Sunday, March 08, 2009

Punjabi Indian Cuisine

Punjabi Indian Cuisine is an Indian restaurant located downtown. It's located near Shaanxi Nan Lu Station, from there walk a block to Xiangyang Lu, cross the street, turn left, and walk a half block. Punjabi Cuisine is located at 102 Xiangyang Lu, on the third floor. From the outside, the sign is really dirty and old, and in general the place looks like it might be kind of sketchy. The first time I saw it, I was ready to turn back!

On a tangent, I also thought it was funny that there's a clothing store a few doors over called “Ranma 1/2,” a Japanese cartoon I liked in college. There's no connection, except for the name:

Despite the scary sign and having to climb a couple not-impressive flights of stairs, the actual insides of the restaurant are quite nice. Clean, modern, comfortable, and with really corny paintings on the wall:

I've only had the lunch special, on the weekend, there's a meat version and also a vegetarian version that I've never tried. It costs fourty nine kuai, about $7.50, and it comes on a metal tray like an army canteen. Despite the utilitarian metal tray, the foods are colorful and pleasing to the eye. All of the foods are delicious, and reasonably authentic-tasting (I'm no expert, although I've been to India and my sister lived there), and the spices were only turned down somewhat. All in all, I'd call the food very good, but not outstanding. The portions were large, if not huge. It also includes a basket of pretty good naan, which I didn't take a picture of.

There's also an 88 kuai dinner buffet, but unless you haven't eaten in several days, or are visiting by yourself, I doubt it's a good value – most of the dishes cost somewhere around fourty kuai, it's probably a better bet just ordering what you want. The menu is very large, it contains both genuine Indian food, and foreigner Indian foods like Chicken Tikka Masala, and as would be expected there's a North Indian slant to it all. Unfortunately it doesn't offer Indian-Chinese foods like Lollipop Chicken, that would be awesome.

I've been several times, and it's always been a little sparsely populated, and every single other person in the restaurant that wasn't with me was Indian – I found that surprising, anyway. I understand it's more popular for weekend dinners, when there's Indian folk music performed. All in all I wouldn't call this an amazing restaurant, but when I get in the occasional mood for Indian food, this is my favorite place to go.

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