Indian cuisine has been my food of choice throughout my travel to Central Asia. The past month had me dining in different Indian restaurants, plus one meal up in the air. It is like a scientific experiment, now that I come to think of it. I ordered the same dishes at different times and places. It is like doing an ultimate taste test. And I feel compelled to announce a winner. 

So I have written previously about New Bombay Cuisine at the Podium. And it just hits the spot everytime. It never fails to satisfy. Throughout this tasting expedition, I pronounce it as a consistent frontrunner. 

At New Bombay, we order the staples. Our Palak Paneer, Dal, a meat dish, saffron rice and plain naan. No matter how many times we browse through the menu, we end up with that killer combo. If this was a chinese restaurant, this was our lauriat. We step out of there with a handsome pat of satisfaction on our tummies. 

Then, we JUST had to try out the Bollywood Queen of Indian cuisines, Kashmir, along Pasay Road in Makati.

Kashmir is the diva of 'em all. Upon entering its doors, it was clear, it is the pioneer of Indian dining here in the Philippines. Its interiors, though old and dated, were very elaborate. 

What impressed me the most was how tender the Chicken Tandoori was. The pieces were plump and juicy. The charred fragrance of the Tandoori endured throughout the meal, my clothes even smelled of it. *Oops, not good news ventilation-wise*

The price of the food was steeper than that of New Bombay. But to me, I felt I also paid for the longevity of this Indian restaurant institution. It has held out in this harsh Makati dining sense all these years. And that's something to be proud about.

In Tajikistan, if I wasn't eating Tajik food, I was in this Indian restaurant 3 out of every 5 times. Delhi Darbar is an international Indian restaurant chain, that finds a branch in Dushanbe. It claims to be an Indian fusion place. It didn't feel like one to me. This vegetable thali felt home to me. I ordered this for lunch and could barely finish half of it. Conveniently, I wrap the rest to go, and voila I have dinner! 

What went with the thali? You guessed right, paneer, dal, naan, and basmati rice :) 

On my way home to Manila, boarding Emirates, I acted on the excellent idea of pre-ordering my inflight meal. On the Emirates website, I had the option of choosing between a standard and special meal. And under the specials, there was a host of alternatives for all kinds of dietary preferences. 

I browsed through my choices, and clicked on "Asian Vegetarian" Meal.

I felt like a genius doing that, since my meal was among the first served in the section. So, that's how you get to eat first, I told myself, with head nodding..

I got this from the special meal bonanza, c/o Emirates..


And yes, it had paneer and dal, and salad on rice... :) 

After several days at home, I was on a no-Indian food diet. Then I suddenly missed it. I passed by Makati, and saw a place called R.I.C.H. I told myself, so that's where it was!

Next day, I was there.

I liked the rich purple seats, the intricate wood carvings on the giant beams. It offered contrast to the high ceilings, silver tables and implements that they used for service. 

This was going to be a good lunch.

I would just feel shortchanged if I didnt order my usual favorites everytime I go for an Indian meal. 

So please don't judge.. just say it with me.. 




Saffron rice. 

So all things considered, and across all the restaurants I tried, I came up with two golden rules.

1. Go to New Bombay. It is at par with its more upscale counterparts for a better price. 

2. Pre-order your meal everytime you fly Emirates Economy. 

Thank you. *Bow*


Royal Indian Curry House
5345 General Luna Street, Poblacion, Makati City


Festejo and Ella,
816 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City


Delhi Darbar
Rudaki 55/1, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

This article originally appears in my personal blog Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown.


Published by Michelle Africa