It’s October 1st, y’all. And as we head into fall, we’re on the hunt for some hearty comfort food. Raj Kapuri Paan & Snacks is an East African mom & pop in Old East York that serves the traditional eats of Tanzania. Full of Indian influence, this place has been around since the ’70s. The dining room seats are full with a line-up out the door each time we’ve visited. So glad we found this place. It’s quickly become one of our new locals.
This is our first introduction to the eponymous Paan, and we obviously have a lot to learn. A betel leaf envelopes areca nut, lime paste and mukhwas. I’m told it’s chewed for its simulating effects as well as to freshen breath after a meal. Numerous folks intimated that my gut will thank me later.
And while the Paan didn’t photograph particularly well, their snacks sure did. Kivutio is Swahili for appetizers. And these guys know what they’re doing in that department. Samosas are totally stuffed to the brim. Be sure to lather them in tamarind sauce. The show-stopper on the entire menu has to be the kebabs. Ground beef is well-seasoned with a mélange of East-African spices and then gets deep fried for an extremely crunchy exterior. Great textures here. Served with a spicy coconut chutney, do not sleep on these Amazeballs!
There are a number of BBQ dishes available. I am told they make the best donair in the city. This piques our curiosity and is on our radar for the next visit. We have come for Mishkaki, though, which sees marinated chicken or beef cubes grilled over charcoal for an outstanding flavour. Served with naan and salad, these wrap-up beautifully into a hand-helds.
The menu is also adorned with a variety of curries and stews. Kuku Paka is a popular dish from costal Tanzania. Kuku means chicken in Swahili and Paka means to spread. The chicken gets BBQ’d before being added to a stew of coconut cream and black pepper.
Mogo is the starch component in all of their stews & curries to thicken things up and add a bit of chew.
Speaking of curries, we absolutely love their pigeon pea iteration. It’s got a nuclear heat to it and plays well on #meatlessmonday. Their curry lamb is also not to be missed. We’re a sucker for this dish and will order it wherever, whenever. Raj Kapuri’s version is gamey, spicy, oily, delicious!
Thanks, Ibrahim , for your warm East-African hospitality and delicious eats. Your wife is one outstanding cook! See you again soon.