“Best” Sans Rival (Filipino Dessert) in Metro Vancouver

Secret Home Operation: “Surrey’s Secret Sans Rival Guy”
Cuisine: Desserts/Filipino/Bakery
Last visited: June 4, 2012
Location: Surrey, BC (Surrey)
Address: Delivery only
Bus: n/a
Price range: $30 half order for 12 ppl, $50 full order for 24 ppl

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Home made Sans Rival
  • Specializes in one dessert: Sans Rival
  • Home business
  • Good for parties
  • Delivery only
  • Shipping arrangements possible
  • Cash only
  • E-mail to order: miles.sansrival@yahoo.ca
  • Call to order: 604-318-4569

**Recommendations: Sans Rival

Follow Me Foodie to “Surrey’s Secret Sans Rival Guy”

It was another one of those secret places like Baba’s Perogies. All these tiny home operations that you can only discover through word of mouth. You have to be in “the know” to know about them. It’s totally not an exclusive “hipster” thing either! These places want to be known and these home cooks and bakers just want to share their food and passion.

It all started at Indulge N’ Dance, a dessert party I attended a few months ago. I was talking with one of the featured home bakers who happened to be Filipino and we started gushing about Filipino desserts. I visited the Philippines a few years ago and realized that bake shops and bakeries were a huge part of their food culture. Filipinos know how to bake, just like they know how to sing and dance… stereotyping? Yes I am, but it comes from some “truth”.

Anyway I started talking about Sans Rival and how I enjoyed them and then she started talking about some “Sans Rival Guy” in Surrey. She said it’s where the Filipino community orders their Sans Rival from and that he was the guy who makes it the best. She said you had to call this guy to place an order and that it was a home business operation. She had my full attention and I was determined to find “Surrey’s Secret Sans Rival Guy”. Being Filipino and a baker herself, with family that can also bake, I trusted her recommendation. Apparently the cake has passed all the standards of her family and the Filipino community.

I ended up tweeting about the Sans Rival that night and then one of my Twitter “followers” tweeted back saying his dad made the best Sans Rival. Long story short he ended up e-mailing me and offering me a Sans Rival to try. He told me a bit about his dad’s passion which turned into a business and I couldn’t help but to ask if his dad was from Surrey. It turns out that he was and he was the Sans Rival guy from Surrey! Well what do you know?! Small world! You have no idea how excited I was and I think my reply back had a million exclamation points.

Since I have only tried maybe three Sans Rivals in my life, I was not about to call myself any sort of “expert”. All I know was that I liked the ones I tried, but in terms of what makes a Sans Rival “the best”, I was not in the position to answer. Therefore I called in a “Filipino dessert emergency” and had my two Filipino friends (@gourmeted @wisemonkeysblog) who love to cook and bake guide me with this sampling. You don’t have to be Filipino to know a Filipino dessert, but these two know their Sans Rival well.

If anything is going to be claimed “the best” I want  an “expert opinion” from people and palates who I trust. They have likely tried hundreds and were born and raised with this dessert. They also know the history about it and more or less know how to make it. I know. You’re thinking I’m such a food nerd right? How do I make a 5 minute “mmm so good” cake session turn into a half hour discussion about meringue and stylistic approaches to Sans Rival? Leave it to me, I can do it!

Personally “the best” is always so argumentative and I’m not a fan of using the term unless I’ve tried every single one, but this is now my benchmark for Sans Rival until I come across something better. More importantly, is if it passed the standards of 8 annoying food nerds, 2 of which were considered “experienced Sans Rival” tasters with aunts, uncles, moms and grandmas who can make killer ones. And I’m pleased to say it sure did! The night ended with a big thumbs up and a “soooo are you going to share the contact for “Surrey’s Secret Sans Rival Guy”?” And my answer was… I sure am!

To order: E-mail Miles Millena miles.sansrival@yahoo.ca or contact him on his cell 604-318-4569.

On the table:

This was the message on the cake box.

The box was airy light (like frisbee weight) and I was told a half order would feed 12 people. When I opened the box it looked like it would feed 9, but I was reminded by my friends that it was a rich dessert… story of my life. Bring. It. On.

**Sans Rival or Sansrival – 5/6 (Excellent)

  • $30 half order for 12 ppl, $50 full order for 24-30 ppl
  • On the scale of desserts, there are other desserts I enjoy more, but as a Sans Rival it doesn’t get much more perfect than this, hence 5/6.
  • A Sans Rival is a traditional Filipino dessert or cake made with layers of French buttercream and cashew meringue.
  • It actually takes a lot of skill to master the dessert, so it’s not like baking chocolate chip cookies.
  • The top is traditionally covered with cashews and peanuts (cheaper brands use peanuts), and the modern gourmet versions might use pistachios and Macadamian nuts.
  • For an easy comparison, the Sans Rival is almost like a Mille-feuille, Napoleon or Diplomat Cake except there is no puff pastry or sponge cake layers and it’s more about the butter cream.
  • It has French origins, but instead of those flaky sheets of pastry those brown layers are cashew meringue, which is basically dacquoise (a cake made with almond and hazelnut meringue).
  • This one was topped with toasted cashews and although I wouldn’t have minded even more with cashews crusted along the edges and on top, this was still good.

  • Apparently many places use stale nuts, but these were fresh cashews and the layers were even.
  • It’s an airy light and almost dry cake that cuts and bites with a nice crisp, but not hard crunch.
  • It’s not that sweet, but very buttery without being greasy.
  • The dark brown meringue layers are powdery crisp and nutty and if they were thinner it would also be chewier (from quicker absorption of moisture), but this is a stylistic thing. Thinner layers require a bit more technique of course.
  • It does get chewier the longer it sits and especially the next few days though.
  • The most important part is the butter cream and he used good butter and it didn’t leave a greasy or oily after taste or mouthfeel.
  • The butter cream was whipped properly and when it comes down to room temperature it gets really creamy and soft and blends in with the meringue layers nicely.
  • This was just the right amount of each layer for me and I liked the ratio.
  • Again if you want it chewier, which is delicious, you can let the cake sit out for longer or eat it over the next few days.
  • The dessert is very light and a small piece feels like eating nothing in terms of volume, but it’s the richness of the ingredients and butter that catch up with you quickly.
  • If you’re a Sansrival fan, I highly recommend trying this one and if you’ve never tried one, let this be your first introduction!


  • Stacey says:

    As ALWAYS your photos are a treat for the eyes. Such great work!

  • Crispy Lechon says:

    Lucky guy. He’s gonna be inundated with orders now. LOL. A couple of places that also make good sans rival are Kumare and of course Goldilocks. I really need to try the Surrey guy’s version to see if it will be better than them.

  • fmed says:

    Crispy – it is better than them. Definitely better than Goldilocks who has a habit of using rancid nuts.

  • Crispy Lechon says:

    Thanks fmed for your feedback. Now I really want to order it. Wonder if he will deliver to Richmond.

  • Nicole Dafoe says:

    I agree!!!!! Looks great!! I am looking for a recipe lol!!! =)

  • Dilara says:

    Oooh thanks for sharing Mijune! I’m gonna order some and try it with hubby and his family 😉

  • mimihui says:

    *Sans Rival or Sansrival – 5/6 (Excellent)…I tried it was very nice for tea time or after dinner…

  • Benny Caballes says:

    My wife and I are from Brisbane, Australia. We visited a close friend in Everett, WA last April and Miles brought this beautiful sans rival for our friend. He also brought one for our high school get together in Seattle. Truly, this is the best sans rival we have ever tasted in our whole lives. Unforgettable taste! Unfortunately, he cannot have it delivered to Australia.

  • Linda says:

    mm definitely reminds me of a napoleon for sure! so what was the outcome.. did it feed 9 or 12? lol

  • Mijune says:

    @linda – for big eaters it would feed 9, but for most it would feed 12 because it’s so rich. I always like to feed guests more than enough and have leftovers, so I’d say 9 LOL. Personally I wouldn’t want to get sick of it so I wouldn’t over do it, but it keeps well and tastes even better over the next couple days.

  • vycthorvyn canlas says:

    It’s been awhile when I was in San Matias DP Canlas Street Pampanga last 2006. The other reason I visit the Philippines because of our food (there is nothing like Home). Now I found you on computer—do you still speak Capampangan? Buricong mag-order malati pang order at saca magcano nung email mo canaco keni Dearborn,Michigan? I want to order your $30 sansrival—burico macunat ali malutong and how much to order litchon (minimum order first), then if I like em I will order a larger amount for parties. Dacal Salamat Po— Sincerely your’s, Vycthorvynz

  • penpen08 says:

    first of I will admit I am bias. I’m not sure of this “mysterious” Surrey guy, but we also live in Surrey and I think our sansrival is better than BEST! (this calls for a taste off lol) my brother – in-law has made a different variety of flavors since. I know traditionally it only comes in butter and cashew, but we are the new era of foodies so we have to break away from that and be creative with our palette. if I could post pictures in here I would, but unfortunately you guys will just have to find out 🙂 –

  • Mijune says:

    @penpen08 – how can I try it?

  • Miles Millena says:

    Thank you so much for all the generous words you’ve written about my sans rival. It was my son who got me into this by twitting you. I am very delighted and flattered that you actually enjoyed the cake. Let me assure you and your followers that every sans rival I make is the same as the one you tried. No more, no less. I have tried to, and still do, make some minor tweaks if I think it will lead to a better product but so far I have no reason to make any changes.
    Your review did bring in inquiries from North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona, Edmonton, Ottawa, LA, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Washington, New Jersey and more. But I can’t quit my day job yet! For now, it’s just something I love to do and the reward is more from making people happy ! I apologize for the late reply and I thank you once again.

  • Kounver A says:


    Miles brought us a sample of this cake at VCC and it was amazing. If you can, it is a must to try this.

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