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Balti and Bhuna in SFBA??

kevin | May 10, 200401:32 PM

Wow. There's a lot of talk lately on this board regarding Indian/South Asian restaurants, and since I love food from the region, I think it's great!

I just returned from England where I tried the South Asian food in Oxford and Brick Lane/London and was astonished at the menu choices. In particular the Balti and Bhuna choices which are all the rage right now. Unfortunately, because Balti is a recent (though based on traditional cooking methods) Anglo-Indian creation somewhat like Chicken Tikka Masala, I haven't seen anything here in SF that is comparable; well, Mehfil on 2nd and Folsom has one balti dish, though they don't bother to label it as such.

So...does anyone know where to experience balti and bhuna dishes and am I just unrealistically expecting this to catch on here?

Also, it seems as though many of the restaurants in England are owned by Bengalis, whereas the restaurants here are mainly Pakistani and Punjabi. Am I wrong about this (besides overgeneralizing) and if not, do you think there is a difference in quality and presentation of the cuisine largely labled as "Indian"?

As a side note: It was pretty amusing to see just how much kebabs and curries are interwoven into British life. I was also in a small town in the middle of Wales and the best food I had was at a pizzaria (!) that served a spicy lamb kebab pizza with local organic Welsh lamb and local cheddar and mozzarella. It was absolutely delicious!!

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