweet and sour pork, ginger chicken) – are on par with anything on peninsula Halifax. Check out their buffet every Friday night if you want a little bit of everything.

Fung Wah Restaurant Ltd

3665 Dutch Village Rd, Halifax, NS B3N 2T1

A solid west-end option that's perennially busy every night of the week, Fung Wah earns its name as one of Halifax's cozier neighbourhood spots. Combinations platters are the key item here – a mix of crunchy vegetables and tender chicken, beef and pork made to your specifications. It's gotten so popular that most just order take-out (admittedly, also because the 1980s interior decor is nothing to gawk at), but with most meals under $10, expect to pack your fridge with leftovers.

Hop Sing Restaurant

324 Herring Cove Rd, Halifax, NS B3R 1V4

If you want economy, you can't beat Hop Sing. Located a bit outside the city centre on Herring Cove Road, two can split a "family dinner" – two egg rolls, beef fried rice, sweet and sour pork and chicken chow mien – for $19. Consider that, plus their numerous lunch combos for under $5, and it's remarkable these guys have managed to stay in business since 1972. The only reason is the quick service, organized menu and sheer quality of food.

Whether it’s the Blue Jays, Raptors or Halifax Mooseheads, there are going to be times when Canadians – especially Maritimers – want to get together to watch the game, and nothing pairs better with a big-screen TV than a pint of domestic beer. Halifax doesn’t have too many sports-specific bars, but those that it does have get the job done perfectly.
Halifax has more universities than seems logically permissible – eight schools in a city of 300,000. The population balloons from September till May, creating a student-driven economy that focuses on their priorities: organic ingredients, cheap prices and creative decor. You can eat at any of these beloved hangouts for under $10 and feel like a local while you're there.
Haligonians will often boast that their city has more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Canada – a claim-to-fame so commonplace it’s proclaimed on Nova Scotia’s tourism website. Their proliferation keeps the happy-hour drinks well priced. These pubs are among the best places to enjoy drinks on the cheap.
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