We have known about Don Chepe's for a long time but you know, so many restaurants, so little time. We love family-run restaurants that feature unique cuisines, so we finally found the time. DC serves Latin food specializing in the cuisine of El Salvador. We should have come sooner.
Don Chepe's Latin Food
Located in one of Surrey's unimpressive strip malls on the south side of 104th between Whalley Blvd and 138th, at least parking isn't a problem. We were seated right away on Saturday around noon but the place was soon packed.
We are always fans of house-made tamales and that means different things from the different Latin cuisines. These Tamales de Gallina were full of chicken potatoes and chickpeas. They are made with masa and in this case steamed in banana leaves rather than the corn husks that many of us are familiar with. They were remarkably tender and moist which can be a challenging result (they can turn dry quickly) as anyone who has made tamales would know.
We tried Platanos can Crema y Frijoles which was a a lovely dish. What I thought was sour cream is actually Salvadoran crema, a spoonable tangier form of sour cream. It was delicious as were the refried beans again in a distinctly non-Mexican style. They were rich and tasty and quite silky. The plantains were slightly sweet making it a very rounded group of flavours. Loved it!
We ordered the Majorra Frita, a whole deep-fried tilapia. Personally, I find tilapia to be a bit muddy but this was quite delicious. I watched as my wife joyously reduced this thing to an unrecognizable pile of bones! I did get a taste but I had to be careful for fear of losing a finger!
Their website refers to the "chef/owner/mom" as the 'Queen of the Pupusas" and we did not find that to be an exaggeration! This national dish of El Salvador is more or less a thick tortilla, split and filled with whatever tastes good. We ordered 4 and left it to our server as to which. There was some minced prok, some refried beans, a lot, a lot of cheese!
The results were delicious and the stretchy cheese factor certainly contributed to our contentment! By the way, the slaw which was spiked with oregano was also pretty special as slaws go. You do not want to miss out on this. Needless to say, we ended up taking about half of our meal home (other than the decimated fish) for dinner.
Our server (by lineage, the prince of the pupusas) had some enthusiasm for what they serve and was friendly after what we perceived to be a bit of a warm-up. Not everyone is your perky waitress from the pancake house nor do we expect that. What we do appreciate is someone who has pride in his family and culture.
It is worth your while to find this little hole in the wall and try some pupusas or any of the other tasty sounding items on this menu.
Food 4 1/2 out of 5
Service 4 out of 5
Comfort 4 out of 5
Value 4 1/2 out of 5
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