Just an hour’s drive from Vancouver lies one of the region’s most delicious culinary destinations: from wineries and cheese makers, to one of the country’s most exciting Indian restaurants, the area surrounding Langley and Surrey has it all. Celebrity chef and famed restaurateur, Vikram Vij is one of the region’s most ardent fans, “It’s like being in the countryside without having to go far from the city,” he enthuses. “You can rent a car and drive through the mountains and past the ocean, you don’t have to take a plane or a ferry, it’s right here and the best of the best foods come from this area. We’re so lucky to have everything to make a great culinary destination right in our backyard.”
It’s an area that many visitors might miss out on, but Vikram says they’ll be missing a treat if they do– and he has a few recommendations to make:
“South Surrey has a beautiful beach and White Rock has a gorgeous pier and promenade, but what makes it so special is the incredible food and producers. One of my favourites is the Vista D’Oro Farm and Winery, Lee and Patrick own it, and they make a beautiful walnut wine which is a dessert-style, like a fortified port but made with local Fraser Valley walnuts. Their farm is something quite unique, you can spend an afternoon there, sitting in the vineyard and tasting the food they sell there. Lee makes the most amazing jams too– not just ordinary fruit ones hers have spices such as cloves and cinnamon in. So good!
Another of my favourite places is the Wooden Spoon Co. their chef, Brad Green is great and he’s made a lovely space for lunch, brunch and dinner. It’s simple and family-friendly but the food is not what you’d expect from a little place in White Rock. He uses local produce, sustainable seafood and you can get wonderful hand-pressed coffee and organic juices there. I love visiting him for lunch.”
Vij has taken advantage of the region’s bounty with one of his own newest culinary endeavors:
“I have to recommend my own restaurant in South Surrey at Morgan’s Crossing, My Shanti, which takes our guests on a culinary journey of India through my eyes to show the diversity of the cuisine there. It’s very blingy! Bollywood meets my travels with plenty of colour and fun visuals. I get as many ingredients as possible from local farmers: the bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplants; my workforce is all from the local area and they know the cuisine and ingredients well. On sunny days you can chill out on our beautiful patio and enjoy local wines and cocktails made with BC spirits, and, of course, delicious craft beers.
We get as much produce as possible from Hazlemere Organic Farm who were the first organic farm to open in the area, 26 years ago. I first connected with them when I worked at Bishop’s in Vancouver (legendary fine dining restaurant). Naty King gets all the local farmers together who have something delicious to sell and she’ll connect them with the chefs. She’s such a beautiful person and she’s kept the dream alive of this wonderful organic farm that she and her late husband started all those years ago. You can visit the farm and see their work there.”
Here is how you can find Vij’s favorite spots mentioned in the articles above:
Vista D’oro Farms & Winery
346 208 St
Wooden Spoon Co.
15171 Russell Ave
White Rock, BC
My Shanti by Vikram Vij
15869 Croydon Dr
Hazelmere Organic Farm
1859 184 St
2183 W 4th Ave