One of the best things about living in Surrey is one’s access to a wide range of South Asian foods from across the world. In fact, the City is home to an impressive palette of South Asian fusion flavours ranging from Fijian style Indian dishes, to Indian style Chinese dishes, which extend far beyond what you’d normally think of when craving a decadent Indian meal.
It’s because of them that me, someone who has never visited her parents' home countries of Hong Kong and Fiji, can have a taste of her roots right here!
Here are five local restaurants serving up an array of unique South Asian dishes that 5X writer Manisha absolutely recommends you to try!
Ever imagine what Indian food would taste like if it was cooked with an island twist?
Well, I present to you Chand’s Restaurant, an eatery specializing in Fijian Style Indian Cuisine.
Fiji is a nation that is home to a large community of descendants from Indian labourers who created their own unique culture, distinct but intertwining with both Native Fijian and Indian lifestyles.
Popular foods akin to Fijian cuisine are cassava, seafood, and dalo (taro) roots.
A must try items on Chand’s menu is their fried cassava. It’s seriously delicious! Cassava is a vegetable similar to the texture of potato, and when fried and doused in spices, it can become very addicting.
There are only a few Fijian restaurants in Surrey, but Chand’s sure makes up for quantity with their quality, delicious meals. I have fond pre-pandemic memories enjoying a meal at their cozy restaurant with my mom. It’s a place I would take her and my grandma in to give them a taste of back home.
Chand’s restaurant is also home to Fijian style Chinese cuisine, which is equally as flavourful and exuberant. Their vegetarian chop suey is a crowd fave!
Mayuri Indian cuisine is the first place I’ve ever tried a dosa, and my experience there went on to set a precedent for any of my dosa cravings going forth. Mayuri is an award winning South Indian restaurant that serves up a variety of indulge-worthy dishes.
The fully vegetarian menu has over a dozen dosas, that are filled to the brim with almost any filling you could imagine from onions, potato, and spinach, to even paneer and mozzarella cheese! These fillings are fused with authentic South Indian spices. Pair them with a spicy sambar and coconut chutney and you are ready to go!
One of the most popular appetizers on their menu is Idli 65, a marinated and fried rice cake that’s doused in aromatic spices, resulting in a burst of flavour in each bite.
South Indian cuisine is among one of the more popular South Asian cuisines you can find in Surrey, but Mayuri is a hidden gem that you definitely must try.
Kathmandu Bar and Grill was formed out of an aspiration to combine the culinary treasures of Nepalese, Indo-Chinese, and Western Cuisine.
On their menu one can find items such as kung pao paneer, traditional Nepali soup, and arguably, the best mango shake in town!
I ordered takeout from Kathmandu Bar & Grill this past weekend, and let’s just say I ate a little bit more than I should have! They have flavourful vegetarian wings and momos which are steamed or grilled dumplings, packed with veggies or meat, that are native to Nepal, Tibet and some regions in India.
Neplaese cuisine has a unique flavour profile that is influenced by India, China, and Tibet. Kathmandu Bar & Grill takes those flavours, and fuses them with a variety of Western dishes, which work together to bring about a full fusion experience.
Pamir Diner is a restaurant where one can go to immerse themselves in authentic Afghan cuisine.
The menu offers staple dishes such as Kubuli Palaw, which is flavourful steamed rice mixed with raisins, carrots, and meat, as well as Aush Soup, which is a special Afghan noodle soup, cooked in a mixture of onions, garlic and tomatoes, different herbs, yogurt and mint flakes.
I absolutely love their vegetarian platter which includes baked white rice, eggplants, spinach, and tender potato slices topped with yogurt.
Pamir Diner is operated by the Yousofi family who immigrated from Afghanistan to Canada in 2009. After immediately feeling an absence for a place where they could get a taste of back home, the family worked hard to create their own. In 2019 Pamir Diner first opened their doors.
The experience of the Yousofi family is similar to that of many other family run restaurants in Surrey, who although are far from home, fight to keep their cultures alive.
The face of South Asian cuisine in Surrey is traditional, but also everchanging. We could not have finished off the list without including the innovative Taproom known as Showshaa!
“Showshaa” is an Indian term for the word “Showbiz” and represents the restaurant's true tenure to push the envelope forward for Indian cuisine.
Showshaa is a modern Indian bistro whose founders felt it important to boost Surrey’s food-scene with a much needed dose of freshness and creativity.
The restaurant serves vibrant and flavourful dishes including Sesame Paneer Fingers, Indian style Tacos and Burger, and even Butter Chicken Poutine.
The first time I went to Showshaa, I was blown away by the restaurant's filmic decor and ambience. To make matters even better, their food was just as creative! My favourite item on their menu is the paneer tacos! The paneer is seriously the juiciest I have ever had at any restaurant.
“Showshaa is way more than just amazing food & drinks – it is about breaking stereotypes, offering an unforgettable experience and pleasing hearts.”
So there you have it, five local restaurants that serve up a variety of unique South Asian dishes that I think you absolutely must try!
We are lucky to live in this beautifully diverse city offering a variety of South Asian cuisines, bringing both traditional and modern flavours to the table.
Now, next time you want to indulge your taste buds on a trip through South Asia’s flavour palette, you won’t have to go too far!
Manisha is a writer and reporter with previous radio and television experience, who is passionate about connecting audiences to the stories and voices that matter to them most. Check her out on Instagram: @exclusivelymanisha