Hidden Gems: Black-owned restaurants

African and Caribbean cuisines to try right now

PHOTO: Harambe_Restaurant on Instagram

By: Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer

Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant
2149 Commercial Dr., Vancouver / $8–$30 per plate (small and large portions)

Harambe is a great place to experience Ethiopian culture and food at once. The restaurant has a beautiful, inviting interior with cultural art on display. Once you have some food on your table, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. They have vegetarian, beef, chicken, lamb, and fish options; an advanced selection of tasty experiences to choose from. For appetizers, I recommend miser wot, which is red split lentils cooked with onions, and berbere and harambe organic spices. I find that lamb plates are not common in many cuisines; this would be a great place to try it out. Yebeg wot, which is a lamb stew served with injera (Ethiopian flatbread), comes with three vegetable dishes. This dish is the epitome of Ethiopian cuisine, from the flavour and the plating to the way you eat it. Unlike western cultures, where most foods are eaten with cutlery, Ethiopian food, among other African-originated cuisines, tastes better with your hands. Take out is available.

Di Reggae Cafe 
13593 King George Blvd, Surrey / $13–$22 per plate (small and large portions)

From the outside, this spot might seem like an average restaurant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This place has plenty of top-tier, comforting meals to choose from. You should start with a tummy-filling appetizer, such as their Jamaican patty, which is a savory pastry with three choices: spicy beef, chicken, or veggie. Or you could go for a sweet appetizer, like slices of ripe fried plantain. For their main meals, they have meat, chicken, vegetarian, seafood, and roti options. There’s something for everyone. My personal favorite is the oxtail stew, which is more tender than you could imagine, simmered with potatoes, carrots, and sweet peppers. It’s mildly spicy and served with rice and kidney beans. For their chicken plates, you might want to jump right into the jerk chicken, which is by-far the most satisfactory plate. You’ll definitely want a take-away portion for later.

Kilimanjaro Snack House 
789 Kingsway, Vancouver / snacks $3–$15, meals $15–$27

This restaurant is named after the highest mountain in Africa, which is located in Tanzania. They offer a large variety of snacks that are enjoyed as part of Swahili culture, such as mogo, vegetable pakora, kachori, as well as sweets snacks such as gulab jamun. They also serve meals, including vegetable curry with rice or roti, kheema curry, coconut daal and rice, muthiya, biryani, and mishkaki. One of the best ways to experience this East African cuisine is by bringing friends or ordering takeout with them. With their exciting menu, it would be hard to choose where to start, but with friends, it would be easier to try more dishes by sharing. It’s a great way to  share a memory with your friends, without emptying your pockets.