An East African Oasis
10923 101 Street NW
As a person who has not yet had the opportunity to try every samosa spot in town, I cannot wholly attest to the truth of Camel Boyz’s claim that their sambusas (yes, that is an alternate spelling) are in fact the best in the city. That being said, having tried the beef, chicken, and vegetarian options, with tuna yet to be discovered, I can tell you that they are altogether gratifying without the need for comparison. My sambusas were a treat both in taste and texture. In the veggie one I counted no less than five different vegetables, not to mention its spices and fresh herbs. A spicy yogurt dip takes them to the next level. I suggest biting a corner and pouring a little inside.
The menu, while limited, offers a variety of savoury dishes and a few sweets. Breakfast, rice bowls, and sandwiches are all offered depending on time of day and availability. In my experience, it is not uncommon to find in a Somali restaurant a few featured meat dishes paired with either well-seasoned rice or pasta as the day’s offerings, so consider inquiring as to what is on when you arrive. If you’re the type who appreciates a recommendation, try the suqaar (sautéed meat).
I have ventured twice thus far to this relatively new location. I’ve heard previous incarnations of Camel Boyz have operated in the area for a decade. However, this location only saw its soft opening a few months ago and it is still undergoing renovation. Having been once before the New Year and again more recently, I have noticed the energy and attention that is going into the space, and anticipate the results of such labour. In the big and bright room with exposed wood beams and an orange and terra cotta colour scheme, I felt great warmth upon entering, even on some of the coldest days this season.
Speaking of warmth, I feel called to mention my host. The owner himself is the son of the man who tended to me on both of my visits. Briefly, I’m a current undergrad, and that first restaurant experience was not only to seek nourishment and material for this article, but as a procrastination tactic during the heyday of exam period.
When I came to the counter to settle up (you can order there too) I was engaged immediately in conversation more friendly than common pleasantries. There, I was also given a gift of wisdom for which I have the deepest gratitude and which will stick with me throughout my studies and perhaps beyond. In essence, a stranger, knowing me only for a brief while, served to me a most fatherly lecture at an extraordinarily appropriate moment in time. On my next visit, he inquired if, over the holiday, I had taken his advice and decided from my responses that I had. Thank you.
Megan lives in McCauley.