Note: Since I wrote this post, the prices for Zion’s catering dishes have gone up due to rising cost of meat.
This May long weekend I was planning on checking out Jin Bar or Park by Sidewalk Citizen. However, I stumbled upon Zion Soul Food’s Instagram story showcasing surya beef. L and I are crazy for Zion’s Caribbean and African food, so I placed an order for Saturday. For this post, let’s listen to “Hey Sister, Soul Sister” by Patti Labelle.
I ordered a Beef Surya ($45). The platter generously feeds a party of four. Delivery for my area is $10. Payment is through e-deposit the day of the delivery, via Zionsoulfood@gmail.com.
The platter was heavy, packed with seasoned slices of beef brisket, a mountain of plantain, four pieces of corn on the cob, and four slices of avocado. I could tell by looking at the platter that a lot of care was put into each item. The beef was covered in spices and even the avocado was sprinkled with seasoning.
There was a nice bark on the beef. The best pieces were the ones with the fat still on it. The spices were incredible. L detected some heat though I did not. I found out that the chef makes his own spices from scratch. The beef wasn’t tough or soft – it was tender with a chew to it. foodiegyal7 informed me that in African cuisine, beef is cooked so that it still has some pull to it.
Plantain is my new favourite food. This time around, the texture of the plantain felt firmer, with sweet and savoury notes. I don’t know how the chef prepares plantain to make it taste so good, but I’m guessing the fruit is either pan-fried or deep-fried to give it that caramelized taste.
The corn is deliciously salty and buttery. Each kernel is juicy and sweet. L noticed how well the uncooked vegetables went with the beef and plantain. I agree – the rawness of the red onions, green peppers and avocado was a good complement to the complexity of the spices in the beef.
This is wholesome, comforting food that is cooked for the belly and the soul. I like that there isn’t a reliance on sugar, cream and oil. Part of the fun for L is the newness of the flavours and the excitement of not knowing what you are tasting. Next time we order, we want to try the chicken stew, baked tilapia, and oxtail stew.
This weekend, 4jki also ordered from Zion. She picked the large Chicken Stew ($35) and the large Beef Suya ($45). 4jki was amazed with the flavour profile in the beef suya. She said it was unlike anything she’s ever had, as she couldn’t put her finger on the spices. 4jki’s mother found the spices interesting.
The next time I order, I want to try the chicken stew. 4jki mentioned that the chicken stew doesn’t have the spices you get in the suya, but the chicken is absolutely amazing and saucy. When I asked foodiegyal7 if she tried the chicken stew, she mentioned that African stew isn’t like the creamy type you expect when you hear the word “stew”.
I would order from Zion weekly but I want to write about some of the other restaurants in town. On my to-eat list, Pathway Burgers & Momos (recommended by anjuleem), Park by Sidewalk Citizen (recommended by Bottlenick), Jin Bar (recommended by the King of KFC), Kinjo Westhills (recommended by loaf2go, zoomhahaa, and margaretjulia), and Emerald Garden (new owners, recommended by Fung1ling).