By Tana Kosiyabong
Last time I wrote about East Indian food was over a year ago when I visited the Taste of Vancouver event. Since then I hadn’t stumbled upon a good material for the second review. This doesn’t mean that Vancouver is in shortage of this exotic cuisine. However, my wallet usually cringes and whines whenever I think of expensive East Indian dishes. To avoid an upset wallet, I try to steer clear from them.
However, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered an East Indian restaurant that got two thumbs up from my frugal wallet. Thanks to the tip from Nancy, my co-worker whose five-dollar-lunch-box pitch was more than enough to convince me to declare a new Cheap Appetite mission.
A couple days later I walked down West Broadway on my way to pick up the take-out lunch box. New India buffet was hidden inside a building on the 800 block. Once I got there, I was a bit confused by its décor. The restaurant somehow looked more like an Irish pub than an exotic Indian eatery. However, since I wasn’t going to dine in, I didn’t care to find out more.
New India buffet boasts 40 varieties of East Indian dishes on their buffet stand. For $12.95 to $16.95 (depending on when you go), you can shove as much food in your mouth as you like.
However, the take-out lunch box deal was why I visited New India. For $5, you get butter chicken on basmati rice, naan, and a veggie side of your choice; Aloo Gobi (spicy cauliflower and potatoes), Channa Masala (chick peas in Punjabi curry sauce), Palak Paneer (spinach puree with cheese), Mutter Paneer (peas and cheese in curry sauce), Daal Makhani (Lentils in curry sauce), or Punjabi Kadhi (Indian yogurt curry).
Since I love spicy food, I chose Aloo Gobi for my lunch box. I also ordered a $1 beef samosa to go with the meal in case the lunch box alone wasn’t enough. Shortly after, the lunch box and samosa were ready. I then walked to a food court nearby and ate my lunch there.
When the box was opened, I was very impressed by the amount of food I got for five dollars. It was plenty enough to fill my empty stomach even without the samosa. I first started the meal with the butter chicken. I could taste tomato paste and a little kick of East Indian spices in the sauce; however the butter flavour was undetectable. The tandoori chicken soaked up the sauce pretty well. The basmati rice was well-cooked. The Aloo Gobi was spicier than the butter chicken. And the contrasting texture of cauliflowers and potatoes make the side dish more enjoyable to eat. The crunchy diced cucumbers and onions not only add a new texture to the meal, but also effectively reduced the heat from the spices. Unfortunately, the naan were slightly damped and chewy due to the steam inside the box.
While I was eating the lunch box, I also broke into the samosas. The crispy, yet greasy crust was loaded with ground beef, onion, peas and aromatic East Indian spices. The sweet and tangy tamarind sauce was a great compliment to the salty samosa. What a lovely flavour combo. It was definitely a dollar well spent.
Once the East Indian meal had all disappeared into my belly, I felt so happy I could have run along the rolling hills singing and dancing Baliwood style. Although I will never be able to justify spending that much money for their buffet, my wallet and I agreed that the take-out lunch box definitely worths five bucks.
New India Buffet $5 Take-out Lunch Box: ©©©©
New India Buffet $1 Samosa: ©©© 3/4
New India Buffet is located at 805 W. Broadway Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.709.8226
Remaining Budget: $107.72
Budget Spent: -$6.00 (not included HST)
Budget Available: $101.72
©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.