On Campus

University of British Columbia - The Delly

This cheap and cheerful deli serves the culinary equivalent of the United Nations


With a university population as diverse as UBC’s, it’s probably difficult to run a cafeteria that caters to the tastes of every student. The Delly, a family-owned business that has been in the school’s student union building for 35 years, has decided to solve that problem by serving the culinary equivalent of the United Nations.

We started with the Thai chicken lemongrass soup, which had a surprising amount of heat, amazing flavour and, perhaps most importantly, was less than $3. This was followed by a selection of baked snacks, including a good but unremarkable chicken samosa, a cheap and delicious beef jerk patty and a huge vegetarian roti that was on the dry side but was a steal for under $4.

The halal lamb curry, which owner Nizar Rajan says he introduced in order to cater to the university’s Muslim population, had big chunks of fragrant, spicy meat and was served on fluffy white rice for under $7. For a dollar more, the butter chicken didn’t live up to expectations. Both a freshly made gyro with homemade tzatziki and a hearty chicken salad sandwich on pumpernickel bread were a great deal at under $5.

The Delly’s secret weapon must be its small bustling army of sandwich-preparing women.

Dessert was surprisingly delectable. We chose a triple-berry crumble square made with fresh fruit (including some juicy rhubarb) and crunchy topping along with a rich chocolate lava cake filled with melt-in-the-mouth bittersweet chocolate. Both could be confidently served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at a fancy restaurant, and at the stunningly cheap price of $1.67, I’m already thinking of going back for a few more.


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