Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Indian in SF on the cheap - Pakwan and Naan n Curry

San Francisco has lots of inexpensive Indian- Pakistani places. All of them good, most of them in multiple locations. There's something different about Indian - Pakistani that I love and can't seem to find outside of the Bay Area. It's somehow more spicey or flavorful than just straight up Indian.

Pakwan was the place I fell in love with Chicken Makhanwala (Butter Chicken). Different places call it by different names, but as best as I can tell it's basically a creamier (butterier?) version of Chicken Tikki Masala.
I used to hit up the (now defunct) location on Clay Street in the Financial District fairly often, because for about $8 (less if it was the daily special) I could get rice, chicken and naan in good sized portions. My problem with thier food is, no matter how full I am, I can't stop eating it until the plate is wiped clean with some naan. They have since moved and now have a location in the Tenderloin district (which due to an influx of Indian fast food places is dubbed little India).

Naan -n- Curry is another of my favorites. They have locations all over the city, but I've only been to thier locations in North Beach on Jackson and on Berkeley's famed Telegraph St. The location on Jackson is very run down, but the food still tasty, and always crowded at lunchtime. Strangely, the Telegraph location is much cleaner with better ventilation. At both locations, you order up front and grab a table after the fact. Don't forget to get your water, chai, and silverware yourself. There is no table service here. Then again, with the low prices you weren't really expecting that.
Onto the food, I usually tend to get the lamb curry here. It's greasy, but that is how I like my lamb curry, sometimes they manage to get it mixed well. Thier naan is delicious, plain and straighforward. Thier chana masala is also inexpensive so I usually order one of those too. And then I am faced with the fact that my eyes are always larger than my stomach.

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