Neighbourhood: River Heights
Address: 1170 Taylor Avenue
Entrees: $14 – $25
Dalat is not new or caught up riding a wave of a new food trend. Nonetheless it represents a precious breed of restaurant essential to Winnipeg’s multi-cultural authenticity. Since opening in the mid-eighties, originally in the city’s core, it has been serving a mash up of traditional Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine to food enthusiasts and spreading the love for Asian flavours at the same time.
In the early days, lively lunch chatter filled its modest Ellice Avenue space, tables filled with downtown office workers breaking away for a quick mid-day culinary adventure.
As the city’s diversity expanded and popularity of global cuisines became more widespread, two decades in, Dalat seized an opportunity to relocate to a new suburban strip surrounded by affluent neighbourhoods. Today, comfortably assuming its position taking care of guests for nearly another twenty years, Dalat continues to thrill customers serving food that feels new and familiar at the same time.
Upon entering the spacious interior, bold chartreuse walls accented with crayon brights whet the appetite for a multi-sensory feast.
Those who travel with their tastebuds searching for dishes that come straight from the homeland are well served starting with the chef ‘s signature Vietnamese style hot and sour soup. This sinfully scrumptious medley may just be the reason Dalat is rounding the corner on 40 years. The clear, tomato tinted broth hints to nuanced flavours in each slurp. The first sip hits the palate sour, subtly sweet before leaving tingly heat lingering on the lips. An unusual mixture of plump sweet shrimp, pineapple, tomato, sour melon and bean sprout enlivens every spoonful with juicy vibrancy.
Everything sampled is delicious. Superbly made sauces reveal the kitchen’s adeptness composing balanced flavours for a mix and match feast. Braised eggplant pieces coated in black bean garlic glisten on the plate before melting away on contact. Bitter bites of green pepper and white onion sharpen the salty sweet morsels. Opt for hot satay and any choice protein layered with pleasing umami. A plate of stir-fried chicken combined generously with white onion swims in the savoury sauce. Crushed peanuts add a finishing crunch.
Shrimp dishes are ever-popular go-tos and there are many here. Sizzling shell on shrimp arrive in a cast iron pan brimming in sweet orange sauce. Each slurpy bite imparts fruity sweetness.
As the suburbs accommodate more businesses that enrich our city, it is comforting to know the culinary rewards offered at gems such as Dalat are flourishing.
Dalat is open Mon-Fri 12-9pm, Sat,Sun,4pm-9pm.