Welcome to Little Tibet

A plaza runs along Queen street West showing a restaurant called Little Tibet Cafe. The Jamieson Avenue sign is collaged beside.

Made in Exile takes us to the Little Tibet in Toronto

Little Tibet is located in Parkdale Toronto, and has the world’s largest community of Tibetan people outside of Asia. Many people who fled the Chinese-occupied Tibet arrive in this neighbourhood. Made in Exile is an organization that helps Tibetan youth navigate exilehood through the arts. They are our community partners that you may be familiar with through our recent made in exile audio drama series (still available to listen to on our website!).

Today, we asked Shavo Dorjee and Rinchen Dolma from Made in Exile to introduce us to Little Tibet and other Tibetan businesses on this short interview!

Where is Little Tibet?

Dorjee: In our hearts (haha)

Rinchen: Little Tibet refers to the neighbourhood in South Parkdale — you’ll walk by Tibetan restaurants and shops along Queen West from Dufferin to Roncesvalles. Queen Street to Lakeshore. 

What’s your first memory of the neighbourhood?

Dorjee: When I arrived in Canada, someone came to pick us up at the airport and took the Jameson exit from the Gardiner. When we started to drive up Jameson, I saw an old Tibetan couple, that’s when I knew… there are Tibetans here. When you see elders taking walks, you know you are in the community. They don’t walk very far from where they live.

What are some restaurants you can run into in the Neighbourhood?

Rinchen: There are some great options. Places like Momo Cafe & Zomsa Bar is near the Lansdowne bus stop, so we go there for quick homemade food.

Dorjee: Sometimes, I go to the restaurants and cafes when I have a craving for spicy Tibetan food and for the atmosphere. I usually walk into whichever place is open — and there will usually be a tv on, it will be kind of noisy, the owners will come over and ask “how are you doing”? 

Tiny Cafe

10 Macdonell Ave

Tashi Delek Cafe

223 Jameson Ave

Shangrila Tibetan & Asian Cuisine

10 Macdonell Ave

Himalayan Kitchen

10 Macdonell Ave

Om Restaurant

1439 Queen St W

Garleek Kitchen

1500 Queen St W

Tsampa Tibetan Restaurant

1528 Queen St W

Momo Cafe & Zomsa Bar

1500 Queen St W

I'm new to Tibetan Cafes. What do I order?

Rinchen: Aloo Ping-sha is an example of food that comes out of our exile-hood. “Aloo” is an Indian word, and “Ping” means Vermicelli, and “Sha” is Tibetan to refer to this kind of vermicelli soup noodle. 

Also try Chilli ChickenTingmo (Steamed Bun) are great menus to start. I really recommend the Tibetan breakfast at Garleek Kitchen. Also, check out Lunch specials at Om restaurant. You see students from Parkdale Collegiate Institute eat here all the time.

But momos: everyone has to have momos.

Colourful restaurant wallpaper has rainbow colours and royal blue shapes that repeat. Food is steaming hot and has rice, noodles, soup, and tingmo

Chilli Chiken, Tibetan Aloo ping-sha noodles, Tingmo at the Shangrila Tibetan & Asian Cuisine

How about some shopping?

Boutique Shop has large display windows with Tibetan accessories, clothes and homeware

Check out Boutique Cafe (or Himalayan Creations) for clothing, accessories, cards, scarves, incenses, pillows, and so much more!

In Parkdale there’s also Mandala (Convenience store that also carries groceries). They sell things that are from back home, also things from India and Nepal (where a lot of Tibetan people come to Canada from), like Mehndi. These were the shops that we would go to get phone cards, spices, snacks, and vegetables.

They also sell Tsampa. Tsampa is a Tibetan Barley Flour and it is THE Tibetan food.

Who are some cool Tibetan entrepreneurs we can support?


Nineteen59 is a youth led group that focuses on enriching the Tibetan identity and culture preservation through arts, fashion and community development.

They create merch that promotes the message of oneness and awareness of the Tibetan identity.


The Snow Lion Club is a small Tibetan brand comprised of local Tibetan youth, whose primary focus is to create a collective that utilizes art to engage & educate Tibetan youth about the rich history and culture of Tibet.

Lotus Born Studio makes clothes, designed with the values of their nomadic experience: Courage, generosity and expression.

In the photo is Rinchen wearing their hoodie!


Dolma Tsering is a certified Yoga instructor, a personal trainer & health & Wellness coach, who is also involved in Reiki, Cupping & massage therapy.

“We are community-oriented and civically engaged people.”

Every week the community gathers for Lhakar, a non-violent, non-cooperation movement of civil resistance happening inside Tibet

Rinchen: We really care about not just what’s happening at home, but in our local community. We are at the forefront of housing/worker rights. We are community-oriented and civically engaged people. There’s a rich history of organizing in Parkdale not just in the Tibetan freedom movement, but also about how the Parkdale neighbourhood has become heavily gentrified.

We often have vigils and protests in Little Tibet. Every year on March 10, we have our uprising day. March 12 we have the women’s uprising day.

This is a place we crafted while we live here, in exile. When you come to Little Tibet, support the businesses. Come and try the food, it’s very homemade, affordable, and made for working people, the Parkdale community. Made with love!

MADE IN EXILE is a grassroots community arts based initiative that started in 2015 for and by Tibetan youth navigating exilehood.

Made in Exile is invested in intentional placemaking in exile through arts engaged storytelling and community building. Through contemporary mediums of art, Made in Exile offers free programs to Tibetan youth in Tkarón:to and to date has designed four theatre programs, two film intensives and a textile program while creating opportunities for communities to engage inter-generationally.

Follow them on Instagram!

I acted in two feature films and made two short films but I wasn’t trained and schooled in both. I think being Tibetan in today’s time has made me drawn towards this lane. It’s been 3 years and six month in Canada, I have applied for PR and am waiting. Waiting is a big part of our Tibetan life. We waited since 1959. I am learning to be patient, you know.

Thank you.

རིན་ཆེན་སྒྲོལ་མ་|Rinchen Dolma (ཁོ་/མོ་/she/her) was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and is currently based in Tkarón:to. She is a community arts practitioner, performer, an emerging playwright, dramaturge and director.

She is also the founder and Artistic Director of MADE IN EXILE, an arts-based initiative that engages young Tibetan creatives in exploring their complex identities through contemporary mediums of storytelling in exile. Rinchen developed སྒྲོལ་མ་ [DOLMA] at Aki Studios at part of the 2019 Paprika Festival’s Directors Lab. Most recently, Rinchen joined Factory Theatre’s Foundry 2021 program, a new work creation group facilitated by Nina Lee Aquino, where she has been developing a full-length play piece called “July 1st.” She is the recipient of the 2020 Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Program in Artistic Direction under Marjorie Chan.

Check out our upcoming show

Headshot of Jade and Chloé next to each other. Jade and Chloé are mixed race Quebecoise and Tibetan sisters. They both have their dark brown hair tied up in a bun, smiling in front of a light white background
BâtardesA Théâtre Everest Production presented by Theatre Passe Muraille
Running May 28 — June 4, 202

“Where are you from?” Chloé and Jade Barshee are trying to find pieces of the puzzle to answer this nuanced question. To do that, they climb mountains of memories, tame a flamboyant monster, and cross a school yard in dance formation. 

Born to a Tibetan father and a Québecoise mother, this is a touching auto-fiction combining anecdotes, poetic monologues and video archives. Join Chloé and Jade as they try to search for their own identity, in an immersive theatrical world where their imaginations and realities merge!

Bâtardes ཞེས་བོད་པ་དང་ཁྱུ་སྦེག་མི་རིགས་འདྲེས་མའི་སྒྱུ་རྩལ་བ་ Chloé and Jade Barshee. གཉིས་ཀྱིས་རང་གི་འབྱུང་ཁུངས་ངོ་བོ་རྩད་གཅོད་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ཡིད་དབང་འཕྲོག་པའི་སྒྲུང་གཏམ་འཁྲབ་སྟོན་འདིར་མཉམ་ཞུགས་གནང་རོགས།འཁྲབ་སྟོན་འདི་ཕྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༢༢ ཟླ་  ༥ ཚེས་ ༢༨ ནས་ཟླ་ ༦  ཚེས་ ༤ བར་ཡིན་ལ། འཁྲབ་སྟོན་པ་ངོ་མས་ཐད་གཏོང་གི་འཁྲབ་སྟོན་ཅིག་ཡིན།འཁྲབ་ཡུལ་ཚོགས་ཁང་ Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Ave.) འཁྲབ་སྟོན་འདི་ནི་ཕ་རན་སིའི་སྐད་ཡིག་ནང་ཡིན་པ་དང་། དབྱིན་ཇིའི་ཐོག་འགོ་བརྗོད་འགྲེལ་བཤད་ཡོད། སྟོན་གླ་སྒོར་ ༡༠ལ་འགོ་འཛུགས་བྱ་རྒྱུ། གནས་ཚུལ་འཕར་མ་དགོས་རིགས་ནས་ང་ཚོའི་དྲརྒྱ་།www.passemuraille.caལ་གཟིགས་དགོས།