Food Diversity in Halifax

Here’s a guest article from Alan Macleod in response to my request for more information on where to buy “ethnic” (for lack of a better word) food in Halifax:

Iqbal’s on Windsor near Almon (up from Lion’s Head) has good Indian supplies and will bus them over — brown basmati and Lalah’s madras curry powder are a favorite. They also give or at least used to give cooking classes.

The Asian shop at Queen and Victoria has Chinese, Japanese, and Thai supplies. Every summer I buy 20 kg of sushi rice from them which lasts me a year. They have stuff that I would have seen in Canada only in the Preston Street area of Ottawa. [I remember seeing canned gourami which you may recall as a fish in childhood aqauriums (shivers)]. A bit of a mess but a good Asian market usually is.

The Italian Market near the Port of Wines off of Spring Garden has cheese and dry pastas that you cannot find here. Though the JC Superstore has introduced a lot of better forms of pasta and usually the Root Cellar has ok cheese, though perhaps a bit less lately.

Pete’s Fruitique in Bedford has everything a immigrant family from Scotland could want — penguin bars, Typhoo tea, Iron Brew. They also have the best fresh fruit and vegetables in the Maritimes as well as airshipped in (possibly in fact by zeppelin) real Montreal Bagels! Many other things there, too, including Liberty dairy products: plum and walnut yogurt!

On the corner of the road up from the old bridge and Agricola there is a middle eastern supply shop whose name escapes me but where you can find anything. I have yet figured out where the local Lebanese community here on the island supplies itself. Much broader selection than here. If you get the Flatbreads book I mentioned, there are ingredients there you can use.

If you are at all interested in homebrewing, go to one of the three Brewing Centres in Metro. I go to the Burnside one on Akerly up from the big Leons. Ask Ogg whether you can make good ale from their supplies. Again, they will bus and have a good website at

And — perhaps most importantly for the idle islander — the best place to buy wine and imported beer on the way home to PEI… the Sackville NBLC. Due to the university, they have a special wine corner, good cheap Ontario reds and a wider (and in fact different) range of UK ales than the best NS shop. The best and handiest NSLC is at Elmsdale in that strip mall right off the highway — they are used to seeing PEI customers on a regular basis.

If you are going through Maine, a mere eight hours from here is RSVP Liquors which has the best selection I have ever seen in one place and the best prices. Near the University in Portland. They will pack ahead if you call or if (as I am most lucky to have for many reasons) your good pal in Portland is visiting. Fullers ESB!

Thank you Alan. We’ll have to head to Halifax soon. Additional suggestions welcome.


hannah's picture
hannah on February 28, 2002 - 13:32 Permalink

thank you thank you thank you. I am already writing a shopping list to replace the spices et al that I last had shipped over from the UK. Though I have had to had do without Boddingtons — too heavy to post. :)

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on February 28, 2002 - 16:51 Permalink

Should anyone “ask Ogg” as Alan suggests, the answer is Yes. And in case anyone has missed it, the Anglo-Indian food fanatic will find many familiar fixing scattered about odd corners of Atlantic Superstore. Nice to be able to buy all the doings for a passable kedgeree in one location. The new superstore on University has Devon Clotted Cream. I have been doing evangelical work for its impact on a traditional Island biscuit (scone).

Alan's picture
Alan on February 28, 2002 - 17:46 Permalink

Chris: The Superstore does have a good selection of Patak’s products and I think they may have white basmati rice but I was very surprised to find no sushi rice. I am a big fan of Patak’s pappadums. I don’t know enough about dhal to know if there is a good source in the province. Also, I am looking for curry leaves. Ahh, kedjeree — or as a friend of direct knowledge (as opposed to my Sgt. Mj. great grandfather’s Indian campaign expereicen) Ku-JAH-ray. The merest mention makes one hungry. How about naans? What does one do for naans about these parts. I have the instructions in the Flatbreads book I mentioned but have never tried it. [I have answered my own question.]

Also, does anyone know where I can get dried chilis beyond the good selection at the Root Celler? Smoked ones especially.

Hannah: Boddington’s is at both the NB and NS “government stores” or, as some say in Lunenburg Co., “power houses”. They even have Tetleys from Leeds at Sackville NB. Bods was on tap at the old Water Street Pub, RIP.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 28, 2002 - 17:53 Permalink

Saw a big “sushi rice” display at the Urban Grocer (or is it Uncommon Grocer — I can never remember). At the right, behind the cash.

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on February 28, 2002 - 18:51 Permalink

Yes, Alan, they have white basmati and also Thai jasmine rice. Another good find was Italian rice for risottos. An Indian friend told me kedgeree just meant “leftovers thrown together”, or similar. Makes sense if you can buy the idea that smoked haddock was hanging around the average rajly home. Isn’t one of our Western “Chinese” dishes similarly named?

Alan's picture
Alan on February 28, 2002 - 19:41 Permalink

But the “sushi” is “unnamed brand” and not at bulk prices. I like Kohoko Rose or what ever it is called and get it for a song when I get 20 kg at a time. Lots of white basmati about but the brown is lovery. I think arborrio rice is fairly available here too — I think there is a Dainty brand avalable. The Asian shop, however, as red rice and two types of Thia sweet rice you make desserts from. and other rices. Shrip noodles for miso.

hannah's picture
hannah on March 1, 2002 - 13:53 Permalink

devon clotted cream? you must be joking! And I just acquired some authentic blackberry preserves… Field trip to the superstore in order. Alan — I have 1/2 lb of dried curry leaves somewhere, you can have some of those :).

Alan's picture
Alan on March 1, 2002 - 14:23 Permalink

I’ll trade. I have 60 blackberry plants that should produce this year. Find a recipie and I will swap you a few pounds in the summer.

christopher's picture
christopher on March 1, 2002 - 22:50 Permalink

The Devonshire Clotted Cream is in the deli section of the new Sobeys on University, in genuine jars — not all pasteurised/homogenised/detastified like Nestles tinned. But be seated when you look at the price tag. Worth it tho’!

victoria's picture
victoria on March 18, 2004 - 22:38 Permalink

I want to know why there isn’t any good websites?

victoria's picture
victoria on March 18, 2004 - 22:43 Permalink

Dear Christopher,I just say that you have a very good point and I like what you wrote. That’s it for now I’ll get back at you another day.

biotch's picture
biotch on September 21, 2004 - 04:20 Permalink

Yo brother go check out the Lebanese Bakery on Agricola it has EVERYTHING you could possibly want. Restaurant now too.
Every other corner store in the north end has lebanese gear too dude. Ya dig? WORD!

Wendy's picture
Wendy on April 11, 2006 - 17:06 Permalink

Looking for Shirataki Noodles (Japanese) — any ideas?

Terri's picture
Terri on February 9, 2008 - 19:39 Permalink

Yes I too am looking for Shirataki noodles but am having no luck .

Betty's picture
Betty on May 26, 2009 - 15:37 Permalink

Did any you find Shirataki Noodles in Halifax?

Ted's picture
Ted on August 28, 2010 - 20:33 Permalink

Try Heiwa Japanese & Korean Food Market on Chebucto (near the Bay) for the Shirataki noodles. They also have a whole bunch of more obscure foods there.