THE SAMOSA FAMILY

BY MARIA J. BURGOS

The sun’s not up when Karim Fagir’s alarm goes off. After dressing, he walks to the small house next door. This house is the Fagir family’s kitchen. He opens one of the many fridges and loads boxes containing thousands of samosas onto his truck.

His watch says 6 a.m. when he pulls up to the Boyce Farmer’s Market. After making samosa sauces and putting up the signs outside his food truck, Yummy Samosas is ready.

“10 o’clock is when it gets really busy and it lasts until 1 o’clock when people are coming at last minute for more samosas,” he says.
While Karim sets up the shop at the Boyce Market, his parents are selling samosas at the northside.
“At 2 o’clock I head to the northside market. That is my Saturday,” says Karim.

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Iqbal Fagir has been making samosas for as long as she can remember. In Sudan, her homeland, samosas are like pizzas; they’re everywhere. But it was only six years ago that she had the idea of creating a business out of this common snack that’s always been part of her family’s diet.

In the 1970s, the Patel family were the first to introduce samosas to Fredericton and its southside market. After them, Samosa Delight opened a stand at the market. Selling samosas was challenging at the time.

“People were scared what kind of food it was,” says Iqbal’s husband Mohammed Fagir. But
Frederictonians came to love this ethnic meal.

In 2008 the Patel family decided to retire from business, leaving Samosa Delight as the only seller. This didn’t last long. Iqbal Fagir, who had been working in the Boyce Farmer’s Market making henna tattoos, wanted to do more.

Yummy Samosas became the second samosa business operating in the Boyce Farmer’s Market in November of 2009 and the first one in the northside market in 2013.

fagir
This common pastry snack has become part of the Fagir’s identity and Fredericton’s. Submitted photo.

Iqbal Fagir is always innovating.

“My mom is always making new samosas. We have lamb, chicken, turkey, beef and vegetable. But she added chick pea, lentil, cheese, donair and cheeseburger samosas,” says Karim. “We supply to the Grad House, St. Mary’s, Superstore and some restaurants. We deliver frozen samosas to Moncton as well and sometimes we even send samosas to Newfoundland through UPS.”

When the business started, Iqbal had to work five days a week from dawn until sunset because this company’s samosas are done from scratch. Now, the Fagirs have 15 workers who help produce thousands of samosas per week.

Although 75 per cent of the company’s profit comes from selling at both markets, 25 per cent of the earnings come from families who order samosas during the week, explains Mohammed. “We even make samosas for weddings!”

Every year the goal of the Fagir family is to produce and sell more samosas and buy more machinery to facilitate the process of cooking them.

From the start, Yummy Samosas has been a family business.

“We are all emotionally attached to this business. If I stopped selling samosas, I’d feel empty. It’s a part of us,” said Karim. “We represent an aspect of the city. When people think about Fredericton’s farmer’s market they think of the samosas and of us.”