Happy Curry Foods - Asian Bazaar


This place is a gem in Salem. I'm just going to put that right out there. If you remember a shop called Katmandu in downtown Salem, you'll now find Shiba, her spices and cooking products at this new warehouse/store location near the Salem Parkway. You can hardly miss the sign!
Making samosas in the kitchen area
The outside of the building is nothing exciting and the inside looks like a warehouse with a front shop area, but really the only thing you'll notice once you walk inside is the delectable smell of spices. Shiba and her husband Krishna run the company that has morphed from a small shop to a packaged food provider.
The shop
The shop is full of Shiba's own spice mixtures as well nearly everything else you would need to make Indian/curry foods. Shiba herself is actually from Nepal and says that curry is a western word for what they would call masala, meaning a mixture of spices. She is full of information and loves to talk about food, give recipe ideas, and discuss how food and health intertwine.
Some of Shiba's products

I went with a friend who has taken Shiba's cooking classes for many years and so we were treated like family and even given some tastes of food she was making for the prepackaged portion of their business. You can find their lunches and spices in Whole Foods and New Seasons stores around the northwest and they also supply food for many some local college cafeterias. I heard both Chemeketa and Corban mentioned as customers while we were there.

A balanced plate of flavors - potato filling, rice with lentils, garbanzo dish, and cilantro chutney
The food we tasted was amazing. It was full of the perfectly balanced flavors which Shiba prides herself on. Most of the food she makes is vegetarian, although she said they hope to add some meat dishes soon.   One of the things in our little sample platter was a cilantro chutney, which she sells along with many other types of chutney. Apparently, chutney is supposed to open up the tastebuds and complement the other foods on the plate.
Somosas with a basil dipping sauce
Are you wondering how you can get a taste of some of this amazing food? Well, on Saturdays and Sundays they serve a family style meal when they eat their own lunch and you are welcome to join if you call ahead. You just get whatever is on the menu for the day, but from what I tasted I can promise it will be delicious. She said they usually charge $6-7 for a plate. She also mentioned that she would be happy to accommodate groups of up to 10-15 if you let her know ahead of time. They would like to add a small restaurant soon, but haven't secured a location as of yet, so this is the solution in the meantime.
Baratha - whole wheat style bread

In addition, Happy Curry will be doing cooking classes again starting sometime in June. They are remodeling a section of the warehouse in order to make it work, so keep in touch with them if you are interested in learning to cook curries, and other tasty morsels, yourself.

One other way to get a taste of these foods in the meantime (other than actually cooking them yourself, I mean) is to ask about her frozen items. She sells pre-cooked packaged meals for anywhere from $2.50-$5.00. She has everything from packaged lunches to soup bases to somosas. What she has available just depends on what she has prepared, I believe, so be sure to ask if you're interested in frozen meal options.

Different types of beans
While we were in the store another group of customers came in - a mother and her two daughters. The daughters live in Portland and Eugene and always make a special trip to Happy Curry when they are in town to pick up frozen foods and their own cooking supplies. Its always good to know there are places in Salem that people from Portland and Eugene will make a special trip for.

My purchases
In the end, I bought a couple of frozen lunches, some soup base, mung beans, a jar of spicy curry chutney, and a spice chutney that is not "spicy" hot. Krishna had me open up the spicy curry and gave me a spoon to try it so he could watch my face when I tasted the full flavors. Needless to say, they are very proud of their high quality spices and packaged foods. Krishna noted that they were trying to get in touch with Sodexo, the supplier of school lunches in this area. Shiba and Krishna firmly believe that adding flavor with spice is the way to keep from adding too much sugar or sodium to meals, yet still leave people feeling satisfied.

"Healthy, tasty, satisfying," that is our motto, Shiba told me, not long before we left. I must say, I left feeling very satisfied.

Happy Curry Foods
2771 Commercial St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-588-2771
email: admin@katmandufoods.com

35 comments:

KandN said...

Thanks for shining a light on this place, Rebekah! Sounds wonderful :)

tracylee said...

I stopped by there for the first time this week on my way back from Keizer after reading about it in the paper. Amazing! I was taken back to the freezers and chose a yellow curry paste and paneer. I had explained my aversion to fenugreek and was able to find many items having little to none in the ingredients list. I also bought some other dried mixes and a spicy snack mix. We used the curry paste immediately and it was delicious! I can hardly wait to go back!

Chuck Bradley said...

Thanks Rebekah! SWMBO and I checked 'em out today. We walked out $30+ lighter, but got a bag full of exciting goodies to try. Nice folks. We liked them. Shiba's quite the saleslady. It's easy to see they're both enthused about their products. We then went down the street to El Jalapeno Carniceria Y Mariscos and bought a nice Beef Tongue. Carol's boiling it up right now. It'll be Mexican/Indian fusion tonight. Can't wait!

Darel Frazier said...

I have eating there every Sunday for lunch ever sense they have open the store. I am usually served what they had fixed for them selves and the food always has been good. I also buy the frozen foods (great food as well) and spices, to fix my own foods. Great people to deal with and I will continue eating there every Sunday for lunch.

Rebekah said...

Can't wait to hear how your Indian/Mexican fusion went tonight, Chuck!

Darel, you must be the customer Shiba mentioned who comes every Sunday. Hopefully, I will join you there for a Sunday supper sometime.

Anonymous said...

This place is awesome! My husband and I just moved to the area and were excited to find Shiba and her amazing food. We have bought several of Shiba's frozen curries, chutneys and other treats, and have come in for lunch on the weekend. We love the samosas, cilantro chutney, vindaloo curry and the tomato sauce.

KandN said...

Anon, Thanks for the reminder! I keep planning on heading over there and then quickly forgetting once I'm downtown. :>)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful samosas!!!! I bought two dozen and we gobbled them up, also got some of their curries to make my own at home, yum

Natalie Chan said...

Raised in Boston and studied in UK, I am used to Indian Foods from an early age.

This place is the ultimate place to buy the best of the bests samosas you ever find anywhere, and Indian/Thai curry pastes along with frozen foods. You never fail to make the tasty Indian foods with their curry paste...........they are healing foods. Try once and you will feel exactly what I feel.....................

Jia said...

I went on a Sunday and the man that greeted us told us that they had lunches we could take to go. We bought 2, and they were yummy, but the price was pretty steep for a take-away meal that you microwave at home. They were $8.00 each, which is about the same price as eating out and getting table service.

All we really wanted to do was look around at the things in the store, but he was super pushy and kept trying to sell us stuff. It was pretty uncomfortable. I bought some rosewater and the lunches. I think I would probably have stayed longer and also bought a few more things if there wasn't that extreme pressure put on me. I didn't leave feeling good, and I smelled like curry all afternoon.

Anonymous said...

I have experienced the same unfortunate turn of events each and every time I have walked through the door. What starts out as friendly and helpful, soon morphs into the pushy, unrelenting hard sell. It is exceedingly uncomfortable, and continues even as you are standing with an armful of product and stating you just want to be left to look. I won't be back-ever. I am so disappointed to have to turn my back on this business. Andrea

DeeDeeDiner said...

You know, since they have an e-mail address listed above (love that fact + websites Karla!) it might help them understand how people have reacted if you sent them copies of the comments.

I'd hate to see a creative, local business with good products remain unaware that their sales practices are alienating customers.

(Must admit it does remind me of traveling through certain foreign countries though :-)
3-D

KandN said...

Thank you, DeeDeeDiner.
And thank you for continuing to share your valuable point of view.

I totally agree about communicating with owners. It's so easy to do and it benefits all.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience with the pushiness when they were downtown as Katmandu. It was a turn off. Yummy chutney though. I'll buy it at Roth's.

Anonymous said...

The shop keeper has shared their experiences and it is very welcome in fact. We have a choice to eat the way we want and the price we want to pay. I enjoy a lot and willing to pay the price. If you do not like you could have told them...........it is regretful that we write our personal experience ........in a negative manner....this place is a must visit place and they are wonderful people... go and find out how you feel...

Anonymous said...

I am confused to read your comments. It is not fair to throw your feeling in public and be negative. Creative ways are available to address these types of issues to be resolved. Contacting the owners is the first order. BUT......
I had a great experience when I was there just two weeks earlier on Saturday afternoon. Seems the same week you went there. They informed about the lunch and I choose to eat there. They served hot popping Seeds Rice, Aloo Gobi, Red Curry Chicken with Tomato Chutney, Papad, Dal Makhani, Freshly Sprouted Beans Salad with Cilantro Chutney, Mango Chutney and Rice Pudding with Carrot. I paid $8. Please note that you can't get that quality, that variety and taste even for 25 $$$ (Dal Makhani itself costs $7 in both Indian Restaurants in Salem Downtown). How much you pay for a quality food depends upon state of mind one is in. For some a McDonald's table service may worth more or a Indian buffet dinner; for me their quality food meant worth visiting again and again. This is my two cents worth regarding food quality. NO ONE SHOULD PAY $8.00 IF ONE DOES NOT WANT TO PAY. Once you paid agreed amount and it is not the price you paid you should be angry about......rather it is your judgment to pay because you control your wallet not the shopkeepers' wishes. You could have said.....Thank you, I do not want....and just get out of the store. You wrote "Food was Yummy but $8 was too much is not the defense for you". No one could be mad paying $800 for a Gucci Bag. It is not Gucci's fault..............
They taught me how to cook Indian food products in a hurry with ease with their curry pastes even though I knew how to cook with the help of a recipe. Their pre-made sauces are the best ever. A small amount goes all the way. I also love the smell of curry in their store.........it is the best smell I like....It is worth to mention here that NO ONE SHOULD GO TO PLACE IF THEY DO NOT LIKE THE SMELL. Do not complain about the curry smell when a visit takes place where they use curry. One is even house in a butcher shop if that person likes the smell of blood......
The owners are the most creative personalities in their field. I request all the readers to visit the place and experience yourself. The owners do not force you. They seek your permission to show their creativity just like a departmental store uses advertisement to show their creativity regarding SALE at their store. Most of the time it is just a Hoax in their advertisement where as their creativity is REAL. These small entrepreneurs talk about their products. You still can opt out........just tell them you are there to look around..............they can 't force you.
SUPPORT THIS BUSINESS..........SALEM NEEDS THIS EXCEPTIONAL PLACE
EXPERIENCE yourself..........do not listen to anyone..............
kathy.curtis@live.com

Carole D. said...

I just e-mailed the store using the e-mail address above and provided a link to these comments, suggesting they might wish to take a look.
Carole D

Anonymous said...

I think people are forgetting that this is a review based web page. Eat Salem depends on personal opinion for its very existence. Everyone is entitled an opinion. Which you may agree or disagree, if it is shared with grace and common courtesy. With that said, it is indeed "fair" to have an opinion and state it publicly, that is the very nature of the site.

Anonymous said...

Curries are awesome -- cilantro chutney is also wonderful. Owners were extremely informative, gracious, helpful, and enthusiastic. Samples were delicious! Great experience, and now that we know the store is there, we will stock up regularly. Salem needed a place like this!! :-) Yay, Happy Curry!!!

Christopher H. said...

I hit the place up to satisfy the Groupon offer that I got as a gift -- I loved my bounty and appreciated the service! There was a real genuine enthusiasm about what was being offered and sold, the food has turned out wonderfully (by ways of the product I bought from their freezer, and by means of the samosas), and the employees were friendly and informative while still willing to take 'no' for an answer if a particular product was unwanted by me. A real treasure!

Anonymous said...

I am from Happy Curry Foods. Thank you Carole for guideing me to this page. Appreciated for all comments. For all positive comments we build our strength on it. We will create new strength based on your suggestions.

Lunches on Saturday and Sunday will be $8. You all are welcome. Please call us at 503-588-2771, 2 hours before you come.

We will talk about our products when you ask us just as we do now. We have many stories to share regarding curry foods. Did you know that some of the food products/spices we make you do not find anywhere in the world? Let us share with you all.

Share with us more. in future. We have exceeded our growth because of the love and affection of the SALEM RESIDENTS. We need your continued support.

We make healthy, tasty, and satisfying curry foods. Visit us for an experience.

HAPPY CURRY FOODS
admin@kathmandufoods.com

Carole D. said...

Dear Happy Curry Foods,
WELCOME!! It seems like a give-and-take of information between your store and customers can only be a positive experience and avoid future misunderstandings.

Thank you for checking in.
Carole D

Lora G said...

Salem is lucky to have such a great place. I have made two large purchases there, of their curry pastes and chutneys out of the freezer. The owners are very helpful in telling you how to make a meal using the pastes. I love that I can throw chicken pieces, any of their wonderful curry pastes, some coconut milk or yogurt and some veggies into my slow cooker and have a delicious, authentic meal ready for us when we get home at the end of the day. If you happen to be there when the samosa's are freshly cooked...watch out!! They are AMAZING! Go check them out! I don't understand how people are so easily offended by other people just being themselves. The owners are extremely generous and friendly. I guess if you want to be left alone to figure it out for yourself, you should just tell them. I've found them to be super helpful, which I needed as I don't inherently know my way around an asian market.

Jia said...

I can't help but feel that someone from the shop is writing a lot of these comments based on what is being written, use of capitalization, punctuation, and selection of names. None of those things are odd individually, but put together, it just seems kinda fishy. An influx of people with a first name and only one last initial raving about the store. The capitalization of certain words and phrases, and the use of double dashes (--). Maybe I'm wrong, but this is just an observation.

Anonymous said...

Jia: I started tracking what is written in this blog since Carole sent me the e-mail. We are a very successful enterprise and we do present professionally. i have hundreds of comments from the visitors, all written, in their own handwriting. please visit our store to see them.....I am planning to copy and post on the walls of my store. From today I am going to tell all visitors to visit eatsalem.com so that they will be able to make their own judgement. Please note that we serve 70 grocery stores from Ashland, Oregon to Washington with our frozen foods. Furthermore, our chutneys travel all across the country. Some of the canned product we sell at $5 in our store is sold at $11 in high end stores in Madison Square in New York. Please visit our store and also a staff from eatsalem.com to view the comments made on groupon by the visitors when they cashed their purchases and other comments too. I hope you are open to my suggestion. Hopefully we will leave the guess-work behind.

Jia said...

I don't think the quality of your products is the issue here. People like your stuff, I have just mentioned that I wanted to look around and buy things without feeling overwhelmed and pushed. Personally, I would probably buy your products again (not the lunch), but the spices and curries to make my own. I've actually even told a few of my friends that you have rosewater for sale at your store and lots of other good stuff.

If I saw your products out and about at the grocery stores you sell to, I would consider buying them again, but based on this whole experience, I would be afraid to set foot in your physical shop ever again.

I am not doubting that you have a good product. I loved my lunch, it just wasn't an $8 lunch in my opinion, and like you stated, I have the choice not to buy it, and next time I won't. I ordered the vegetarian version (not what you described above), so it was just a bit of spinach and curry and potatoes and lots of rice, nothing too special, but not bad, just not an $8 lunch. You wrapped both for me (I bought one for me and one for my friend)and put it in a bag and tried to sell me more stuff. I politely declined and just tried to get out of there.

I wasn't shown what a lunch looked like, they were covered in aluminum foil, but since I had heard such great things about the food, I decided to take the gamble. And yes, as you stated above, I could have opened them, looked, and said, "No, I don't want these," and left the store, but that is not what people customarily do after they order food. I learned from my experience. And now I know about your business.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE COME TO SEE THE COMMENTS HOW PEOPLE RAVE ABOUT THE PRODUCTS WE PREAPRE AND THE SERVICE WE PROVIDE TO OUR CLIENTS. THIS WAY WE COULD RESOLVE THE ISSUE ONCE FOR ALL........

THREE THINGS TO RESOLVE BETWEEN YOU AND HAPPY CURRY FOODS BY READING THE COMMENTS OF OUR CLIENTS REGARDING:

1. OUR PRODUCTS' QUALITY
2. OUR SERVICE
3. THE COMMENTS WRITTEN BY REAL PEOPLE FOR YOU TO
SEE PERSONALLY.

OTHERWISE, OUR CARAVAN MOVES ON. GOOD LUCK.

HAPPY CURRY FOODS
admin@happycurryfoods.com

Carole D. said...

Hi Jia,
I wanted to make one (hopefully neutral) explanatory comment in response to your questions/thoughts about the similarity among the first-name-last-initial-only of the respondents.

I really like it when the EatSalem contributors use some permutation of a name instead of simply "Anonymous."

I'm happy to use my first name (but Carole is probably more prevalent than, for example, "Jia" ) thus I added a last initial as an identifier since I actually do not wish to use my last name.
Carole D.

Jia said...

Carole,

Thanks for you explanation. I tried to explain myself, but it seems like what I'm trying to say is just not making sense to others.

This is a website to share personal experiences both positive and negative. People come here for a variety of opinions. Not to listen to one business promote itself in a loud and offensive fashion. I am very disappointed.

Jia said...

I want to clarify that what I mean is that it is really frustrating to try to explain oneself when the other person isn't 'getting' it.

I guess I'll make a list like you:

1. I never said the food wasn't good.
2. I agree your product is awesome.
3. You are too pushy and do not listen (which was my original gripe).

and I'll throw this one in for free:

4. WRITING IN CAPITALS ON THE INTERNET IS LIKE SCREAMING AND IT'S REALLY RUDE.

Anonymous said...

MY CARAVAB HAS MOVED ON.

KAYMANDU FOODS

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Jia!
Just like going to a car lot ... your product may be superior but if I just want to look, leave me alone. I'll ask if I'm interested!

sheepdog-mom

Lora G. said...

Hi Jia:
Lora G. here again. I too, am also a real person, sharing my own personal experiences. I do not wish to link up to my personal blog, create an additional profile just to use here on this site nor do I want to give my full last name. No need to be so suspicious. You had your own very real experience at Katmandu. Nobody is trying to take that away from you. I'm just trying to round out the picture by sharing my experience, which was very positive. My husband and I are totally sold on Indian food because of this place. We have been disappointed in the portion sizes and high prices at the local Indian restaurants. This has given us great alternative...and we find the owners to be really neat people.

Oregon Maiden said...

I think Lora G's comment is a good place to let this lie for a while...to quote the business' erroneous typing our "Caravab has (definitely) moved on."

Tongue-in-curried-cheek :-)
OM

Chuck Bradley said...

I had lunch at their new restaurant at 295 Church ST SE today. My knowledge of Indian/Nepalese food is very limited, but I know enough to know I really like it. This is some of the best I've had. I had a big meal and some sample bites for $6.99! I'm not usually a big fan of Tofu, but I could make a meal of their spicy version. Nice folks too.

Check 'em out!