Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pooja, a Nepalese Restaurant

In the Dongmyo station vicinity there are many middle-eastern-Asian types of restaurants. Coming out exit 8 of Dongmyo station and directly above the exit on the third floor is the Himalayan Restaurant. This is perhaps my favorite of them all; it's cozy, rustic and nostalgic, and has pretty decent seating meaning wood and not plastic, which I hate in ethnic restaurants. Out of all the restaurants in this area, they also have the best palak paneer, my favorite, so course they would be my favorite restaurant! Also out exit 8 and a few minutes walk crossing one road is the Pooja restaurant, which several of my friends and I when to tonight. I understand there is an Everest restaurant out the same exit; I haven't been there yet, and then Naamasa (spelling - oops!) is out another exit and a quick 4 minute walk from the station.
Anyway, one of my friends is engaged to a Nepalese and insisted on trying this restaurant and sampling their interpretation of their ethnic food. She was able to explain why we were served in metal bowls, an act giving great honor to the customers and used only in ceremonies in their country, and she introduced special foods, sometimes giving a little cultural snippet about its origins and variations. And because of her use of some Nepalese and having visited some of the same villages the owners were from, we got special service which included lassis for everyone! Yum!

I ordered polau, a delightful Indian basmati rice, peas, carrots, red pepper and cashew stir-fry, and sampled the less spicy curries brought to the others. The curries we ordered tonight were palak paneer (green - spinach with "cottage cheese-like curds"), paneer butter masala (orange-red - spicy "cottage cheese-like curds" with butter, onions, tomato and red pepper), dal makhani (yellowish-brown - black beans with cream and herbs), and chicken makhani (bright red). Even though a couple of my friends had said 'cut the heat', then seriously wondered if they had been misunderstood and heat had actually been added. In any regard, the food (except for the palak paneer by unanimous vote) was very good! I'm still partial to the Himalayan restaurant but this was definitely a nice treat, especially because of our culture-guide friend who raised awareness of some of the culture mixed in with the food.

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