Update: Happy Curry is closing their downtown restaurant, but possibly opening up another at their Commercial location.
Please welcome Dave, EatSalem's newest writer.
If he is not in his backyard in relentless pursuit of the perfect brisket, pulled pork or tri tip, he can likely to be found at a Junior Hockey game somewhere in the Pac NW. Follow him on Twitter @oldscud
Lately I seem to have an insatiable desire for Indian food. Which is strange because I've never particularly cared for “domestic” Indian food since I returned from India some 6 years ago. Not knowing where to go in town and wanting to avoid the buffet’s, my wife & I tried Happy Curry Foods Nepalese Restaurant for lunch a few weeks ago. It’s a bit of an assembly line process where you choose from an assortment of rice, lentils, vegetables, proteins and sauces to make up your plate. It’s then heated in the oven and served up piping hot.
We liked it so much we decided to visit again this past weekend. We thought we knew what to expect
on our second visit but we had no idea what a pleasant experience it would turn out to be. Upon arrival
the first thing we noticed was a different man working there. Come to find out he was the owner,
Krishna Bhattarai. He is a very warm and friendly man who is passionate about my favorite subject, food.
He taught us that his family treats the kitchen as a temple, a place of purity where food is prepared to
nourish not just the body, but the soul as well. This was reflected in the restaurant as everything was
very clean and sparkly. We chatted at length while he prepared our meals. A red curry chicken khata
with medium spice for me and a tandoori chicken khata with hot spice for her. The portions were huge
and the flavors were amazingly complex. The vegetables were very fresh, the rice and dal seemed
perfectly cooked and the chicken was moist and tender. It’s amazing that we both had all the same
ingredients but the different sauces made the taste of each dish completely different. We commented
on this and Krishna made us a small salad and demonstrated to us the versatility of the sauces and the
seemingly endless combination of flavors one can create with them.
After we finished eating we had many questions about the pastes and powders and Krishna patiently
explained how to use them. He let us taste a few of the pastes but cautioned us that they were less
expensive to purchase from the main store across town. We commented on the Ghee as we have
recently began to use this at home and he enthusiastically told us how they decided to make it after
being disappointed with what they were able to purchase locally. He picked out a few dry spices and
scribbled out a few recipes we could try at home. He was eager to teach and it was obvious he was very passionate about the products he and his wife have created.
All in all, this was an unexpected and very pleasant way to spend an hour or so and we look forward to
many return visits to our newest favorite restaurant. I hear they sell some yummy frozen dishes along
with pastes, chutney and powdered spices at their main store on Commercial. I can’t wait to visit there. I hear they offer cooking classes as well!
Their Facebook Page
295 Church st. S, Salem, Oregon
Mon - Fri: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm