Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Are The Chances?

In a previous post I had mentioned a Ugandan restauranteur, whose name was Sammish, who had correctly identified my Vancouver accent. This story gets stranger.

Last night I went to Sammish's Restauant, the Tuehende Safari House, for dinner and had the best meal I have had in Uganda. Afterwards we met and had a drink with Sammish's business partner, Wade. The two had been childhood friends here in Uganda and had left when Amin had kicked all the South Asians out. The Tuehende is actually located in a building that they lived in as kids.

Wade called Sammish 'Sammy', and made a reference to how famous his restauants were in YVR. My brain clicked and suddenly it dawned on me, Sammish was Sammi Lalji, legendary Vancouver restauranteur and the former proprieter of both Star Anise and Sammi's. I had always patronized both, and they served incredibly delicious and nuanced food. Star Anise in particular was one of the restaurants back in the 90's, along with Vij's and Tojo's, that pioneered the Vancouver 'west coast+asian' cuisine style and established it as a world class restaurant town. Sammi was a Vancouver celebrity, he even had his own cooking show.

Sammi is now in Kampala, and he and Wade are about to open another restaurant in June, something more fine dining, like Star Anise. It's not as if I need an excuse to return to Kampala, but if I did that would suffice.



  1. When I heard this story I really thought "Ofcourse...this would happen to Adam".I wish Star Anise was still around...though Vij's is quite spectacular...ahum...

  2. It's a small world after all... Never yet been to Vij's, although we went to star anise when I turned, what, 18? But I wasn't blown away. Take a few food pictures, eh bro? I would like to see what people eat on a day to day basis.

  3. I agree with Jer, Adam - food pics please?

  4. Oh my, the world is round and things do go full circle, don't they?
    Ismaili food culture returns to Uganda.

    Perhaps Jeremiah, Sheo, You and I can enjoy an African/Indian inspired meal and related slide show together one day after your return!

    Jer, you will have to drive over to get your Delica rack anyhow, right!? ;)