Asian cuisine spreading in city

Chinese is everywhere, but Bengaluru is looking beyond Manchurian, and tasting a host of other cuisines from the East

Food served at Burma Burma is influenced by Lankan, Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisines.

The popularity of Asian cuisine in these parts began with Chinese; it was adapted by Indian kitchens and is sometimes called Indian-Chinese.

Bengaluru houses numerous red lantern restaurants and street vendors serving popular Manchurian dishes, spring rolls, and chilli and soy main courses.

In recent years, Asian food has expanded, with the emergence of Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese and other cuisines, creating pan-Asian choices in the city. Asian cuisine continues to grow in Bengaluru with more and more restaurants looking beyond Chinese. Here is a sample of some restaurants serving non-Chinese Asian cuisine.

Woman chef, Thai ingredients

Thai House

Thai food has grown immensely in popularity since its introduction into Bengaluru’s food culture. Sourcing all ingredients from Thailand, Thai House in Indiranagar takes pride in the authenticity of its fare. “I work for a travel agency and bring students from Thailand to India. I don’t want them to miss their food, and also, there is a lot of demand for Thai food in Bangalore,” says owner Santosh Gangadharan.

The chef, Kim is from Thailand. “She knows the food well and people also enjoy interacting with her,” he says.

Popular: Sticky rice mango, basil chicken, tom yum soup and papaya salad.  

Meal for two: Rs 1,500

Bean specials from Japan

Japan Travel Cafe Azuki

Located on the third floor of a small house in Residency Road, Japan Travel Cafe Azuki isn’t your typical Japanese restaurant. Rie Goto, who runs it, says, “Most people are interested in anime and other things related to Japan. So I decided to start a traditional Japanese sweet shop.” Initially a dessert place, Cafe Azuki is named so because of the frequent use of Azuki beans in their dishes. “We have two chefs that specialise in Japanese cuisine and a Japanese dessert chef. Azuki beans are liked by Indians and that’s why I started with sweets, and then people requested me to add main course dishes, which I did,”  he says. “It’s not like Indian curry or sweets, It’s a concept on its own,” says Rie Goto.

Popular: Dorayaki, made popular by the children’s show Doremon.

Meal for two: Rs 400


Nasi Lemak at Hungry Walkerin Indiranagar.

Malaysian fare and more

Hungry Walker 

While Hungry Walker in Indiranagar is primarily Malaysian, they also serve Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. After frequently travelling to Malaysia, owner Shalini decided to bring the flavours of Malaysia to India. “My husband is Malaysian and he is also the head chef. We planned to bring the culture to India, specifically Bangalore, because Malaysian food wasn’t really popular here,” she says. Apart from products that can’t be imported, the restaurant imports all ingredients from Malaysia, she says. About the decor and the philosophy behind the restaurant, Shalini says, “We have kept it subtle and minimal.”  

Popular: Nasi lemak sambal (coconut rice with spicy prawn sauce with sliced cucumber and roasted peanuts), char kway tiao (rice noodles served along with prawns) and Ikan bakar kuah asam (grilled fish with stuffed fresh chilli served with steamed rice and sour sauce), fluffy Japanese pancakes.

Meal for two: Rs 400

Harima

From the Japanese seating to the ambience and food, Harima is as Japanese as it gets. Owner Vinod Kaul says, “A couple of years ago, we had more Japanese people coming to our restaurant, but these days we receive more Indians. The trend has reversed.” Everything comes from Japan at Harima, including the ingredients. The minimalist Japanese decor is created from Japanese material. “We had our interiors done by a Japanese architect. We have a Japanese chef and also Indian chefs trained in Japan,” says Kaul. 

Popular: Sushi noodles, udon noodles. 
Meal for two: Rs 2,000

K-pop spreading 
Korean cuisine

Soo Ra Sang

With the growing popularity of K-pop culture in India, Korean food has found its way to Bengaluru too. In Korean, ‘Soo Ra Sang’ means ‘like a king’s meal,’ or a rich array of diverse ingredients. True to the name, you find a variety of dishes on the menu. The most popular dish is Kimbap, a Korean-style roll with rice, vegetables and meat. The difference between kimbap and Japanese sushi is in the rice and filling: while sushi is seasoned with vinegar, Kimbap is seasoned with sesame oil and is sweeter.

Singh, owner, says the demand for Korean food is on the rise. “Many more people like it now. Since we import most ingredients from Korea, it is a little expensive,” he says. Of the three chefs at the restaurant, two are Korean.  

Popular: Salmon Sushi, Ramen, Tofu Teriyaki.
Meal for two: Rs 2,000

A taste of Myanmar

Burma Burma

This is located in Indiranagar and is part of an all-India chain. Co-founder Ankit Gupta credits the inception of Burma Burma to his Myanmarese (Burmese) roots. Burmese food has an influence of Sri Lankan, Thai, Chinese and Indian flavours and thus appeals to Indian taste buds. “We import ingredients like the fermented tea leaf, sunflower seeds and spices and curry powders,” he says. Head chef Ansab is Indian but has travelled to Myanmar, learning the various nuances of Burmese cuisine. Burma Burma’s Oh No Khow suey is one of the dishes he recommends. “We have used artifacts to signify the beauty of Burma. Every year we also a special menu for the Burmese new year Thingyan,” says Ankit. Currently, Thingyan is being celebrated with a special Burmese village set.

Popular: Khow suey, Avocado ice creams, salads, tea.
Meal for two: Rs 1,500

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