Foodstuff court for foodies: Assorted cuisine abounds at Victoria Square mall

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In July 2022, dozens of folks crammed the Victoria Sq. Procuring Centre’s food court docket in Regina to honour one girl: Gladys Toebs.

The longtime proprietor of Kraut Haven – a mainstay of the east close mall since it opened in 1983 – was getting pressured to near immediately after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“It was these types of a delight coming here on the Saturday of her last day,” remembers Jordan Myers, Victoria Square’s marketing and advertising co-ordinator. “There wasn’t an vacant seat in the foodstuff court. Men and women were bringing her flowers – longtime consumers. Observing that, it really establishes the local community link that this foods court has with its patrons. You are not just a patron – you’re a friend.”

Toebs handed away the subsequent month, but the group spirit on exhibit at her farewell bash carries on at Victoria Square meals court docket.

A man fills a takeout container with a variety of dishes for a customer at a food court.
All of the eateries in the Victoria Square food stuff court docket are locally-owned. (Dwight Lugay)

The shopping mall is just off the Trans-Canada Highway, in a key commercial hub with residential neighbourhoods and seniors’ homes within walking distance.

What is most placing about this foodstuff courtroom is the diversity of its delicacies: well known Chinese foodstuff cafe, Supreme China Bistro properly-recognized area chain, Trifon’s Pizza Laghos African Kitchenette serving up Nigerian grub and the latest addition, a Vietnamese cafe named Hanoi Kebab. 

All are domestically-owned functions – and as opposed to any other Regina shopping mall meals courtroom, there is not a solitary nationwide chain seller.

A large metal and glass structure forms the entrance of the mall.
Victoria Square Browsing Centre is situated in the east end of Regina. (Dwight Lugay)

“In the glory times of the ’80s, malls were being filled with neon lights and any retail outlet you could think of,” states Myers. “Now in the era of Amazon and Costco strip malls, conventional malls have had to come up with resourceful local community initiatives, like the vaccine labs we observed during COVID.”

He says Victoria Sq. is centered on what they’re contacting “shoppertainment,” with offerings like mini golf, an arcade and a before long-to-be indoor playground. 

“We want to change malls again to the date night time pleasurable they utilized to have – and a excellent food items court contributes to that, also.”

Hanoi Kebab

Hanoi Kebab is 24-yr-outdated Justin Nguyen’s 1st restaurant. He opened it in July 2023. He chose Victoria Square Buying Centre because it’s in a fast paced professional place and he life close by.

A young man prepares rice paper for a wrap in a commercial kitchen.
Justin Nguyen, 24, went to cooking college in Vietnam before moving to Canada and opening Hanoi Kebab. (Dwight Lugay)

“Vietnamese delicacies has numerous dishes, so I want to introduce these dishes to folks all around the entire world, such as in this article in Canada,” claims Nguyen, who hails from Hanoi himself. 

He went to cooking college in Vietnam ahead of transferring to Canada and operating for a year at his uncle’s cafe in Assiniboia, Sask. 

“I actually admire him for the reason that he works genuinely difficult in his enterprise,” Nguyen says.

A takeout container filled with chicken, noodles, veggies and a chopped up spring roll.
The rice vermicelli bowl with barbecue chicken and spring roll is Hanoi Kebab’s most popular dish. (Dwight Lugay)

Now Nguyen is functioning difficult to make Hanoi Kebab a success.  He cooks the pork he serves in his banh mi sandwiches on a rotating kebab grill, practically like Turkish-Vietnamese fusion. 

Laghos African Kitchenette

Initially from the Nigerian state of Ekiti, Adebanke Disu-Adebara moved with her loved ones to Saskatoon in 2011. They relocated to Regina in 2012.

A woman in bright yellow stands behind a food counter, holding a takeout container filled with food open for display.
Adebanke Disu-Adebara moved to Canada from Nigeria 12 several years back. (Dwight Lugay)

Laghos African Kitchenette began as a takeout company dependent in a professional kitchen area on Victoria Avenue. When owner Disu-Adebara was wanting to update, she moved into the Victoria Sq. foodstuff court.  

“I really like this site due to the fact it aids to open up your enterprise to distinct folks,” suggests Disu-Adebara. “Quite a few people occur up and say, ‘I’ve in no way tried out African food stuff.’ It broadened my business enterprise to distinct ethnic backgrounds.”

A takeout container filled with two types of rice, fried plantain, and meat in a deep red sauce.
Regina won’t have lots of spots where by you can uncover African dishes. Laghos African Kitchenette functions Nigerian food items. (Dwight Lugay)

For these familiar with Nigerian swallow, which is a substantial, starchy, dough-like side dish, Disu-Adebara gives pounded yam, garri (designed of dried, grated and fermented cassava) and amala (designed from yam flour). 

Rice is their most preferred facet dish, although, followed by fried plantains. Laghos’s jollof rice is seasoned with tomato paste, sweet pepper, garlic, ginger and onion. 

“It is really sort of a celebration dish,” suggests Disu-Adebara. “My jollof rice is smoky and not spicy.” 

Supreme China Bistro

The cafe business enterprise is in Emily Liang’s blood. She labored at her sister’s China Liang Buffet close by for 5 a long time prior to she bought the family’s Victoria Sq. area. She rebranded it as Supreme China Bistro in 2017.

A woman in a red apron fills a takeout container from behind a food counter.
Emily Liang took above the loved ones company in Victoria Square shopping mall and rebranded it as Supreme China Bistro. (Dwight Lugay)

The Liang spouse and children is from the Guangdong province of China, even though the dishes they serve are not traditionally Cantonese it’s Canadian Chinese foods. Ginger beef, sweet and bitter pork, rooster balls and spring rolls are some of their most popular things.

Sandra Cozma has been taking in at Supreme China Bistro for several years, even however she lives throughout town. 

“It really is remarkable foodstuff, incredible service and a generous quantity, far too,” she says. 

She is aware of she’s not the only a single popping in when they are undertaking errands in the east conclude.

“It truly is by no means not hectic. Often lined up. Won’t subject when we appear,” she says.

A red cardboard box with Chinese characters sits next to containers filled with dishes at a takeout food counter.
With somewhat minimal prices, Supreme China Bistro is regularly lined up all over the day. (Dwight Lugay)

Liang suggests functioning a food stuff court stall is additional manageable than a large buffet restaurant.

And she is thankful to her a lot of typical shoppers, even though she confesses to remembering them more by confront than by identify. 

“I truly like it in this article,” she states of Victoria Square. “I think I’ll continue to be listed here until I retire.”