A question I get asked most often and rarely know the answer to is where you can find the best East Indian food in Winnipeg. Indian food is so much more than curry and naan bread. There are 29 states (the Indian equivalent of provinces) and each state has their own cuisine. Not all of them have made their way to Winnipeg yet but some really good restaurants have opened up in the last couple of years. Everyone has their favourites. Here are five of mine.
For South Indian, Chaat, & Paan: Royal Paan
Royal Paan brought with it everything I missed about Indian food to Winnipeg when it opened in 2017. For those who’ve never had it, a paan is an Indian post-meal palate cleanser that’s better than the meal itself. It is made by wrapping dry fruits, mouth fresheners, and sweet stuff that don’t fit into categories inside a betel leaf. I also think Royal Paan has the best South Indian and Chaat in Winnipeg. While Chaat is mostly Indian street food, tangy and spicy, South Indian food is savoury and particular to the region.
Must try: Calcutta Meetha Paan, Bombay Vada Pav (a spicy Indian burger), and Onion, Masala Dosa (flour pancake stuffed with onions and potatoes, served with coconut chutney and saambar – a type of daal)
For the Best Hakka: Clay Oven Shaw Park
A few Winnipeg restaurants serve a Hakka dish here and there but Clay Oven Shaw Park is the only one to have an exclusive Hakka Menu. Hakka or Indo-Chinese cuisine is India’s very own fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisine developed as Chinese immigrants settled there. The Szechwan and Chowmein dishes you see on the menu are made with a uniquely desi twist, spicy and sweet.
Must try: Chilly Paneer, Hakka Veggie Noodles, Veggie Manchurian
For the Best Samosas & Pakoras: Punjab Sweet House
Maybe its the fact they don’t take credit cards (debit and cash only) or that I couldn’t find one professionally taken picture online, Punjab Sweet House has a very homey feel to it, and so does the food. Although, I’m not a fan of their mains or the buffet (little too sweet for me), their samosas and pakoras are to die for.
Must try: Paneer Pakora and Vegetable samosa.
For the Right Amount of Spice: Jas Indian Cuisine
Jas Indian Cuisine now stands where the old Clay Oven on Inkster used to. Only a few years old, this is definitely my favourite restaurant when I’m looking for your regular restaurant fare. The food is usually on the spicier side and I usually go for medium but specify if you can’t take the heat.
Must try: Dal Tadka, Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Paneer Tikka Masala, and Garden Naan.
New and Notable: Mirchi Masala
Mirchi Masala is the newest addition to Winnipeg’s East Indian food scene. The menu has a little bit of everything and the decor is refreshing and clean, Some dishes from the hakka section are decent enough but I prefer the Indian there. Try to go during less busy times as service is a little slow on weekends.
Must try: Veg Manchow Soup, Dahi Poori, Daal Makhni, and Naan