Five Little India Neighbourhoods to Discover

Get a spice fix in these ethnic districts in Vancouver, Dublin, Chicago, Regina and New York City.
 

Vancouver, photo by AE Creations/Flickr

Thanks to a steady stream of immigration from the subcontinent to Europe and North America in the 1970s, a wide range of cities now have Little India neighbourhoods. When visiting these five cities, here’s where to indulge in one of the world’s most fascinating cultures.

Vancouver

East 49th Avenue and Main Street in South Vancouver is ground zero for the busy Punjabi Market, populated by Indian sweet shops, buffet restaurants and colourful clothing stores, and has been the heart of the local Indian community since the late 19th century. Indulge in authentic India cuisine at Himalaya or All India Sweets Restaurant, or pick up pantry items at the Punjab Food Center. For a colourful addition for wardrobe or home décor, visit Nurmahal Fashion & Fabrics, where a rainbow of saris and bracelets will make it hard to walk out of the store without a purchase.

Dublin

Find authentic Indian cuisine on the city’s south bank, west of the popular Temple Bar district. Popular spots such as Siri Indian Cuisine near Christ Church Cathedral or Diwali Restaurant, Kathmandu Kitchen or Spice of India (steps from the Dublin Castle) are the best places to indulge in pakoras, samosas, tandoori chicken and chicken korma. After a late night at the pub, join locals for an order of curry and chips, a combination of thick cut French fries topped with curry sauce, at Curry & Kebab or Leo Burdock Fish & Chips.

Chicago

The West Ridge neighbourhood north of the downtown Loop is where to find the city’s Little India. On and around West Devon Avenue, Indian businesses dominate the streetscape. Stop into Ghareeb Nawaz for Indian and Pakistani cuisine, Oberoi’s Indian Food & Grocery for a tasty meal or to pick up Indian pantry staples and spice mixes, and for those wanting to find literature, Kitab Ghar and India Book House offer a wide range of books and magazines from subcontinent authors. Visitors wanting a deeper dive into the neighbourhood can sign up for the Little India Tour with Spice of Life Tours for three-and-half hours of walking and tastings at West Devon Avenue’s dining spots.

Regina

The Queen City’s spicy Indian trail can be found along Victoria Avenue, east of the downtown core between Winnipeg and Park streets. This stretch of the street may be small, but it features several tasty options for Indian cuisine including Flavours of India, Da India Curry House, Spices of Punjab, Da India Vegetarian and the fusion offerings of Da Pizza n Curry Express. And for those who are inspired to try to make butter chicken or paneer makhani at home, the India Food Center is the source for all ingredients.

New York City

With the largest expat Indian community in North America, the Big Apple’s spice-laden neighbourhood is found on Lexington Avenue between East 25th and East 30th streets. Affectionately named Curry Hill, traditional buffet tables can be found among upscale shops north of Gramercy Park at old school dining establishments such as Haandi. There’s also a wide selection of elegant regional cuisine in the area, including traditional dishes from Hyderabad (a southern capital city) at Chote Nawab. For those wanting to indulge in fine dining, consider Sahib, a highly-acclaimed joint project by chef Shiva Natarajan and Michelin-starred chef Hemant Mathur.

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