One of the best things about living in, or visiting, Surrey is the cultural diversity that stretches to each and every corner of the city. February is Black History Month around the world, and we join in celebrating and learning about the achievements, history and legacy of Black people in Canada and right here in Surrey, starting with some of our favourite Black-owned businesses. And we encourage you to participate in some of the learning opportunities happening in the City this month.
109 – 8645 160th Street | Fleetwood
Located in the neighbourhood of Fleetwood, Finest Cup Coffee is quietly taking on the java giants, and according to their customers, they’re winning! Owner Dereje Belachew hails from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, and as such he sees coffee as more than just a drink, it’s an extension of his culture. At Finest Cup you don’t just grab a coffee and run – you sit and enjoy your coffee and the atmosphere. Customers rave about enjoying the perfect pour-over and Dereje’s true dedication to taking the time to share about the different nuances of the coffee and the stories of the people behind the beans.
13593 King George Highway | North Surrey
“Good food, good vibes” should be the official slogan of North Surrey’s Di Reggae Cafe. The reggae plays as chicken is jerked, oxtail is stewed, and Jamaican patties are quickly consumed. Hearty platters of home cooking greet diners in a mock-Jamaica, where everyone is a regular or a regular in the making. Take the oxtail stew: a pile of melt-in-your-mouth stew complete with spinners (hand-spun Jamaican dumplings) hangs with Jamaican rice and peas, fried plantains, slaw, and veggies. Douse it with homemade scotch-bonnet hot sauce and wash it down with a bottle of Tropical Rhythms, then grab a sack of Jamaican patties for the road. No one leaves this cafe hungry–the food goes straight to your soul.
5337 180 Street | Cloverdale
Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in Cloverdale, and marked only by a low key sandwich board, is Tommies Jerk. Find it and you will have hit the flavour jackpot. Every Friday and Saturday from 12 to 8pm, this hidden dining gem serves up Jamaican jerk chicken and beef tacos, Mama’s Rice and Peas, Jerk Chicken Walking Nachos and the most incredible lemonade. Chef Tai (Tobias Brown), the owner, does the grilling and the serving and the selfie-taking and it’s all done with a huge smile and a level of energy that is truly contagious. Great food, great vibes and great people mean that you’ll be back again and again.
10663 King George Boulevard | North Surrey
Owned by husband and wife team, Isaac and Becky, North Surrey’s Taste Of Africa delivers traditional style West African dishes that hit all the right flavour notes every single time! The plantains, which are a must-try, are only an entry point into African cuisine. Honey-jerk chicken blows the minds of those unfamiliar with dishes like jollof rice, and the baked tilapia melts in the mouth. Come back for meat pies, beef stew, and soups, plus an exciting collection of African products and a fridge stocked with cold malt–yum! We guarantee you will leave stuffed, happy and planning your return visit.
10565 King George Highway | North Surrey
The heart of the Caribbean, is now in Surrey! A longstanding family business, Stanley Market, recently rehomed to the bright green and yellow building so familiar to residents of North Surrey. Come in and try some of the delicious Jamaican fare available in the cafeteria-style takeout counter, such as chicken stew, peas and rice, stewed fish, and fresh bakes stuffed with corned beef. Everything is made from scratch in the bakery and kitchen, including the dahl rotis, and guests can walk out with a souvenir of sugarcane, yams, malt, and island sodas. Come back regularly for specials–you never know what’s fresh on the menu!
Special Learning Opportunities:
February 9 | Virtual
In the spirit of Black History Month, Surrey Archives will host guest speaker Yasin Kiraga Misago, President of the African Descent Society of BC. During the free, virtual, one-hour session, he will highlight BC.’s early history of African descent, dating back to 1858. Misago will then bring the conversation local to discuss Surrey’s African diaspora story.
February 22 | Virtual
Join the Museum of Surrey for a talk in honour of Black History Month. Panellists Lindagene Coyle, Carlyle Beach and Mary Wilson will discuss racism as it relates to education, lived experience and reality. Free program in celebration of Black History Month. It will be presented on Microsoft Teams.
February 22 | Surrey City Hall (13450 104 Avenue)
This Black History Month, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, with support from the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership, is launching the first annual Black in BC event to celebrate Black excellence in Surrey and Metro Vancouver. Through inspirational speakers, a panel discussion and musical presentations, this empowering event will celebrate the achievements, cultures and contributions of Black Canadians, recognize and honour Black history in Canada and inspire dialogue and learning. This event is free, but pre-registration is encouraged.