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The Flavorful Journey: Exploring Surrey, BC's Spice Trail Through its Vibrant Restaurants


Spice trail
Surrey, British Columbia Canada

Welcome to Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver and a city known for its dynamic culinary scene and diverse tastes. Embark on a flavorful journey as we explore Surrey's Spice Trail, taking you through the best of its eclectic and mouthwatering restaurants.


Surrey's culinary landscape is a melting pot of cultures, reflecting the diversity of its residents. From the aromatic spices of India to the rich flavors of Southeast Asia, each restaurant along the Spice Trail offers a unique taste experience that will tantalize your taste buds with the flavors of South Asia.


Embarking on the Spice Trail in Surrey, BC is like stepping into a tapestry of flavors, aromas, and cultural experiences. As a self-proclaimed foodie and culinary adventurer, I was thrilled to explore this gastronomic journey that celebrates the diverse and rich culinary heritage found within Surrey. As part of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association's annual Conference, I had the opportunity to visit this diverse city on a press trip. Join me as I take you through some of the standout restaurants on this enticing trail!



History and Cultural Significance of Spices in Surrey, BC

Surrey Spice Trail, Canada
The Spices of India Found in Surrey, British Columbia

Surrey, BC, has a rich history of spice trading dating back centuries when traders from different parts of the world brought their exotic spices to the region. These spices not only added flavor to the local cuisine but also played a significant role in the cultural exchange that shaped Surrey's culinary identity.


The cultural significance of spices in Surrey is evident in the way they are integrated into traditional dishes and celebrations. For example, during festivals and gatherings, spices are used to create special dishes that bring people together and symbolize unity and prosperity. The use of spices has become a way for Surrey residents to connect with their heritage and share their unique flavors with the world.



Popular Spices Used in Surrey's Cuisine

Spice Trail Canada
Traditional Spice Market

Surrey's cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors from various cultures, with each dish carefully crafted using a blend of popular spices that define its distinct taste profile. Some of the most commonly used spices in Surrey's cuisine include cumin, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and chili powder. You can find authentic versions of these spices in the Asian Markets throughout Surrey.


These spices not only add depth and complexity to dishes but also offer numerous health benefits, thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you're savoring a spicy curry or a fragrant rice dish, the use of these spices creates a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving for more.



Exploring the South Asian Restaurants in Surrey that Showcase the Spice Trail

spice trail, Canada
Ordering Pani Puri at Apna Chaat Express in Surrey, British Columbia

As you traverse Surrey's Spice Trail, you'll encounter a myriad of restaurants that celebrate the city's diverse culinary heritage. Surrey's food scene is a testament to the creativity and passion of its chefs, who skillfully blend traditional recipes with innovative techniques to create memorable dining experiences. Whether you're seeking a casual meal or a fine dining experience, Surrey's restaurants have something for everyone, promising a gastronomic journey that will delight your senses. Here are the restaurants that graciously opened their doors to us.


A Warm Welcome at Ranunak Indian Cuisine



As soon as I walked in, the vibrant, inviting atmosphere immediately put me in a great mood. The smells of savory spices and tantalizing curries fill the air, making my mouth water in anticipation. The decor is colorful and eye-catching, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of India. The staff was friendly and attentive, ensuring that our dining experience was top notch. And the food? Oh, the food is simply divine. We indulged Amritsari Kulcha, a flatbread stuffed with potatoes, onions, cauliflower, paneer (Indian cheese ) and spices. It is often served for breakfast, accompanied by Chole Masala (chickpeas in a tangy gravy and spices). Every bite was a delight for the taste buds Raunak Indian Cuisine is truly a gem in Surrey for delicious and authentic Indian cuisine. For more information visit their website at https://ranunak.ca/.



Soulful Flavors at Kerala Kitchen


We am greeted by the welcoming aroma of exotic spices and decor that transported me to the lush landscape of Kerala, India, as we entered Kerala Kitchen. Named after the owners hometown, the menu is a treasure trove of culinary delights. We feasted the Fish Pollichathu in Banana Leaf, Dosa, and Beef Ularthiyathu. The Fish Pollichathu arrived beautifully presented in a fragrant banana leaf, with tender fish marinated in a delectable blend of spices and herbs. The Dosa is a crispy, savory crepe filled with a flavorful potato masala, perfect for dipping in coconut chutney and sambar. The Beef Ularthiyathu, a spicy and succulent dish, is a definite must-try for those who enjoy bold flavors. Every bite was a taste sensation that leaves me craving more. Kerala Kitchen definitely impressed with its authentic and delicious South Indian cuisine. For more information visit their website at https://keralakitchen.ca/



Exotic Tastes at Kathmandu Bar & Grill


Stepping into Katmandu Bar & Grill in Surrey, BC, feels like embarking on a flavorful adventure to the heart of Nepal. The aroma of their famous Momos captivated my senses. These delightful Nepali dumplings, perfectly steamed and bursting with spiced meat or veggie fillings, are little pockets of joy. Equally impressive are the Jhol Momos, served in a rich, tangy broth that adds an extra layer of warmth and comfort to the dish. And then there's the Nepali Chow Mein, a tantalizing stir-fry of noodles, colorful vegetables, and tender meat, seasoned with a complex blend of herbs and spices that dance on your palate. The friendly atmosphere and authentic cuisine truly make Katmandu Bar & Grill a must try in Surrey! For more information visit their website at https://kathmandugrill.ca/



A Stroll around the North Surry Public Art Walk

We took a break from eating and embarked on the North Surrey Public Art Walk. It was like stepping into a lively tapestry that beautifully weaves together stories from around the world. The outdoor installations greeted me with a burst of color and creativity, murals reflecting multiculturalism, and striking sculptures that celebrated diverse traditions and philosophies. As I strolled through, I was particularly moved by the art that honored Indigenous peoples, featuring stunning works that showcased their rich heritage and deep connection to the land.


Transitioning to the indoor spaces, I was captivated by an eclectic mix of paintings, digital art, and interactive pieces that further highlighted Surrey's multicultural essence. Each installation, whether indoors or out, seemed to whisper tales of community, resilience, and unity, making this walk not just an artistic adventure but a heartfelt celebration of our shared humanity. The North Surrey Public Art Walk is a testament to the power of art in bridging cultures and honoring the threads that connect us all. For more information visit their website at https://www.surrey.ca/arts-culture/surrey-public-art/public-art-collection/surrey-public-artwalks


An Afternoon Pick Me Up at Chaiiwala


After the Art Walk we stopped in Chaiiwala of London in the Payal Plaza Surrey, BC for a quick pick me up of Chai and sweets. The welcoming atmosphere is perfect for catching up with friends or enjoying some quiet time with a book. It was such a beautiful day, we enjoyed our chai outdoors. I could not resist trying their famous Karak Chai, a rich, aromatic tea that boasts a perfect balance of spices and sweetness. It was absolutely delightful. For something a bit different, their Pink Chai was a colorful and creamy treat, providing a unique twist on traditional chai. As someone who sometimes looks for vegan options, I was thrilled to find that their vegan chai didn’t compromise on flavor at all. It's smooth, indulgent, and just as comforting. This place definitely knows how to make the art of brewing chai a truly special experience! For more information visit their website at https://chaiiwalaoflondon.com/ca



Sugary Treats From Aggarwal Sweets and Shalimaar Paan

spice Trail, Canada, British Columbia
Aggarwal Sweets and Shalimaar Paan, Surrey BC

Aggarwal Sweets and Shalimaar Paan in Surrey, BC, offer a joyful celebration of flavors and sweet traditions. Due to time constraints , we enjoyed symphony of freshly prepared sweets while traveling to our next stop. We tasted the sinfully delicious gulab jamuns and the colorful barfis, greeting my senses with a warm embrace. Each confectionery item tells a story of age old recipes and craftsmanship, perfectly balancing sweetness and richness.


We also tried Shalimaar Paan's extraordinary array of paan, meticulously prepared with a blend of fragrant spices, sweet jams, and betel leaves, creating an explosion of flavors. Whether it's the classic meetha paan tickling my taste buds or discovering new, innovative fillings, the experience was a delightful adventure. For more information visit their websites at https://aggarwalsweets.ca/ and https://shalimaarpaan.ca/.



Bonus Bites at Flavo Grill

Our next stop was very crowded, so our guides quickly pivoted and got our deliciousness to go. While we were waiting for the order to be prepared, we were treated to a culinary explosion of flavor by Flavo Grill. The warm, zesty scents of their authentic Indian street food takes you straight to the bustling lanes of Mumbai. The Golgappas are absolutely to die for! Each piece is a perfect sphere of crunchy joy, filled with tangy tamarind water that sends your taste buds on a zippy adventure.


Now, let's talk about their Pani Puri, simply out of this world! The puris are airy, crisp, and impeccably hollowed to cradle the spicy, herb-infused pani, mingling flawlessly with potatoes and chickpeas for that hit of comfort amidst the spice. And oh, the Chaat! It’s a harmonious medley of textures and flavors, with its cool yogurt drizzles, tamarind chutney zigzags, and a generous sprinkle of chaat masala, each bite leads to an involuntary "mmm." Flavo Grill knows their game, and their game is weaving magic in those delightful, bite-sized treats. For more information visit their website at https://flavogrill.ca/



Delectable Delights at Chacha's Tandoor & Grill

spice trail, Canada
Rumali Roti Prepared by Chachas Tandoor Grill Enjoyed in a Local Park, Surrey, BC

We got our food to go at Chachas Tandoor & Grill in Surrey, BC and headed to one of the verdant local parks to enjoy the sunshine and tasty bites. From the moment our guides opened the containers, the aroma of spices and tandoori cooking enveloped me, promising a feast for the senses. The Chicken Kalami Kebab there is an absolute masterpiece. Picture this, succulent pieces of chicken marinated to perfection in a harmonious blend of spices and yogurt, each bite so tender and juicy that it practically melts on your tongue. Grilled over an open flame, it captures that smoky essence that only a true tandoor can impart.


Paired with the delicacy of their Rumali Roti, it's sheer poetry! The roti is paper-thin, light as air, and it dances on the griddle before it's served to you all warm and soft, ready to mop up the rich, aromatic juices of the kebab. Chachas has mastered the art of these delights, wrapping traditional flavors in a contemporary embrace that's both comforting and exhilarating. For more information visit their website at https://chachas.ca/.



Stand Up Deliciousness at Apana Chaat Express


I had the best experience at Apna Chaat Express in Surrey, BC. It is genuinely a hidden gem when it comes to savoring authentic Indian street food. As soon as I walked in, the energetic atmosphere, the aromas of zesty spices transported me straight to the buzzing streets of Mumbai. The stand out highlight of our time in Surrey for me was their Pani Puri. The stand-up bar is ingeniously designed for the perfect Pani Puri experience, where you can lean in and savor each puri as they're freshly filled with a harmonious blend of tamarind chutney, chickpeas, potato, and that exhilaratingly spicy and tangy pani. It was an absolute flavor bomb, exploding with each crunchy bite.


The best part was watching the skilled chefs prepare each puri with such craftsmanship and serving them with a warm smile truly made the experience feel personal and authentic. I left Apna Chaat Express with my taste buds dancing and a promise to myself to eat Pani Puri at every opportunity I can. For more information visit their website at https://apnachatca/.



Indian Influenced, Global Fusion at Clove, the Art of Fine Dining


Dining at Clove in Surrey, BC, is an experience filled with exotic flavours and a warm, inviting atmosphere that truly embodies the essence of fine dining. The moment we stepped through the door, we were greeted by the welcoming staff who made us feel at home right away. The restaurant exudes a modern charm with hints of traditional elegance, perfect for both date night dining and special occasions.


Their menu is a delightful journey through Indian cuisine, where each dish is carefully crafted to balance spices and textures. One of my favorites was the Duck Rajasthani, which boasts tender duck meat in a rich, spicy gravy that excites the palate. The Murgh Tikki, with its succulent chicken marinated in aromatic spices and grilled to perfection, simply melts in your mouth. For those seeking a refreshing start, the Avocado & Chickpea Chaat combines creamy avocado and tangy chickpeas with a dash of zesty dressing, creating a perfect harmony of flavours.



Adding to the culinary perfection is Clove's exceptional Cocktail Program, which truly elevates the dining experience. Each cocktail is a masterpiece, crafted meticulously to complement the robust and diverse flavors of their dishes. The Afghani Lamb Masala is paired beautifully with a rich, aromatic cocktail that enhances the dish's spices, while the Seafood Moliee, with its delicate mix of seafood in a coconut-infused sauce, pairs wonderfully with a light, refreshing cocktail. The Aam Chicken Kasundi, featuring tender chicken in a mango and mustard sauce, is a delightful treat for the senses.


Finally, for dessert, Surrey's Mess is a must try. This deconstructed dessert is frozen table side with liquid nitrogen and served with layers of fresh berries with cream and meringue, offering a sweet finale to the meal. Each element at Clove, from the exceptional dishes to the innovative cocktails, makes dining here an unforgettable experience.For more information visit their website at https://clovetheartofdining.ca/.



Tips for Exploring Surrey's Spice Trail


As you embark on your culinary journey through Surrey's Spice Trail, consider these tips to make the most of your experience:

  1. Research and Plan: Before setting out, research the restaurants and spice markets you'd like to visit, and create a flexible itinerary to ensure you don't miss any must-try dishes or hidden gems.

  1. Embrace Diversity: Be open to trying new flavors and cuisines from different cultures, as Surrey's Spice Trail offers a melting pot of culinary delights waiting to be discovered.

  1. Engage with Locals: Strike up conversations with restaurant owners, chefs, and spice vendors to learn more about the stories behind the dishes and spices they offer, gaining insights that enhance your dining experience.

  1. Support Sustainability: Choose restaurants and stores that prioritize sustainability and support local producers, contributing to a more ethical and environmentally conscious food scene in Surrey.

  1. Take Notes and Memories: Keep a journal of your favorite dishes, spice blends, and culinary experiences along the Spice Trail, creating lasting memories of your gastronomic adventures in Surrey.


Wrapping Up the Journey

BC, British Columbia. Spice Trail, Canada
Thank you to Our Guides from Discover Surrey

Surrey's Spice Trail is a culinary odyssey that promises a feast for the senses, with its family owned restaurants, diverse flavors, and rich cultural heritage inviting you to embark on a flavorful journey like no other. From the history and cultural significance of spices to the must-try dishes and unique flavors that define Surrey's cuisine, each aspect of the Spice Trail offers a glimpse into the city's culinary soul.


The Spice Trail in Surrey, BC, offers an unforgettable culinary voyage that celebrates a world of flavors. Each restaurant on the trail brings something unique to the table, showcasing distinct culinary traditions through their expertly crafted dishes. From the heartwarming Fish Pollichath in Banana Leaf and Beef Ularthuyathu at Kerala Kitchen to the Duck Rajasthani at Clove - The Art of Fine Dining, this trail is a testament to Surrey's multicultural tapestry.


So, whether you're a local or a visitor, make sure to embark on the Spice Trail. It's more than just a dining experience, it is a cultural exploration that will leave your taste buds tingling and your heart full. Bon appétit!


Detailed posts on day trips from Vancouver and what to eat in Vancouver will be coming out in the next few weeks. For notifications on these posts and access to my dining guides and packing lists sign up for my resource page with the link below.



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