Welcome to the beginning of my Sunday Pranzo Series, pretty much like “foodie fridays” but published on Sundays. Sunday Pranzo is where I’ll be showing you some great hidden or popular restaurants, food trucks, and talented culinary ambitions from all over the world. Pranzo is an Italian word for a family gathering surrounding a meal, usually on Sunday, wether it be for lunch or dinner. It is a time to reconnect as a family and community over delicious food. I thought this word was particularly fitting because in the two and a half years I have been blogging I have gathered a community, an online family of sorts, with whom I share my culinary travels. I encourage you to share with me in the comments below to create an online Sunday Pranzo.
Our first stop is Vancouver where Vij’s Restaurant has catapulted its way to one of Vancouver’s best restaurants which opened its doors in 1994 with Vikram Vij and his wife Meeru Dhalwala. Their aim was to create an Indian restaurant that didn’t serve the expected. The menu is a journey across India of sorts which means they focus on flavours and spices from the Punjab to Gujurat regions while using locally sourced ingredients from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
Ten years after Vij’s opened and its popularity boomed they then ventured to open Rangoli located next door to Vij’s which is a more casual style of food which you would find on the dinner table of an Indian family, while Vij’s is more similar to Indian food cooked for occasions and events with VIP treatment without the VIP price. Not that I know by experience I have yet to dine at either Vij’s or Rangoli, nor have I traveled to India But before I lose you…I have eaten at Vij’s Railway Express! A playful food truck emitting aromas of curry and lamb located at 1075 West Georgia just down from the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
You’ll recognize this train themed truck from blocks away either due to its blues and yellows or the long lineup of business elites, hipsters and tourists alike. This food truck is only a year old but, like Vij’s and Rangoli, it has boomed in popularity in such a short while and was featured on an episode of Eat Street.
We took the episode’s advice and ordered the lamb kebab and the chickpea salad but each week Vij’s Express provides features to a different regions of India. The kebab was one of my favourites and I have never tasted such playful yet prominent flavours in my life with the mixture of sweet, spicy and savoury from the perfectly done juicy lamb. Be sure to give it a try but you are warned the spices aren’t for the meek looking for the mild. No water is served at this food truck so you’ll have to be adventurous and order the blueberry lassi or an iced chai for example which is served in a bag with a straw.
What’s your Sunday Pranzo dish of choice? Do you have a favourite Indian dish?