British Columbia·Savouring Surrey

Afghan Kitchen's unique culinary offerings keep business and family together

The Afghan Kitchen in Surrey serves home-cooked Afghan cuisine, adding to the city's rich cultural diversity.

Afghan cuisine cooked by the owner's mother adds to Surrey's cultural diversity

Zohra Sarwari with her sons, Ehsan, left, and Hassib, right, at their restaurant, Afghan Kitchen, in Surrey, B.C. Hassib is co-owner of the restaurant. (Peter Scobie/CBC News)

This story is part of our series, Savouring Surrey, which looks at the history and the future of Surrey through its many restaurants and the people who make up the city's unique food scene.

It's no secret that Surrey is a diverse community.

The city offers a wide variety of cuisine from several cultures; sushi, donairs, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Mexican — the list goes on. Sixteen months ago, a unique business entered the mix: the Afghan Kitchen, a brightly-coloured restaurant in South Surrey.   

The restaurant was a dream project for co-owner Hassib Sarwari. He and his family have introduced Surrey to what he calls "the best food in the world."

Sarwari, his mother and four brothers came to Canada from Afghanistan 13 years ago. 

Opening a restaurant was an opportunity to share the world they left behind.

"I wanted to introduce Afghan cuisine to the community," he said.

The Aushak veggie dumplings, stuffed with leeks and spinach, are one of the most popular dishes on the menu at Afghan Kitchen. (Submitted by Afghan Kitchen)

The menu includes several vegetarian options and some meat-based meals and all share a basic style that is heavy on fresh ingredients and light on spice.

One of the most popular dishes is the Aushak veggie dumplings, stuffed with leeks and spinach and topped with split peas and yogurt. Another highlight is the dessert listed on the menu as Mum's Secret.

"She won't tell us what's in it, but we promise it's good cake," Sarwari said. 

Sarwari is particularly smitten with the food in his restaurant, because it's all cooked by his mother.

He credits his mother's cooking for keeping, not just the restaurant afloat, but also his family.

One of the signature desserts at Afghan Kitchen is a cake called Mum's Secret. (Peter Scobie/CBC News)

"Mom's cooking always kept us together," he said. "She would always amaze us with something new every day. The love, the care, the affection has kept us all very close. My brothers and I see each other pretty much every day."

Though Sarwari's mother has stopped making big meals for her sons, she's now enjoying sharing it with the people of Surrey.


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