One of the highlights of travelling is the amazing street food.
Going to places like Oaxaca, Singapore, or even London, the sights and flavours of the local hawkers are some of the most memorable things about going to foreign lands.
One of the most renowned street food hotspots in the world is South India. From the incredible curries to the inspiring street food, so many flavours for the Asian subcontinent can be found in the one region.
So when TukTuk South Indian Food announced that it would be opening its first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Maltese people were excited and started asking where it would be open – but the team is playing coy with the location so far.
TukTuk is run by the team behind La Mère in Valletta, and will be focused on the flavours of Indian street hawkers straight to you in Malta.
And they haven’t skipped on a major draw of the cuisine – the alternative vegan, vegetarian, lactose-free and gluten-free options so popular in South India.
Not only that, but their packaging is eco-friendly.
So when TukTuk brought a sample of their soon-to-be-released menu to the Lovin Malta offices, we were ready to dig in.
TukTuk have quite a selection of vegan, vegetarian and meat or fish curries. Parts of the office fell in love with the lamb chettinad curry – a curry made of lamb, peppercorns, coconut and a blend of aromatic spices.
But I was completely taken by the vegan korma. Korma is normally not my go-to curry – but this was no normal Korma.
The buttery flavour was elevated with a strong coconut flavour and, unexpectedly, a decent amount of spice. Vegetables like cauliflower and zucchini make this dish light, which is good since you’ll probably want to finish off the whole bowl.
The prawn moilee curry, featuring king prawns in coconut milk and kokum, was quite interesting and not overtly fishy.
And the chana masala – chickpeas and potatoes cooked with tomatoes curry leaves, coconut powder and spices – was a nice, thick flavourful curry for those who want to go full vegetable power.
Of course, these dishes were accompanied by perfectly cooked pilau and jeera rice, alongside some chapati, garlic naan, butter naan, and even peshwari.
You’ve heard of sandwiches – but are you ready for naanwiches?
Nothing more than an Indian wrap, this innovative little naan-wrap blew our minds a little bit. How had no-one ever thought of this dish?
It was just like a wrap, but totally Indian. The paneer tikka naanwich is surely going to be one of the most popular dishes on the new menu: naan filled with paneer tikka, slaw, cachamber and mango raita made this possibly my favourite item on the menu.
The chicken tikka kati roll was also great, and they even offered a vegan roll for those inclined. The Aloo masala kati roll featured potatoes, chana vada, lentils, and Mysore chutney and can officially be used against people who say that vegan food isn’t tasty.
The new menu featured a really unique offering of Indian foods. The masala dosa were simple but remain a classic: the dosa, an Indian style pancake, was filled with mashed potato and onions, but that’s all that they needed to work.
The vegetables samosas were reliably tasty, but the real winners here were the vegetable pakoras. These little bundles of glory are nothing more than Julienne mixed vegetables in a chickpea flour and a cumin seasoning – but goddamn they were tasty, and they were devoured within minutes of being opened.
The onion bhajis were nice enough, if a bit dry, but they were cooked in a different style than the typical onion bhajis so that might be why.
Chicken tikka is always going to go down well, and these definitely didn’t disappoint. The beef seekh was surprisingly juicy, and the lamb chops were seasoned very well. Anyone ordering from TukTuk should just assume that the Tandoori Mix will be part of the order.
The Chicken and Paneer 65 – crunchy pieces of boneless chicken and paneer cheese – were niced bite-sized pieces of chicken and Indian cheese that were a nice alternative to the chicken tikka flavour.
More vegan dishes rounded off the meal. The double samosa chaat made from mashed samosa topped with chana masala, freshly chopped cachumber and chutneys gave a clean and sweet side bite to the curries or meats.
Even tastier was the Bhel Puri chaat, a favourite dish in Mumbai. Puffed rice, crispy sev noodles and peanuts, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and chutneys gave a crunchy yet fresh bite, and the noodles and peanuts together was damn tasty.
Whether you want to feel like you are really in South Indian, or you are looking for a tasty new experience in your office place, TukTuk South Indian Food may the place you are looking for.