Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I is for Indian and other international food

Have you noticed how many of my Portland posts so far have featured food? Yes, we are obsessed with food. Maybe that's why I love it here.

I lived in Japan's (and some say the world's greatest) food city, Osaka. When I returned to Portland in 1989 after traveling in India, I craved curry (and I still do). At the time, Portland had ONE Indian restaurant (Plainfield's Mayur--which closed last year after 35 years), and it was too expensive for my young working person's budget. I went there once for a business dinner, but I thought it was overpriced.

In the 1990s, Swagat finally saved us from our curry longings, and then Indian restaurants started popping up all over town. Now Yelp lists 43 Indian restaurants or food carts in the Portland metropolitan area! We even have Indian food in our mall food courts.

Tandoor's Saffron Indian Kitchen
Tandoor's Saffron Indian Kitchen
We've been to a number of them (India Grill, India House, Bombay Cricket Club, Abhiruchi, as well as Swagat), but usually we get our Indian food from the one near our house: New Delhi. The owner, Jawaid, is Pakistani but his family originally came from Delhi before Partition. Jawaid is warm and friendly, not always the type of greeting you get at an Indian restaurant. (In fact, the owner of Bombay Cricket Club is downright grumpy, especially if you don't have a reservation!) Sadly, the excellent-if-pricey Vindalho in SE Portland closed last year.

Lunch today

My favorite Indian food cart (two are within 1 block of my office) is Tandoor's Saffron Indian Kitchen. In preparation for this post, I decided it was time to try this cart again. Today for lunch I had chicken tikka masala and coconut squash curry--yum! The quantities are not as large as the other Indian food cart, but I prefer the flavors.

I have yet to try Bollywood Theater or some of the other newer Indian places...time to venture out more!

Nong at Nong's Khao Man Gai

And beyond Indian...Portland has a cornucopia of ethnic restaurants beyond the typical French, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Italian, and Japanese (all of which we do very well!). For example:
  • Ethiopian
  • East African
  • Turkish
  • Middle Eastern
  • Vietnamese
  • Korean
  • Lebanese
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Brazilian
  • Argentinian
  • Peruvian
  • Scandinavian
  • Cambodian
  • Cajun/Creole
  • Spanish
  • Venezuelan/Colombian
  • German
  • Irish
  • Scottish
  • Moroccan
  • Indonesian
  • Polish
  • Greek
  • Caribbean
  • Hawaiian
Check out some ethnic food carts I've visited near my office. 

As I mentioned in "F is for forests and foodies," Travel & Leisure Magazine named Portland #6 on its "America's Best Cities for Foodies." Our selection of ethnic food contributes to that ranking. Read Bon Appetit's picks for "Where to Eat and Drink Global in Portland, Oregon."

Read my other A to Z posts here, and stay tuned for tomorrow: Just minutes away!


  1. Stopping by from A-Z and the Unconventional Librarians Alliance. I was shocked when I learned in England that Indian food is the national food. I would have thought fish and chips. I like some of it....but not big on the strong spices of some.

    1. I suppose it depends on who you ask! I'm sure a lot of British people would insist on the fish and chips, but you can get some phenomenal Indian food in Britain!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Nice to have visited your blog on a day that you chose to write about Indian food! I went through some of your other posts as well :) Good luck with the rest of the challenge! Thanks for visiting my blog :)

    1. Yes! Thanks for stopping by, Aarthi!

  3. That Indian food looks so good! Glad I visited from A to Z.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca!

  4. Woww ! Interesting that U wrote about Indian food too :)
    loved ur blog and the theme for A to Z