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Hungry Zus

Today we were downtown Vancouver to check out a new grab and go option, by one of Granville Skytrain’s back exits/entrance. This was once home to a plant-base cafe with a similar speed is key approach to their cuisine.

Hungry Zus has been soft opened since November of 2023, and are preparing to have their grand opening this Thursday, February 15th, 2024. And to celebrate the occasion they are offering the first 10 customers a free meal, the first 50: 50% off and the first 100: 25% off. And here is why you need to take them up on their offer.

This is Mediterranean fast casual, think Chipotle where everything is assembled as either a wrap or a bowl, but less Tex-mex and more olives, lentils, and hummus.

This is an at the counter service with plenty of options to grab and go; and even more seating to order, pay, and dine in. You approach the counter and read through their menu suspended above. The popular choice is to build your own bowl/wrap and walk through the process with the clerk on the other side of the glass partition.

The process starts at the end furtherest from the door. You choose your receptacle between the aforementioned bowl or wrap. Next, your base between greens or grains with various options and the choice to have it split. Brown rice, Power Rice (extra beans and lentils for +$1 extra), Super Mix Greens, Arugula and Leafy Lettuce, Baby Spinach, or Romaine Lettuce for those wanting a healthier option. I was here for the taste, so went for 100% Yellow Dill Rice for 100% everything I ordered. I thought nevermind the photo op, and this way it would still be tasty as leftovers, whereas greens wilt.

Next you pick your protein from an equally impressive list. For those looking to go plant-based they have Roasted Sweet Potatoes or their in house made Falafel, which is a chickpea pastry with cilantro.

For me it is protein through animal products and here they have grilled chicken, grilled pork gyro style, and the premium option of their honey harissa chicken or spicy Greek meatballs for $2 extra.

I gravitated towards the chicken and pork options as I like a meaty chew, and was highly impressed by how much they load your bowl up with. Already at this point, I know the minimum price of $15 is well worth it. The grilled chicken was tender and well marinated for 24 hours in lemon and herbs. The Honey Harissa Chicken is sweet and spicy grilled chicken marinated in local honey and their house-made spicier sauce. This is like the chicken above, but with a lot more kick. Although, my favourite was the Grilled Pork Gyro. Tender and juicy, low and slow roasted pork that reminded me of the meat you get in a shawarma. Next time, I will have to try their lamb and beef meatballs. I typically find meat balls dry and hard so didn’t want to chance it. Although given how much I liked the top 3, the meatballs seem worth revisiting during my next visit.

Continuing with our bowl-build you get a choice of 1 or 2 scoops of Spreads & Dips next. It was all complimentary with one another, and all familiar. A Traditional Hummus made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. A Roasted Eggplant Dip with char-grilled eggplant, olive oil, and lemon juice. A Red Pepper Hummus from fresh roasted red peppers pureed with chickpeas, this their own unique twist on the traditional. Tzatziki, a Greek yogurt blended with fresh shredded cucumber, dill, and fresh lemon juice; similar to but not to be confused with their “Amazing Feta”, which is a feta whipped with greek yogurt, jalapeño, onion, and olive oil. All but the latter two are vegan.

I played it safe with my choices and stuck to my usual go-to’s of tzatziki and hummus and found they made the bowl all the more tastier. Two heaping scoops of dips that sets them apart from more conservative bowl offerings out there.

With the ability to only pick 2 out of the 5 sauces, you can try the other 3 as an a la carte dip with a side of either soft pitas or crispy pita chips. I highly recommend doing this as a healthier and taster side to your rice bowl or salad wrap instead of the would be fries at other places.

Having said that they do also offer fries on the side the likes of yam, tater tots, and the regular potato. However, I highly recommend their zucchini fries over them all. Sticks of fresh zucchini battered and deep fried. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, given a full coating of tzatziki for some zip. I appreciated the fact that their tzatziki had bits of cucumber embedded in the cream to stumble on.

And it doesn’t end there, step number 5 has you picking 4 toppings out of the possible 9 with 2 possible add-ons. Your selection includes a Cucumber Tomato Salad, Lentil Salad, Cabbage Salad, Kalamata Olives, Seasoned Chickpea, Onions, Pita Crisps, Feta Crumble, and Shredded Romaine. With Avocado and Seasoned Egg add on at cost.

I personally am not a fan of heavy lentils or leafy greens so went for the Greek salad, a combination of the cucumber and tomato salad topped with olives, onions, and feta. But highly recommend the pita crisps as a nice crunchy element that gives everything a more interesting mouthfeel chew.

And last but not least your bowl is completed with 1 or 2 sauces, and the ability to add another for $1 more, like with everything else. And like the dips each was complimentary to the next, so the decision is just what you like. There is a Greek Vinaigrette that would go great on the greens and it is vegan. Other plant-based options include their Spicy Skhug, which is a mix of herbs and aromatic spices, the Tahini Dressing which is flavoured with sesame seeds, and the Hot Harissa made from chilli peppers for a more fiery flavour. For a more creamy add-on look to either the bold Garlic Mayo or the freshness of cucumber and dill. I would keep to what I know and opt for the latter most, as someone who is a fan of the tang of sour cream and its silken texture. And finish it off with the Greek Vinaigrette to really hot how the Mediterranean feel, although you haven’t had Mediterranean cuisine like this before and need to try them for yourself.

However, if all the steps above seem too daunting, and you are like me, often get overwhelmed by too many choices, stick to one of their signatures, to take the decision process out of the equation. Each option features one of their available proteins, dressed up the way they intended.

The monthly feature is the Lemon-Herb Chicken with Grilled Chicken, Amazing Feta, Tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta crumble, Kalamata olives, shredded romaine, pita crisps, garlic dressing, and tahini dressing.

I recommend the Amazing Pork Gyro in a wrap with grilled pork gyro, tzatziki, hummus, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta crumble, Kalamata olives, shredded romaine, pita crisp, garlic dressing, and Greek Vinaigrette. Very messy as the wrap was so thick that it couldn’t even roll shut. The pita dough soaked up all the extra juices and offered a gummy chew not available with rice. I was gobbsmacked by the amount of food here, the size of my forearm.

Each tasted exactly as their ingredients listed, jammed packed with flavour from the collection that goes into filling this bowl to brim. Plus the generous amounts of dips and sauces loaded overtop. Nothing was over cooked or dry, even sitting in wait.

Although, if you are looking for something lighter, earlier? They also have a large selection of breakfast items like toast, sandwich croissants, and platters. They also have monster cookies that make a great afternoon snack on the go, flavoured with either matcha or turmeric.

And if you give them a follow on Instagram you earn a free Refresher, which makes a complimentary drink to help cleanse the palate with. Available in strawberry citrus and cucumber mint lime. We went for the iced jasmine tea to help with our digestion.

Hungry Zus is currently open from
9am to 9pm daily, serving downtown’s busy breakfast and lunch time crowd, plus anything who is looking to grab and quick and healthy meal on their commute home. I was sincerely impressed and am happy to recommend them. The best time to get yourself a taste at their grand opening this Thursday February 15th, 2024.

Hungry Zus
433 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1T1
(604) 620-6333

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