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Business notes: Thai restaurant Sap Siam Bistro opens soon in Duncan

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community
Vilavan and David Richardson are the owners of Sap Siam Bistro, a new Thai restaurant that is opening next week on Station Street in Duncan. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

A new Thai restaurant, called Sap Siam Bistro, is opening next week on Station Street in Duncan.

The restaurant is owned by Vilavan and David Richardson and is located at the site where Sai’s Spice Cafe, another popular Thai restaurant, was located before its owner retired and shut the business down.

Vilavan is the cook at Sap Siam Bistro, and brings with her many years of cooking experience from classes she took all over her native Thailand to learn about the many regional specialties in the Asian country.

David said he intends to take on the role of the “official food taster” at the restaurant.

The couple said this is their first official foray into the restaurant business.

“We had moved here several years ago from Vancouver and originally settled in Lake Cowichan, but when we decided we wanted to open a restaurant so Vilavan could share her unique Thai cooking with the community, we wanted to move to Duncan where there’s a bigger volume of people,” David said.

“We knew the owner of Sai’s Spice Cafe for a long time and when she said she wanted to retire, we jumped at the chance to open our own Thai restaurant in the same location. Sai’s Spice Cafe had a very faithful clientele that we’re looking to keep happy, as well as a lot of new customers.”

Sap Siam Bistro is tentatively scheduled to open on May 17.


The Cowichan Valley Craft Crawl is back again this year on May 14.

There are 87 vendors registered for the fifth annual craft crawl this year who will be spread out from Mill Bay to Chemainus from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Spokeswoman Tara Howard said the vendors will include, artists, potters, metal and wood workers, bakers. craftspeople, knitters and much more.

She said the craft crawl really took off in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, as a way to help out the local arts and crafts vendors as other craft fairs and vendor shows stopped running.

It provided a way for people to get out of the house in a safe manner while still respecting government guidelines and keeping communities safe.

“We were super busy last year and there was a steady stream of people visiting the vendors all day,” Howard said.

“The craft crawl has become very popular and we hope to keep it going. It helps local vendors and there’s a need for it.”

For maps or for more information, check out


Great Greens Farm Market is having its annual Spring Fling this Saturday, May 14, from noon to 4 p.m.

Join the fun for a taste fair, kids activities and a barbecue with all proceeds going to a local charity.

The Cowichan Bee Society will also be on hand to educate and inform, plus lots more.


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is encouraging its members to attend a Mix & Mingle on May 18 at Cowichan Cycles as the business showcases its new venture, Wheelbase Café, which is an exciting new community space for the cyclists of Cowichan.

This event is free for chamber members and their guests, although there will be a charge for food and refreshments.

People interested in attending the event, which will be held at 5 p.m. at 2692 James St., can register by emailing


In other chamber news, you can refer a colleague to its “Grow With the Chamber this Spring” campaign and receive a $25 gift card to a Cowichan food or beverage venue.

Many businesses are still getting back on their feet after adapting their operations for the past couple years and the Grow With Us campaign will help.

Each business or organization that signs up for a new membership between March 15 and May 31 will receive a $25 gift certificate to a Cowichan food and beverage member (purchased by the chamber).

Existing chamber members will receive a $25 food and beverage gift certificate if a referral leads to a new member sign-up.


The Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre has a fun summer position open for those who qualify to work under the Canada Summer Jobs Grant.

If you know someone between 15 and 30 years old, with excellent customer service and a strong knowledge of the region, the CRVC wants to hear from you.

For more details or to submit a resume, contact


Cowichan wineries are inviting people to this year’s Wine Tasting Tour, to be held June 1-30.

Eight local wineries are serving up tastings of award-winning wines and new releases.

Enjoy both the winemakers’ hospitality and a set-guided tour of the world class terroir called Cowichan.

“June is the season of promise, where blooms give way to tiny berries and leafy vines stretch to the warming sun,” the wineries’ website said.

“Soak up the hospitality of our wineries, sip award-winning wines, and meet the winemakers just as special as the wine they produce.”

Tickets are $40 each and available at

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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