Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Surrey

Spice 72 Indian Restaurant & Lounge

I have started going back to the gym, opting for a location closer to work. A gym in Surrey, heading down once a week. This has given my gym buddy and myself the opportunity to explore more of that city. I questioned a few of my coworkers, looking for a good spot for Indian food. Spice 72 came highly recommended, with subsequent responses agreeing to the referral.

It wasn’t close to the gym, but having the glowing review warranted giving them a chance. My expectations came as high as my hunger, when we walked in famished after a 2 hour weight focused workout.

The decor and restaurant/lounge set up reminded me of an Earls or Cactus Club, a nice spot to post up and claim a cocktail. Already this wasn’t the hole in the wall, mom and pop comfort cooking kitchen, as I was initially expecting. But we made the 20 minute trip down and was hinging on hangry.

I was recommended a handful of vegetarian appetizers from my coworkers, so chose the most interesting of the 5, and followed it up with two meatier entrees.

Golgappe was described as round, hollow puri filled with a mixture of flavored water and potatoes on the menu. Little puffs served with two vials. It was delivered with no instruction or explanation so we put two and two together. Pouring liquid awkwardly into the open hold of the round puff. Later I was told that I should have dipped each ball into urn or spoon out the water instead. You are also given so much liquid so we didn’t know how much to fill and with which one for which flavour. Later, when the server came to check in, we learned that the green was a mint based water; and the orange one: a tamarind. The result was an interesting one bite, juicy canapé, better with the tamarind than the mint, interesting with the two mixed together. This definitely served as a unique starter, refreshing to help rev up the appetite and balance out the heavier meal to follow.

I was craving for, so indulged in the basic Butter Chicken. A smaller serving of boneless chicken tikka cooked with a rich tomato cream sauce. The flavour was there, plenty of sauce to sop up with the naan and roti we ordered to accompany it with. It was just a shame that the chicken breast within was dry. Shame that I could tell this was made before hand and reheated to order. I originally ordered a second serving to go, only to negate it after trying and being disappointed by this.

When it came to the bread, I prefer the fluffier and chewier naan over the thinner and slightly crispy roti. The Garlic Naan is garnished with fresh garlic and herbs, and Tandoori Roti is leavened wheat bread baked in the tandoor oven. I was also happy to have ordered a serving of basmati rice that came with peas. Such carbohydrate based sides are ideal for fully enjoying all the sauces above and in the curry below.

The Goat/Lamb Curry was suggested by our server. The goat came a lot more tender than the chicken above. It appeared to be slower cooked and came served almost pulled, which definitely helped the texture. It was prepared in fragrant onion and authentic spices. This was a warmer curry with heated spices, but not spicy. It had a similar flavour profile to the butter chicken, but without the sweetness.

When asked by our server, we also indulged in some drinks. I questioned the authenticity of the “Indian Coffee”, trying to ask our server if the coffee beans used were any different than ones you get here in Canada. She was unable to confirm, so we ordered it anyways, only to try and learn it was just a medium roast coffee with milk and sugar.

Similarly the Masala Chai disappointed. It tasted similar to the coffee above, even served in the same tea pot and cup to match. Plus the colour was similar; as well as the taste as I barely got any chai spices.

Overall I was disappointed by my experience. I came in hungry and excited over the referral; however the restaurant didn’t deliver to the caliber I saw in the decor and marketing presence. The travel was out of the way for food I could have gotten similarly or even better, from a handful of restaurants that we passed by along the way. Not the worst, but I am still on the search for the best Indian restaurant in Surrey, but now focused on hole in the wall establishments.

Spice 72 Indian Restaurant & Lounge
12025 72 Ave, Surrey, BC V3W 2M1
(604) 503-1172

Oshpaz, Uzbekistan cuisine

With the unpredictable and sudden nature of Covid this last year, a lot of people have had their lives disrupted and uprooted. Many have lost their jobs, and only a few have been given the opportunity to pivot. In comes new local, family-owned business. Small mom and pop shops operating out of their own kitchens homes for supplemental or sole income. I don’t know much about their legality or how they operate, so when Oshpaz serving out of Surrey approached me, I was happy to have them be my first such experience.

They promised an introduction to the “flavours and culture of Uzbekistan” through their cuisine. A nation and people I know nothing of, and certainly was curious enough to want to try. “ Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the south-west.”, as taken from Wikipedia

Precovid, this small batch operation had its eyes on popping up at farmers markets, and introducing their unique food there, before going mobile in a food truck. This dream would eventually lead them to a brick and mortar restaurant, serving the authentic Uzbekistan cuisine and experience. However, with their plans stalled, they waited a year before coming to the to conclusion: why wait? So here they are currently, offering take and out and delivery options. And as this is their soft launch, and they are still working out logistics, and therefore their menu is limited. As such, the following is what we had.

Pick up was from the owner’s house. The food was packed up with utensils and spices. Although traditionally, the cuisine is enjoyed with hands, eaten with the entire family, sharing from one large platter, all on the floor. Having heard this and a few other traditional dining intricacies, we decided to replicate what we could.

As per said traditions we began with dessert to warm up our appetites. This is “medovik”, a popular Uzbek dessert made with walnuts and honey. Despite all the cream between thin layers of flakey crumble it wasn’t too sweet. I can see the honey helping to strike up the appetite. And this was a nice start to our meal

From there you transition to your main, accompanied by a dense loaf of bread coated with olive oil and plenty of salt, called “non”. It offered texture and tastes breaks from the rice and meat below.

The national dish of Uzbekistan is “plov” it is a rice dish made with carrots, chickpea, and garlic. With Oshpaz you get your choice of protein between chicken or beef. We had one of each for two people. Comparing the two, you get more meat with the chicken, four pieces of breast meat to ration amongst all the rice below; as opposed to the only two pieces of beef. Therefore it is no surprise that my critique includes more meat than rice, and for the meat to be less dry by way of a sauce or a spread. Although the heavily oiled rice did help as a lubricant, and when you are reheating it later, you only need to pour it all into a pan and fry. The rice is definitely the highlight, I appreciated all the garlic used and the even distribution of spices.

And last was Uzbekistan‘s most common salad. An undressed serving of cucumber, tomatoes, and onion, with salt and pepper to taste. The goal with this is to add some freshness and cleanse the palette from all the garlic above.

As a whole, this was comfort eating, familiar flavours done with slight variations to make it new to your mouth. A great new experience to add to my foodie repertoire, though a little inconvenient to travel to, from where I reside in (Burnaby to Surrey). Here is hoping that they gain popularity and can offer their food on delivery apps, after all where else can you find Uzbekistan cuisine in the Lower Mainland?

Manis Restaurant

We were in Surrey this evening and seeing as we made the trip out, we decided to take advantage of our locale by visiting “Manis”, a Pan Asian restaurant in Whalley. My guest learned about it from another trusted blogger’s review: Sherman of @shermansfoodadventures. And I am always down to try any restaurant that celebrates food and the cuisine that I grew up with, hailing from South East Asia.

Tucked away amongst high rises, on a slower street, it isn’t easy to spot; you need to know of it to know where to go. The inside of this two storey property is set up fairly cozy, like a local cafe. Artificial vines wrapped around the room and vinyls of leaves adhered, helped to round out the woodsy theme. Empty walls were filled with framed photos of their menu items; this I found to be an easier way to order, than simply reading off their written menu with a few scattered photos. With only a few diners and no music overhead, you eat to the sounds of a humming fan and whizzing machinery. Not the type of place you want to linger and enjoy at. More eat and go, or take out.

Seeing as ”Manis” was Sherman’s recommendation, we also ordered what he suggested, like the “Singapore laksa”. This was a little too bland for my tastes, I grew up with laksa having plenty of fermented shrimp paste. Shrimp paste not only gives the broth spice, tang, and kick; but it also uplifts its accompanying ingredients as well. I didn’t get it here with the rice vermicelli, chicken, shrimp, tofu puffs, boiled egg, bean sprouts, and shrimp based coconut cream soup. The soup was creamy and the flavour nice, but this was not my favourite rendition of the popular noodle soup.

I liked the “Beef nasi lemak” more and found it more authentic. Malaysian rendang beef curry, coconut rice, egg, pickled vegetables, peanuts, and anchovy samabl. A choose your own adventure in a meal. You pick and curate your perfect bite, balancing the tough beef with fragrant coconut milk infused rice; or the spicy pickles and fresh cucumber, with tangy anchovy.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wouldn’t drive all the way to Surrey for this. Nor would I necessarily go out of my way to try more of it when the area. It was home style cooking, good but I can’t help comparing to my mother’s cooking that I grew up with and prefer. Don’t deny your cravings.

10768 Whalley Blvd #116, Surrey, BC V3T 0B7
604) 497-1778

Kripsy Kreme


When visiting Surrey, from any where else in the lower mainland, I suggest stopping at the “Krispy Kreme” in Delta. Located at the border between Delta and Surrey, it is the only one in our province. They are a doughnut name and brand that proceeds themselves.

Can’t find the time to drive out? You can also get your fix from their doughnut fundraisers. It is where local clubs, sport teams, and organizations partner with “Krispy Kreme” to support their individual goals. They sell the original doughnut with glaze, and a portion of its proceeds go directly to the organization raising funds. The “Krispy Kreme” franchise might lose money, but it gains advertising and reach. These $1 per doughnut and $10 for a box of 10 are available wherever these groups decide to post up. Tables and cash boxes seem to pop up all over the lower mainland. I have purchased boxes from outside of Chapters and Walmart, on random street corners and in community centres. And it is all for a good local community cause.

Just walking up to the building got me excited. The legacy of the name and the pageantry of the place, strengthened their branding. It was their clean white look partnered with their green and red logo, finished with a 50’s diner sleek style inside and out. Their clerks even wore the paper fold up soda jerk hats to match. And best of all, you could too. They had a stand with them by the cash register for you to help yourself to, as a momento of your time.


When you enter, you walk across the checkered floor towards their counter. Doing so by avoiding their lone shelf of merchandise, an island in the middle of the floor. On it were coffee mugs branded with their logo and other mugs shaped like their iconic doughnut trucks; which looked like their spotted doughnut boxes, but with four wheels. I was sincerely tempted by their plastic tumbler patterned with various doughnuts, but refrained: to get the real thing instead.


Their showcase of doughnuts was to the right. Seeing as their fundraising groups only offer their best selling original, when I came to their actual store today, I decided to see what else they offered. I was not surprised to see all the doughnut varieties familiar to me. The Boston cream, which was a chocolate topped and creamed filled doughnut that they called “custard filled”. Their jam doughnuts were labelled as “powdered strawberry filled”. Their long johns were longer than I have seen most, and they came in either “chocolate bar” or “maple bar”. They also had sprinkled doughnuts in strawberry or chocolate “iced”. They even offered the more cakey doughnuts with a denser texture in the traditional ring, or as an actual individual sized cake. A baked chocolate or coffee cake. Between all that, a glossy apple fritter, and the glazed filled strawberry or lemon; they didn’t really go out of the box in look and flavour. I noted that it was late November, and they were still offering a pumpkin spice flavoured doughnut. Though I sadly overheard that tomorrow they would be switching to their winter flavours, and I would miss out. Because in how many years they have been open, this was my first visit, and I don’t expect to drive all the way out here again just for doughnuts.


We took a seat and ate a doughnut each. I found it odd that they had so much seating across counter stools, regular tables, and booths. Especially considering they didn’t offer much past coffee-ed beverages and sweet doughnuts. They had nothing savoury warranting a sit down meal, but I guess they encouraged large groups and longer stays.


They certainly put on a show to keep their patrons engaged and hungry. Their whole doughnut making operation was on display, behind glass. It reminded me of a large scale mini donut conveyor belt. That sounds oxymoronic. Today, on the conveyor belt was their original sugar glazed doughnuts.


We were able to watch each ring swim in oil, flip over to brown on each side, bob its way to the rollers where it began to dry off, and then pass under the shower of liquid icing.


My partner’s comment embodied how we both felt be holding the sight, “oh my god, the icing! I can eat that shit straight up!” It did look that good. The icing eventually dried with hardening around the doughnut ring. I wanted to ask for one of these fresh from the fry doughnuts, but the glazed one that we had below was pretty fresh too. You could feel it’s warmth when you picked it up, it was one of the freshest doughnuts I have ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth in to.


We went modest with a half dozen in a box and had fun choosing three flavours each. “Chocolate iced Kreme filled” with the typical white peaked icing, “Salted caramel” with a crunchy toffee bit topping and a sticky centre, “Mocha Kreme” topped with chocolate and filled with coffee cream; and their feature, “cookies and cream” made with crumbled Oreos and a surprising chocolate cream centre, not the iconic Oreo white cream one you would expect. Each of these doughnuts used the same dough, which gave each the same buttery texture, and the same perfect spongy quality. So fluffy that it sprung back after the initial bite and practically melted in your mouth. I am sure it’s incredibly fattening, but you don’t get a doughnut this smooth anywhere else, and without some cost to your waistline. Therefore having it once in a while is totally worth the calories. Each doughnut delivered on its flavour promise. The filled ones were stuffed with sweet and silky cream. Though half way through it became teeth achingly too sweet for me. I ended up squeezing the excess out and smearing what I could on a napkin. We needed water to balance this, or better yet milk.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Realistically I would love to comeback, often for desert and seasonally to see their rotating speciality creations. Though the commute and the toll bridge fee hardly seems worth it. I wish they had a doughnut trunk that drives around baking and serving fresh doughnuts, like an ice cream truck. And for those who live in the vicinity, I don’t need to recommend their doughnuts, people in the know, know they are good. They are so popular that they even have a doughnut drive through. A drive through to cut down your morning drive in, and to satisfy your anytime doughnut and coffee cravings. Don’t deny yours.


7153 120 Street, Delta BC, V4E 2A9
Krispy Kreme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Malaysian Hut Restaurant


Hailing from South East Asian and having been back on several occasions I find myself craving the cuisine I grew up on and the foods my parents indulged me in. So as a family we drove out to Surrey to try “Malaysian Hut”. This is our second go at the place, the first was on a Monday, only to find out they were closed. The website and the menu listed is really what had us wanting to go in the first place. The food looked authentic and the descriptions sounded delicious, triggering fond memories.

It is a small family run business open since 1998, specializing in East Malaysian style cooking. They go so far as to import most of their ingredients straight from their hometown of Miri, Sarawak. Their claim of offering traditional Malaysian dishes that you cannot find anywhere else in the city is accurate. Believe me, I have been on the constant search. No other places I have been to offer Pulut Pangang (sweet glutinous rice with shrimp paste wrapped in banana leaf), Rojak (traditional Malaysian salad), Loh Mee (egg noodles with a minced meat sauce), Kuching Curry Laksa (noodle in soup) and Kuih Dadar (crepe infused with pandan leaves and wrapped with finely shredded coconut and palm sugar).


The restaurant was hard to see from the road. We missed it several times rounding the block in our car. The dark of the night and their unlit awning made the restaurant’s name impossible to read. And the small neon “open” sign wasn’t even visible. It also didn’t help that a row of thin pines fenced them and their parking lot away from the street. Because of this we suspect they do most of their business during lunch, when its bright out their restaurant is visible and the surrounding establishments are also open for business.

Looking in we were intimated by the empty restaurant before us. Though found it oddly comforting to have a couple come in as we were about to leave. We had called ahead so one table was prepared with cutlery. We walked in and were greeted warmly. Family members came and went during our stay. We assumed the mother was the one to welcomed us, and had just finished her shift. It was her daughter that was taking over, she would be the one to serve us. As is the case with many small family run restaurants it is cash only, a fact we were observant enough to read on the sign taped by the cash desk.

The restaurant was dressed like a home. A well themed living room with orange walls, wicker chairs, and curtains of beige and white. It was more quaint and cozy then other small restaurants offering similar cuisine. Decorations consisted of artwork and artifacts, a lot of which we couldn’t place. Framed medallions, panel carvings, straw hats, stone statues, and a wooden paddle. It was the country music that threw me off the most, it is not what I imagine hearing at a hole in the wall Malaysian restaurant. It really didn’t match the cuisine.


We appreciated the design of the menu. A lengthly laminated sheet with pictures and descriptions for every item offered. Though it only looked longer than it actually was. There were a few items that were only slight variations on the same thing. For example both the flat rice noodles and the egg noodles started off with their intended noodles, bean sprouts, and eggs. What had them differing and earning their own title was the secondary ingredients used: barbecue pork, shredded chicken, or grilled shrimp, to name a few.

As the only ones dining our food was made to order and came in a speedy fashion. There is comfort in being able to hear your food being made in the kitchen. The scrape of the wok with metal spatula, and the sizzle of fresh ingredients hitting oil.


“Roti Canai”, this one is a must order for my mother. Crispy pancakes with curry sauce. Despite what the menu suggested this wasn’t a traditional curry. The sauce had a flavour we couldn’t put our finger on. It was warm and spicy enough, but so heavy that it didn’t pair as well with the light and sweet roti. Each piece of pancake was light with an enjoyable elastic-like texture. Not at all greasy, it was best enjoyed with bare hands dipping dough into sauce.


“Pulut Panggang”, sweet glutinous rice filled with spicy sun dried shrimp & shredded coconut. We choose this based on the photo advertised. In the menu it was shown as sticky rice packaged in a wrap of banana leaves. So we were undoubtedly disappointed to see the brick of yellow rice presented before us. The original intent was to have the rice grilled in the leaf, giving it a nice char. A smokey smell and a toasted taste. The rice was fragrant and neon yellow from the turmeric used. The pairing of the sweet rice and the spicy filling were a nice play. The side of shredded purple cabbage and carrot was a needed element to fresh up the plate.


“Nonya Mee Hoon Goreng”. Vermicelli stir fried with sambal sauce, bean sprouts, sun dried shrimps, and prawns. According to my mother “Nonya” referred to an ethnicity of Chinese people mixed with the locals of Malaysia. Apparently they are known for their quality of food. If that is indeed the case, given the great flavours of this noodle dish, the name was aptly chosen. The pan fried noodles were some of the most tastiest I have ever had, flavoured with a strong shrimp paste. Layers of spices created evolving flavours that kept the whole dish interesting from start to finish. I was however disappointed that we were only given two grilled prawns for all the noodles. Carefully laid on top, the shrimp served as more of a decoration than a main ingredient.


“Nasi Lemak”, coconut steam rice served with curry chicken, fried eggs, chilli seasoned anchovies, fresh cucumber, and salted peanuts. This was a complete meal with plenty of sides. Lots of elements kept the plate interesting, but it isn’t necessarily a combination for everyone. When was the last time you had a breaded and deep fried hard boiled egg, that was then covered in tiny salted fish? Not for everyone. The chicken curry was dominating in heat and spice. It easily overpowered everything, which the cucumber aided by offering a descent palette cleanser. The peanuts in this dish are usually fried, these were not. The frying process would have had them more fragrant, but as is they still added a nice crunchy texture.


“Char Kway Teow”, the “regular” version of rice noodles with bean sprouts and BBQ pork. The taste was a little different than what I am familiar with, possibly some black bean sauce in the mix? I found it a little salty with not enough noodles to BBQ pork ratio. Overall average and a little disappointing.


“Fish Ball Soup”. Hand rolled fish balls with vermicelli or glass noodles. We choose the latter, as it’s the noodle more commonly used. It tasted like something my aunt would and could make, feel good home cooking. The soup was seasoned with sesame oil and onion from the flakes of fried onion sprinkled on top. Served last, the soup was unfortunately bland when compared to everything else before. Though it is meant to be a lighter clear broth. The fish balls tasted fresh, you could tell they were mostly made from real fish paste. Each round was spongy and firm in texture, bursting with fishy goodness.

Only after we asked for the bill did we see the sign advertising their daily special of “low sue fen”. This is a special type of noodle named after it “mouse” like appearance. A noodle I love and a noodle I have yet to see offered at any restaurant. I wish we knew about this before we ordered. Had I known this would have been ordered instead of the “Char Kway Teow”. I was disappointed to have missed it. It would have been nice to be told of specials as we went through our menu.

The washroom showed the age of the building which the main dining room was able to hide with its yellow lights and distracting decorations. The one room unisex stall hummed from a blinking florescent light. Erie, it was a scene I could imagine from a horror movie gas station. The washroom itself was grungy. Decorated with dried and fake flowers and odd nick knacks. It looked like a collection of items that the family no longer wanted, but didn’t want to waste my throwing out, so put them on display here. A bouquet of rainbow dyed and now dried flowers? and decorative soaps festively shaped and protected in cellophane.

The bill came with some fruit candies, it was a nice touch and much needed given the about of spice we left with in our mouths. The tea helped but was not enough of a palette cleanser. Even the candy wasn’t enough. I looked forward to going home and brushing my teeth.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I only say no to returning because of the distance we had to travel. I cannot justify driving three cities over and spending almost an hour in the car just for Malaysian food, despite how good it is. We enjoyed what we had though found the cuisine to be more Chinese style Malaysian, than true authentic Malaysian. An therefore a few flavours we expected were lacking. I was also somewhat sadden that our meal wasn’t served on plastic plates like you would get from outdoor hawker stands in Southeast Asia, something I oddly miss. My mother found the food good, but the flavours over the top. Being familiar with the recipes and having made a handful of them herself she feel restaurant style cooking is exaggerated. She declared it was like they over compensate to ensure flavour. Smart, given food and opinion is subjective. Hedge your bets by jam packing dishes with spices and herbs, and wish for the best. Once again I enjoyed what we had, but cannot declare it the best or even the most authentic. Good, but I will not be back for more because of distance. Though if you are in the area or live in proximity I suggest stopping by for some rice and noodles. Where it’s cash only, the prices are decent, and the serving sizes are average. Don’t deny your cravings.

14727 108 Ave Suite 108, Surrey BC, V3R1V8
Malaysian Hut Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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