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Vancouver’s Punjabi Market: A Tourist Guide

Ultimate Guide to Punjabi Market Vancouver
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During the lively Vaisakhi festival in Punjabi Market, the smell of fresh samosas from a street vendor caught my attention. 

I surely enjoyed those tasty Indian snacks, which led me on a quest for Punjabi Market. If you want to tag along, check out our guide below for the best places to eat in the neighborhood and more!

Where do most Punjabis live in Vancouver?

The Punjabi Market in Sunset neighborhood is home to the largest Punjabi population not only in the city of Vancouver but in all of Canada. 

Despite its name, the Punjabi Market isn’t really just a market. It’s a thriving neighborhood located in South Vancouver, stretching five blocks along Main Street between 49th and 54th Avenues.

This area serves as the cultural and commercial center for the city’s Punjabi community. For residents and visitors alike, the Punjabi Market is a delightful immersion into the sights, sounds, and tastes of Punjabi culture. 

As you navigate this welcoming neighborhood, the influence of Punjabi traditions is palpable, creating a unique atmosphere that reflects the community’s rich heritage. 

This bustling area serves as the cultural and commercial center for the city’s Punjabi community, offering a vibrant mix of Indian restaurants, grocery stores, clothing shops, spice vendors, and other businesses. 

What is the history of the Punjabi Market in Vancouver?

The Punjabi Market in Vancouver has a history dating back to the 1970s when Punjabi immigrants settled in the Sunset neighborhood. 

Immigrants came to Vancouver in the 1890s but it was only during that time when the small cluster of shops serving the community grew into a vibrant hub along Main Street.

The first shop was opened by Sucha Singh and Harbans Kaur Claire, and over the years, Punjabi Market became a cultural landmark, preserving and promoting Punjabi traditions.

Over the years, a lot of people of South Asian descent have relocated to Surrey and Delta to save up on rent and housing. But despite facing economic challenges and changing demographics, the Punjabi Market has endured. 

Today, the Punjabi Market is still a lively gathering place that reflects the rich history and traditions of the Punjabi population in Vancouver.

Things to Know

Language/s: Punjabi and English

Currency: Canadian Dollar

Parking: There’s pay parking at Parking Indigo Vancouver Lots (like 002 and 240). Check out their operation hours on their website.

Overall, though, parking along Main Street can be a bit of a challenge, especially during weekends and peak hours.

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit the Punjabi Market in Vancouver is during cultural events and festivals that celebrate Punjabi heritage. Events like Vaisakhi, typically held in April, bring the streets to life with a festive atmosphere.

The summer season, from June to August, is ideal for strolling through the market’s bustling streets. 

If you prefer milder weather and fewer crowds, consider the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when the climate is still pleasant, and you can explore the Punjabi Market at a more leisurely pace.

Keep in mind that weekends tend to be busier, especially during peak hours, so visiting on weekday afternoons may provide a more relaxed experience. 

How to Get There

Cars: As it is with other neighborhoods in Vancouver, the Punjabi Market is easily accessible by car. From downtown, it can take just around 10 minutes to get to the neighborhood.

Buses: You can take buses #3 (Main/To Marine Dr Station) and #49 (Metrotown Station) to Punjabi Market. 

Trains: While there isn’t a direct train station next to the Punjabi Market, you can use the SkyTrain to reach nearby stations like Marine Drive or Langara-49th Avenue. From there, you can transfer to buses or choose alternative transportation options.

Taxis: Taxis are readily available throughout Vancouver, and you can easily hail one to reach the Punjabi Market. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also operational in the city.

Bikes: Vancouver is a bike-friendly city, and cycling to the Punjabi Market is a sustainable and enjoyable option. For instance, this part of the Sunset neighborhood is “very bikeable” according to Walk Score.

What to Do in Punjabi Market

Admire the “Murals in the Market”

As you stroll through the Punjabi Market, be sure to take in the colorful murals adorning the buildings.

These murals vividly depict Punjabi culture, history, and traditions, showcasing the talent of local BIPOC artists and the support of the Vancouver Mural Festival. 

Each mural tells a unique story, and also helps bring the issues of racism and discrimination to everyone’s attention.

Load Up on South Asian Flavors and Ingredients

Ever since 1993, the Punjabi Food Centre has been the go-to place of locals for anything South Asian food related. 

Tamarind, cumin, cardamom, betel nut, lime – name it and the grocery stores with walls lined with authentic and aromatic spices and flavors will surely have it.

If you’re still thinking about what to cook for dinner, engage with shopkeepers for recommendations on spices that capture the essence of Punjabi cuisine.

Indulge in Authentic Indian Food

If you want to indulge in some authentic Indian meal, you’re sure to get that from the food options scattered throughout the Pubjabi Market. 

From casual eateries to fine dining establishments, savor traditional Punjabi dishes like butter chicken, samosas, and various types of naan. The market’s restaurants provide a flavorful journey through the heart of Punjabi cuisine.

Explore South Asian Accessories and Textile

If you’re looking for some vibrant South Asian clothing and intricate jewelry, you can head over to Punjabi Market and check out clothing shops like Nurmahal Fashions and Fabrics.

From traditional Punjabi suits to contemporary designs, these shops offer a wonderful selection of attire and accessories. Their bangles, earrings, and other accessories reflect the rich culture of the Punjabi community.

Or if you’re not wearing the traditional outfits, you can grab some of silk fabrics to use in your home. They’re gorgeous to look at and can elevate whatever it is you decide to use it for.

Spot Public Art Installations

In 2021, the Punjabi Market enjoyed the public art installation “Marigolds in the Market” on 51st Avenue. 

In South Asian culture, marigolds are a good representation of the sun with all the bright energy it radiates. 

So they hung golden garlands from a large tree on the Sunset Community Centre grounds to spread those positive vibes while remaining true to the heritage.

With the Punjabi Market Collective actively working on showcasing the arts and culture of the area, we expect a lot of public art installations like this one to pop up and beautify the neighborhood.

Witness the Vaisakhi Festival in Vancouver

Vancouver is home to the first and largest Sikh communities in Canada. Because of this, the celebration of the Vaisakhi Festival here in the latter half of April is also incredibly huge.

Expect traditional music, chants, and authentic meals being given away to everyone who participates as part of the celebration. 

The parade snakes through Marine Drive to as far as 57th Avenue, before going back to the Khalse Diwan Temple on Ross Street. On some occasions, the participants enjoy cherry blossoms along the side streets of 49th Avenue. 

Where to Stay in Punjabi Market

YWCA Hotel Vancouver

Address: 733 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M4, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-895-5830

Price: $

Book Now

Just a 13-minute drive away from Punjabi Market, YWCA Hotel is a solid budget-friendly choice in the area. 

Their single rooms and those with shared bathrooms work well for those who plan to be out most of the day and just need a convenient home base.

And if you’re up for some shopping after exploring Punjabi Market, Robson Street (What is Robson Street known for?) is within walking distance.

Georgian Court Hotel, WorldHotels Elite

Address: 773 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M4, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-682-5555

Price: $$

Book Now

Right on the same block, and maybe even sharing a wall with the YWCA Hotel, is the Georgian Court Hotel. 

It’s in the same great location as the first hotel on our list. However, if you’re looking for a place with full amenities, just make sure you use the entrance on this side of the block!

Hotel BLU

Address: 177 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2A8, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-620-6200

Price: $$

Book Now

A few steps away from Rogers Arena and Stanley Park, there’s Hotel BLU – a unique hotel with blue glass windows on the outside and cool blue lights all around the lobby.

The rooms have a modern design, and the amenities are fantastic for a relaxing and stress-free stay. Plus, the Azure Lounge on-site is a wonderful spot for breakfast dining.

If you’re also planning to explore Punjabi on your own ride, Hotel BLU also offers 4-hour bike rentals and an umbrella as part of your supplies.

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Vancouver-Downtown

Address: 111 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2A8, Canada

Phone: +1 604-602-1008

Price: $$$

Book Now

JW Marriott Parq Vancouver

Address: 39 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0R3, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-676-0888

Price: $$

Book Now

If you’re booked at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, a long day of exploring outside is rewarded with eight restaurant and lounge options. Each of them is led by chefs nominated for the James Beard Award. 

Where to Eat in Punjabi Market

Himalaya Restaurant

Address: 6587 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5X 3H1, Canada

Phone: +1 604-568-8303

Price: $


If you’re heading to Punjabi Market for an authentic Indian food experience, Himalaya Restaurant, one of the first Indian restaurants in the area to open in the 1980s, is a great stop to add to your quest.

It’s like a one-stop shop with a buffet offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, Indian grocery items, sweets, and even some alcoholic beverages.

Original Tandoori Kitchen

Address: 7215 Main St. Vancouver, B.C., V5X 3J3

Phone: +1 604 327 8900

Price: $$


Tandoor ovens work wonders, especially when you go for the traditional clay oven. That’s exactly what you get at the Original Tandoori Kitchen, where they cook up quality, well-spiced meat dishes among others.

Their chicken Tikka masala and butter chicken are especially lovely, but the word has it that the malai kofta is also a winner.

Our suggestion? Just like at some other fine restaurants, dining in gives you a greater experience, better than taking their food out.

Tandoori Oven

Address: 6452 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5W 2V4, Canada

Phone: +1 604 565 3355


Wednesday to Monday 11:30 – 12 AM

Tuesday, 3 PM – 12 AM

Price: $


Serving authentic dishes since 2017, Tandoori Oven is another restaurant in Punjabi Market worth checking out. 

It has around 50 dishes on the menu, and you’ll know it’s family-friendly once you step inside. While the food might be hit or miss, if you’re eager to try Mughlai cuisine, this restaurant might just surprise you with some amazing flavors.

East is East

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Address: 4433 Main Street – Vancouver, BC

Phone: +1 604 565 4401

Hours: 12:00 – 4:00 PM

Price: $$


The experience at East is East is pretty fantastic. 

You might be surprised by the 1.5-hour time limit for dining and the CAD 3 tip for live music. But at least they’ll let you know upfront before you’re seated and once you’re in, you’ll find the ambiance is actually stunning and the meals are just great. 

They have a bunch of excellent dishes, but our top picks are the ghormeh sabzi and mango butternut squash. If you’re with friends, go for the Silk Route Feast to try out a variety of flavors!

Tasty Indian Bistro

Address: 1261 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6K3, Canada

Phone: +1 604 423 3300

Hours: Daily, 11 AM – Late

Price: $$


Tasty Indian Bistro is a good 10 minute drive away from Punjabi Market. But if you want to extend your fun in engaging with Indian culture, this restaurant in Yaletown can also be a great stop.

Their lamb biryani and a variety of North Indian dishes like tandoori chicken, mango chicken curry, and butter chicken are sure to please.

Note that the prices are on the higher side, though, so it’s good to be prepared.

Dhaliwal Sweets 

Address: 6555 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5X 3T4, Canada

Phone: +1 604 325 4911

Hours: Daily, 24 Hours

Price: $


Dhaliwal Sweets is another nice place to check out. Their dishes are packed with flavor and are served in generous portion sizes.

Go for the Chana Pathura and Samosas – they’re best enjoyed fresh and hot in the morning.

If you haven’t tried Indian sweets, this is a very good place to sample them. They have ladoos, faloodas, jalebi, and more!

Where to Shop in Punjabi Market


Address: 6623 Main Street Vancouver, Canada

Phone: +1 604 324 8558

Hours: Sunday to Monday, 12-6 PM

Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6 PM

Price: $


Riwaaz is all about designer pieces – fashionwear, costume jewelry, and all. It’s a store drawing the modern South Asian woman, with the salwar, kameez, and dupatta still being among some of their specialties.

Looking for some home decor? You can find great unique, colorful pieces here, too!

Nanda Jewellers

Address: 6696 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5X 3H2, Canada

Phone: +1 604 327 9316

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

Sunday, 1 PM – 7 PM

Price: $


Nanda Jewellers, an OG in Punjabi Market since 1993, boasts a four-generation legacy in South Asian jewelry. 

On top of their stunning ready-to-wear collection, they specialize in custom orders, repairs, and expert ear piercing. So there’s a personalized touch for every customer’s fancy. 

Bharti Art Jewellers

Address: 6623 Main Street Vancouver, Canada

Phone: +1 604 324 8558

Hours: Sunday to Monday, 12-6 PM

Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6 PM

Price: $


Okay, here’s another shop that’s grown along with the neighborhood. Bharti Art Jewellers started as a home business in the 1930s, until they opened in Vancouver in the 1970s.

Now, they’re celebrating their 50th year. And they have exquisite collections of hoop earrings, diamond bracelets, chains, and bangles worth checking out.

If you’re looking for kids’ bangles, they keep it simple and classic here at Bharti Art Jewellers. Just the type you’d want kids (or yourself) to wear.

Polo Market

Address: 6411 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5W 2V5, Canada 

Phone: +1 604 620-3240

Hours: Daily, 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Price: $


For your South Asian pantry needs, check out Polo Market, a cozy corner grocery store that locals love for its affordable goodies. From bags of rice to spices, organic food, Indian snacks, and fresh produce 

From bags of rice, spices, organic food, and Indian snacks to fresh produce, you can them from this one-stop shop for stocking up.

Tips when Visiting Punjabi Market

  • Explore on foot: Take in the lively vibes of Punjabi Market by walking through its vibrant streets, filled with shops and cultural richness.
  • Cash is handy: Many smaller shops may prefer cash transactions, so having some on hand is convenient.
  • Opt for weekdays for calm: Opting for a visit on weekdays often provides a quieter experience, compared to the busier weekends.
  • Try street food: Indulge in the street food offerings for an authentic and delicious experience of Punjabi cuisine.
  • Check event calendars: Before your visit, check local event calendars for any festivals or cultural events happening in Punjabi Market.
  • Bargaining is common: In smaller shops or markets, don’t be shy to engage in bargaining – it’s a common practice in this vibrant area.

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