One of the things I was excited about in coming to South Asia was the magical clay oven known as a tandoor.
They come in various shapes and sizes, both above ground and built into the ground, but the taste is unmistakable. My favorite item cooked in a tandoor is a bread called tandoori roti, but you can also cook chicken and many other dishes inside a tandoor.
Sadly, in Nepal tandoors aren’t terribly common. That’s why, upon finding a small tandoori restaurant near where I stayed my first few days in Nepal, it was grounds for celebration!
As I mentioned, it was hard to adjust to South Asia, but these guys helped open up the beautiful side of Nepal via its food.
I didn’t notice that the guy on the street was cooking in a tandoor as I had never seen an above-ground tandoor. I only saw the tongs reaching in to grab finished pieces of roti. It was a site for very sore eyes and though I wasn’t hungry, I had to have a piece of roti!
I think the last time I had real roti was in Qatar several years ago. You can see the images I captured of the Pakistani-style roti shop that I used to frequent to get an idea of what the tandoor looks like and to see the bread cooking.
Seeing the roti here in Nepal was soothing. It was a wonderful and welcome taste. But the guys running the shop were the true treat.
After I placed my order for one piece of roti, I took out my camera to take a picture. My parents know how much I love roti, so I wanted to take a picture for them. As I took some pictures, we struck up a conversation as you can see below.
What wasn’t captured on the video was the guy’s desire to move to the U.S. He asked me if you can find tandoor stands and tandoori restaurants in the U.S. I said there probably are, but I’ve never been to a South Asian restaurant in the U.S. with a real tandoor. Such roti is often frozen and then heated up before serving.
As we talked, I told him that he needs to move to the U.S. and start a tandoori revolution. I’d be his #1 customer and he could be successful.
It was just a lighthearted conversation, with two very nice guys full of energy and ambition, and the great ending to an otherwise difficult day.
I ate the roti as I finished walking back to where I was staying. But I missed my turn and ended up here at sunset. I guess the roti’s awesomeness distracted me and brought me to this beautiful scene. Everything happens for a reason…