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Prayag Raj - Excellent Indian Regional Food (Gujarati) in Vancouver

I've been on a Diwali kick for the last couple of days. Yesterday: Saravanaa Bhavan and today: Prayag Raj.

I would like to thank grayelf for supplying the first intel on this place. She reported on the Urban Diner site that a newish Gujarati restaurant just opened in Vancouver at Kingsway and Joyce. This is the only Gujarati restaurant we have in town (...we had one many years ago butit had since closed, grayelf also reported.)

Gujarati food (from Western India) is vegetarian and is typically light (in both body and spiciness), fresh, and slightly sweet. Wikipedia can elaborate on this cuisine better than me : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati...

I tried the Diwali special Gujarati thali and the Bhindi (fried okra). The spicing is subtle and nuanced. The food tasted fresh, light and healthy.

Prayag Raj is an excellent addition to the Vancouver ethnic scene... And definitely an excellent alternative to the predominantly Northern Indian scene in town. I cannot wait to go back.

Happy Diwali.

More pics http://picasaweb.google.com/gustibus....

 
 
 
 
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  1. Thanks for the shoutout, fmed :-). Love the thali dishes (something about tiny round stainless dishes...) and those puri look perfect. I haven't seen ones like that since the first Gujrati place closed. I really miss the Surat Sweet, which was the place on Fraser that moved to Fourth. The gentleman that ran it was also a Jain and was incredibly meticulous about what he served. I still long for their banana curry (yep, regular bananas but curried... and I don't even like bananas). The fact that it was a warm, family-owned resto added to the experience. They actually catered part of my wedding.

    8 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      I remember that place. My wife still talks about Surat Sweet. I had no idea that it was Gujarati.

      1. re: fmed

        Hello, this is Alisha from Prayag Raj, thank you for all of the support, and hope to see you there :).

        -Alisha

        1. re: prayagraj

          Nice to see you here Alisha!

          I was at Prayag Raj for the second time recently (on Diwali - the day after a long night for the them - they had a party till the wee hours, I hear). Some pics of some Gujarati classics served at Prayag Raj including Dhokla, Khandavi, Khamani, etc...

           
           
           
           
          1. re: fmed

            Oh, those little cakes with the black mustard (?) seeds on them are bringing back memories. What are they called again?

            1. re: grayelf

              At Prayag Raj it is called Dhokla (steamed chickpea pancakes)...I Googled some recipes a few days ago and it seems that it can also be called (confusingly) Khaman Dhokla or just Khaman or just Dhokla.

              Maybe Alisha can post a clarification.

              1. re: fmed

                On looks alone they bring back memories of the old Africana on Davie-this was mid to late 70's.

                The place was my first introduction to spicy food of any kind IIRC the patties themselves weren't at all spicy but the dip was.

                I do remember they were made of pulses or beans and have had countless other types but never anything close.

                1. re: fmed

                  Its calld Khaman Dhokla(Dhokra). or just Khaman.....really yummy! haha

            2. re: prayagraj

              Alisha, Excellent tasty food after long. I told many gujarati friends about prayag raj. Very few of them know about that. You should contact gujarati society for publicity. They have e-mail account for all gujarati's in GVA. They can support you to bring good business and support as a gujarati. You can contact sureshbhai for that.

        2. Oohhh, you da man! I noticed this place last week. Sounds like another must-try. I've noticed that that space is a bit like a restaurant black hole. It was previously another East Indian restaurant, and before that I forget what kind of restaurant it was... Hope this one stays a while. Pics look tempting!

          2 Replies
          1. re: flowbee

            oh i hope we're here for long too!! .... :D

            1. re: prayagraj

              I think I remember it was called dokra at Surat Sweet. Anyway it was delicious. I am not often in the neighbourhood so will have to make a special effort to come try Prayag Raj and the dhokla

          2. We had lunch at Prayag Raj today. Was reminiscing about the food at Surat Sweet House on West 4th. We ordered the Dhokla and the Pani Puri for starters and went with the Thali along with the Bhindi for the main event.

            The Dhokla was pretty good but a little dry for my parents taste. The pani puri was spot on, it almost felt as if I was in Mumbai again. The thali was decent enough, though I'm not really a fan of sugar in dahl. The only major disappointment was the Bhindi (okra) it was swimming in oil. The okra had absorbed all the oil like a sponge. It was also lacking salt. I prefer the okra at Saravanaa or most North Indian places. Overall I would give this place a mediocre review and would eat there only if in the area.

             
             
             
             
            2 Replies
            1. re: oiboy

              Great to have another perspective on the place oiboy. I do recall the okra to be oily, but still nicely crunchy and without the gloopyness.

              1. re: fmed

                I can see from your pics that they look a little past their prime (a little limp and dark at the ends, etc). Here are pics of the ones I had the last time I was there...the okra was still bright green and fresh from end to end.

                 
            2. Food is above average but there is definitely shortage of manpower to manage if more than 6-7 guest are there at one time.It tookj us almost 30-45 minutes to get our food.Space is too congested and if you have 2-3 guests with you it will be nearly impossible to sit confortably.I will try other Indian places first or rather cook food at home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: arrow

                Sad to hear they are having problems keeping up. I've only been here for lunch...we are usually the only ones dining there...and the food came freshly made.