Story by Rebekah Skochinski, Photo by Adrian Lysenko
Those in attendance at this year’s Folklore Festival will remember the mouth-watering cuisine being served at the Famous Tandoor food booth. But if you missed out, you’re in luck, because the Syed family just opened a location on Algoma that offers takeout as well as ethnic groceries and Halal meat (meat deemed permissible/blessed in Muslim culture).
Every family member is involved in some way, whether it’s graphic design or stuffing samosas, but it is primarily Idris, Mujeeba, and their son Abdullah who are responsible for the day-to-day operations. “Since moving here 10 years ago to further our children’s education, we have been importing the meat and spices that we were used to,” says Idris. “Eventually we began ordering for others and things just grew and grew.” Add in the fact that they had begun catering friends’ weddings and special events, and the progression to a storefront seemed like a natural one. “We feel like our community and friends have known about us, but it was exciting to get such positive feedback from people at Folklore Festival who hadn’t tried our food before,” says Abdullah.
Patrons can expect Pakistani dishes with a south Asian influence such as biryani, kebabs, breads, butter chicken, pakoras, samosas, chicken shashlik, as well as desserts like gulab jamun (cakey doughnut-like balls), and kulfa ice cream. “I love to cook,” says Mujeeba, her eyes brightening when she speaks. “When I hear people say they enjoy my food, that makes me happy.”
She will soon be very happy, because the food is incredible. The meat samosas have a flaky and crispy crust with a well-seasoned filling of minced chicken and lentils, while the veggie samosas’ tender and fragrant potato mixture is wrapped in a thicker pastry flecked with cumin seeds. Their onion pakoras are generously sized and full of flavour and all of these deep-fried delicacies are accompanied with a sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce.
As the sign on the front of Famous Tandoor’s charming brick building reads: taste the tradition. After just one bite you’ll find this is a tradition you’ll want to taste again and again.
Check Famous Tandoor’s Facebook page for details.