By Kamilla Singh
Surrey: Chands Restaurant on 120th Street in Surrey is one place that you will never regret going and checking it out. Their motto is bringing taste of Fiji. The population of Fijians in Metro Vancouver is over 70,000. There are lots of Fijian restaurants to go and dine out, the days that you don’t feel like cooking at home, but a good Fijian restaurant are few and far in between. Chands specialize in Fiji style Chinese and Indian cuisine. They have freshly brewed Fiji style coffee, chicken long soup, lamb stir fry and Chinese style lamb chaise. They say never Judge the book by its cover, same thing can be said about Chands Restaurant.
It may look small from outside and it can only hold up to 22 people to dine in, but they are known for take outs and catering. While driving on Scott Road on a Wednesday afternoon, I decided to walk in and try their food, I also heard raving reviews about their palao, especially chicken palou, I found out that they only cook the palou on Saturdays and it goes like a hotcake. Since I was there I wanted to sample their fish curry, what sets Chands restaurant apart from its Fijian counterparts is that the standard of produce used in their cooking, you would taste everything is fresh and all fresh ingredients are used in their cooking.
Decorations is also Fijian art work displayed on the wall with a big screen TV, you know all the gossips in Bollywood just by waiting and watching the TV screen, very clean and well presented.
When asked who are his clientele, Veenal Chand the owner said, “Mostly Fiji Indians and local Fijians are the ones that come in to eat here; our food is typical authentic Indo Fijian food.”
“I grew up in a family of chefs, my mom owes one of the biggest restaurant in Ba Fiji and I learned from her as well as went to school to learn how to cook professionally, I have worked in all top notch hotels and restaurants in Fiji, so I have many years of experience in food preparation and in food industry.” he added.
“I am the main chef in this location, I do have a lot of helpers who are sous chefs but I am the one who does most of the cooking, you pretty well must know why customers came here, they want to try authentic Fijian dishes not fusion, that’s what I do.” Anyone who has never eaten a typical Fijian cuisine I want to give the taste of what Fijian cuisine is all about, once they eat there they are hooked to our food.
“I go to Fiji every six month to talk to my suppliers and put the order in to get the fresh food especially fresh fish from Fiji” he said.
I ordered Fish curry which I was craving for, the fish curry came with a big bowel of curried fish with two rotis, 2 papadum, rice, dhal two types of chutneys, tomato and coconut, plenty food for one person. The fish was succulent bursting with flavor from its exotic spices, this fish is only available in tropical waters, and it’s called Walu fish, only found in tropical waters of Fiji Islands. Everything was unusually delicious; I can’t recommend this place enough especially if you have a keen appetite. All of these at a bargain price of only $12:99 and just like in Fiji, you have to be patient and wait whist while the kitchen makes up some of those rotis from scratch and everything else is make from the starch, even they grind their own spices, you can taste the difference, the spices that are in bottles packed and sitting on the shelves for a while and the ones that are freshly grounded. I would go back and I will try to make it on a Saturday to see if I can get lucky to grab some chicken palou to go.
They are located at 9381-120 Street in Delta, eat in, take out and they do catering for all occasion. Open seven days a week from 11am to midnight. Give them a call at 604-951-8488.
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By Kamilla Singh