Why Everyone Needs to Try a Halifax Donair

To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1, we’re bringing you 150 Travelzoo Tips — one per day until Canada Day — to help you explore and enjoy this great land. We’ve invited some of the country’s top travel writers to join in and share their favourite finds and expert advice. 

Halifax has a lot of wonderful restaurants serving up beautiful food, but its most famous dish is one traditionally eaten after a solid night of drinking, scored from takeout places open long after the bars close. The mighty Halifax donair is the stuff of legend, and you shouldn’t leave the city without sampling one. Here’s why, and where you can get one.

A Halifax donair is made of slices of spiced meat that are carved off a vertical spit, then served in a pita with onions, tomatoes, and donair sauce. This last ingredient – a ridiculously tasty sweet garlic sauce made of evaporated milk, vinegar, garlic powder, and sugar – is what separates Halifax donairs from those served in other cities (and countries) where tzatziki is a more common topping. The meat is usually beef or chicken (though traditionally lamb in places where the locals have more of a taste for it). The combo tastes amazing and is very sloppy. Pro tip: Hold the donair away from your clothes and shoes as you chow down to avoid mishaps.

My absolute favourite donair spot in Halifax is the fairly new Johnny K’s Authentic Donairs, where the donairs are as close to clean eating as you’ll find and the meat is preservative, hormone, and chemical free. Every bite into the perfectly spiced meat and rich sauce is so good. You can even get vegan donairs at Johnny K’s, and my husband says they’re great too.

King of Donair has four locations throughout Halifax and serves up traditional options (and were the first to serve up the treat here, back in 1979). Want something dirtier? Try a slice of donair pizza served up nice and greasy at just about every late night pizza joint in the city, or donair egg-rolls that you’ll find in many places too. If you fall in love with donair sauce while you’re here, you’ll be happy to know you can pick it up at local supermarkets to take home with you.

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